Category Archives: Anthropology

Mostly Amazing Strangers

I Make Little Girls Cry

Current mood: Victorious!

I was in rare form last night. I took on a whole team of Christians and sent them packing. It was a sight to behold to say the least.

man with Crucified Satan tattoos
Normal Bob Smith’s Crucified Satan tattoos

When I arrived at Union they had their booths already set up on both sides of the park. I sat down directly in front of the one on the west side of Union Sq South, and immediately one of them in their yellow smocks came up to me and asked if I would like one of their pamphlets. I replied “No thank you. I don’t believe in God.”

They love that answer a lot.

And that began what was probably a 40 minute discussion with this girl. Then her coworker friend came over, both of these girls were from Alabama and probably 19 years old or so. And her friend, let’s call her Amy (because I forgot her name), was total cult member status. Trained with the best of ’em to repeat phrases like “God made it that way,” and “I don’t believe in fantasies. I believe in Jesus!” She even, at one point said, during a discussion of a good father going to hell, and a murderer going to heaven, that this was a beautiful thing!

Anyhow, this was all as usual. No new exciting arguments from their side.

“He’s not gonna change his mind. Did you see the tattoos on his arms? You’re both wasting your time trying to convince each other.”

One interesting thing that happened was when this blond lady sitting to my right spoke up and said, sort of agitated “Why are you guys bothering to discuss this? Neither of you are going to change your minds? Why don’t you just believe what you want to believe, and you girls believe what you want, and be done with it?” All this said in a tone that you could tell she was irritated having to listen to what we were saying.

The girls, of course responded with, “Because I want him to go to heaven.”

The lady replied, “He’s not gonna change his mind. Did you see the tattoos on his arms? You’re both wasting your time trying to convince each other.”

I said to her, “I’m arguing this because that’s what we should be doing. Discussing differences of opinions is what’s going to save the human race. Not shutting up. Not war, or violence, or flying planes into buildings, but discussion. That’s what we all should be doing. Not believing whatever we want to believe, and remaining ignorant of each other. That gets us nowhere.”

That lady hung around and listened after I said that, and the girls were stunned. She even jumped in later and asked why God didn’t make it so good deeds get us into heaven. I made her care.

Their cult-stare showed extra bright when I presented them with the “Heaven is Hell” question. They couldn’t respond with anything other than “That’s why we’re out here tell people about Jesus.”

But they could never look the question dead in the eyes and respond. No matter how I spelled it out.

“You’re going to heaven, right?”

“Yes!” They gleefully responded.

“And there are people in hell, right?”

“Yes.” Less gleeful.

“How can you enjoy any kind of paradise while your brothers and sisters from earth suffer and burn forever?”

They couldn’t even hear the question. They were stunned. I stated, “All I want you to say to me is ‘Yes, I can enjoy a heaven while others burn forever in hell’ But you can not say it. Why?”

Of course they couldn’t respond.

Then when they said they wanted to pray for me, I said, “Please don’t. When people pray for me, it’s like wishing me to be in that horrible place you call heaven. Praying is you wanting to separate loved ones from each other. I don’t know how anyone could ever want that.” They were paralyzed. Utterly speechless. And I was elated! I’d just discovered what to say when someone wants to pray for me! Something that paints their prayer in an unmerciful, vomit-colored light!

And when these girls couldn’t answer my questions anymore, I said “I wish you could get someone over there to answer my questions for me.” And boy, they jumped on that invite to get away from me. They ran back to their booth and told on me.

They sent over this big, giant, fat, black man who stood above me (mind you I remained seated on the steps of Union this entire time), and said, “Hello brother. My friends told me that you needed some questions answered?”

And his response to the “Heaven is Hell question” was? “When we get to Heaven we no longer worry about those things. God said that in Heaven we will be given a new body and a new mind. We will not have the same feelings we had here on Earth.”

“We won’t remember our loved ones?” I asked.

“No, I’m not saying that. We’ll remember them…”

“We just won’t love them anymore? Like we did here on earth?”

“No. I didn’t say that. We just have to move on. We have to get on with our lives.” He was getting angry with me.

“Heaven sounds horrible. I don’t know why anyone would want to go there. We seriously forget about all of them?”

“No, now if you refuse to believe what I’m telling you then you won’t go there!”

“I don’t want to go there! Being on a throne in heaven while my brother burns in hell forever? It sounds like a nightmare!”

He too wanted to pray for me, and I said that I didn’t want it. I didn’t want to go to this horrible place he called heaven. After a while of this he got quite frustrated with me and stomped away saying things like “I guess you won’t get to go to heaven then!”

“Why would I want to go there?” I replied. “I love people.” I was honestly saddened by their heartlessness with the matter. And let me say, I was not speaking to them sarcastically, but as openly and curious as possible while he was totally trying to intimidate me, standing over me as I sat on my ass on those steps. I rather enjoyed it. I had no fear at all. And when someone is doing their biggest display to intimidate someone 5 feet below them, and it still doesn’t work, it really makes them look really bad.

So I was left alone for a little while longer. Then this guy from Faith4Living.com came up to me (very much the kindly Ned Flanders type), and greeted me, “Hello. A friend of mine, Amy, was crying over there, and she told me she wanted me to come over here and pray for you.”

We shook hands, and I said, “I’m sorry to hear she’s so upset. I just told her that I didn’t want her to pray for me because to me that’s basically wishing me to go to heaven. And the heaven she told me about sounded like a horrible place to be.”

This all took the usual turns that I’ve told before, but this guy, who seemed so calm in greeting, got the most agitated! His face was turning red, veins popping out all over his neck and face, and he was shaking saying some of the most outrageous things! Like, when presented with questions about Noah’s Ark, said that every species of animal lived there on that continent at the time. They didn’t have to travel across oceans to get to the ark.

“Kangaroos were in Iraq?!?!” I retorted.

And he tried to explain how some species of every animal was there on that side of the world, yet he also argued angrily against evolution with me too! It was crazy crazy.

He got so frustrated with me that he finally had to end it. I know he’s going to email me. We exchanged emails addresses, and he was dying to show me some intro to some book where the guy who invented evolution said that there was no proof for it.

So I made Amy cry. And as they were leaving, Amy, looking sad but not crying, waved to me. I looked the same waving back to her.

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Scenester’s revenge

Current mood: Humiliated

Well, today it happened. Today the Scenesters exacted their revenge on me. No kidding. And I was caught off guard. It was an ugly display. Here’s what happened.

iPod street ads
iPod street ads trying to appeal to Scenesters in 2006. Nick Purdue claimed to be the model.

I was sitting at Union Square this evening, just hanging out as usual, and in front of me walks one of the Scenesters. He’s lookin’ at me all funny, and I’m lookin’ at him. Then, OUT OF NOWHERE, he whips out a camera and puts it in front of his face and takes a picture of me! I only had time to grin and flip him the bird, but then he walked by me and took another picture of me! Just out of nowhere! And I smiled and flipped the bird to that one too.

I’m terrified to even imagine what sort of web page they’re all scheming to put together with these coupla pics of me sitting at Union Square givin’ the finger. It’s the not-knowing that fucks with your mind. It’s the same method the Evil-doers use. ie: Terrorism. It’s no different. They’re toying with me. Making me sweat. Who knows, maybe they took a picture of me from behind as well? How can I be sure? I can’t! They could have a hundred pictures of me from behind sitting on the steps at Union, and I have no way to tell if I’m right or wrong.

I have to apologize to my fans! Now you are left with the dilemma: Do you continue to be my fans and suffer through this humiliation I’m sure they have planned for my pictures, or do you just throw away years of dedication and hide from my soon-to-be humiliated self, never to mention that you even were aware that I existed, ever! Jesus or Judas?

I mean, what if they take that picture, write the word “FAGGOT” on it, and make an arrow pointing to me, and post that on the internet?? Or what if they write a whole thing about what a douchebag I am and how I sit at Union and give the finger all the time and am bald, or something like that??? But I’ll tell you, that kid who took the picture strode away like he’d just gotten a picture of me with a booger on my face or some…. OH.. MY.. GOD! Is that it??!? Did I have a booger on my face?!? Jesus Christ! If that’s what he got a picture of I don’t know what I’ll do!! !

I’m sorry, people! I’m sorry! I didn’t know I was this vulnerable to persecution! I’ve never seen before so up close how I am in fact an Amazing Stranger myself!!! It’s over. The site is finished. I am soon to have a long overdue lesson dealt to me. Forgive me. Forgive… me… for.. being.. human…

Christian Sniping at Union Square

So yesterday evening I had another run-in with Christians. This particular group comes with the same Canadian youth pastor every year. (The same guy I met Canadian Jason through from Hate Mail 127, and those Amazing Stranger Xtains from pg 2). He knows me now, and each year he has a new group of Christian kids from some bible-belt state. He came with the group yesterday and they all started singing to his guitar there in the middle of Union Square. I immediately went and tried handing them all God Is Fakes. Some took them, but most refused, stunned at what I was doing. And the pastor guy said “Normal Bob Smith! Good to see ya!” And they continued singing their songs even more confused.

He’s a nice guy, very friendly, kinda looks like a character from Lord Of The Rings. Picture of him: normalbobsmith.com/amazingstrangers/as_02_bob&christians.jpg

This year though, when he came over and said hi, I was of course friendly as ever, but I found myself a little more bothered by what he was doing. I told him “Nothins changed with me, except that maybe now I am more disturbed buy what you’re doing, and the misinformation you’re feeding these kids.”

I also said, “So how do you feel about the bad rap Faith is getting now that you got people using it as an excuse to crash planes into buildings?” He replied, “Well, there are proper uses of faith, and improper uses of it.”

Anyhow, he always brings over several of these kids to meet a real live atheist. That’s me. So I sat with Skater Bob and a few friends and waited. He asked if I’d mind, and of course I did not, so he brought over a group of like 5 kids, all girls, ages 16 to 18. All clueless sheep.

This time, unlike the other times, the Canadian youth pastor simply walked the kids over to me, introduced me, and walked away. I had them all to myself, and they were speechless. They had no idea what to say, so I started it off with a question to them that I was very curious to hear their answer to. I asked them if they had had any other options of beliefs in their lives, or if the only belief they’d ever been introduced to was Christianity. Of course they were all speechless, and after asking the question twice got them to admit that they all only’ve had Christianity as an option. That led me right into telling them to look around, seeing hundreds of different cultures and beliefs around them (on a NYC street), and picturing a paradise for themselves while all of these people burned in hell. I must have come back to that scenario 4 times during our hour visit. And they tried to get out of it with things like “That’s why we’re out here preaching” and “Everyone has the choice, and if they choose to reject God, yadda yadda yadda.” And I would not let it go. Each time I’d come back and say “But you know that these people, people just like me who don’t believe in your god, are going to burn when they die. And you’ll have to deal with knowing that while you sit atop your throne made of cloud up in Heaven!”

It was a very satisfying discussion, mostly because they were inquisitive, at a loss for answers, and blindsided. They wanted to know why I thought it was bad to be a Christian even if it’s pretend, and I told them it was because they were being discouraged to understand the world.

“Do you understand the entire world?” One of them asked.

“Not entirely. But that does not make me stop trying to understand it. You are being told that the different languages started at the Tower Of Babal, when that’s not how languages began. You’re being taught that Adam & Eve was where it all began, when in fact, there are very real answers that science has discovered!”

At one point I brought up the story of Abraham willing to plunge a dagger into the chest of his child for God. The kids said, “But he didn’t! God stopped him!” And I replied, “But he was going to do it! He was going to kill his child for God! What the hell kind of religion are you guys a part of?!? Ask yourself what the hell am I doing supporting this behavior!!!”

Anyhow, I decided that some people come to Union and their thing is hacky-sacking, or skateboarding, or peeping girl’s ass-cracks. Mine is badgering Christians. It’s the most satisfying feeling, and I’ve been enjoying the one on one (or four, or eight, or twenty) more than ever before. I look forward to one day doing this same thing in devil makeup with a camera crew.

Banishing Christians from Union Square

Yesterday evening at Union Square I lost it. I was there by myself watchin’ Skater Bob’s bag while he skated around the park, and these blond Christian people came from behind me and started in on this black man sitting next to me. They asked him the last time he’d been to church and if he’d ever heard of Bla-bla Church of Times Square, or something.

It was two of those typical white, suburban, southern, middle age mothers and they had like 3 or 4 kids with them, ages 14 to 17, something like that, and they were all standing over this older black man next to me, treating him like a poor soul. I sat there listening to them getting all worked up, watching these adults demonstrate to these kids how to spread their misinformation to the weak. I saw a couple of the kids looking at me out of the corner of their eye. I know they noticed my tattoos, and that I could overhear them. This went on for like 10 miniutes. Then Bob skated up, and I was trying to control myself, and I handed him a handful of God is Fakes, and he immediately started giving them to the ladies, and then he skated off. Without even looking at what he gave them they looked at me and said “How are you? Are you interested in hearing about the love of Christ?” or something along those lines, and I let go.

I said to them, “I think it’s appalling what you’re doing, spreading this misinformation to others based solely on faith!” And there was one mid-twenties guy with them, total Christian zombie saying, “You haven’t heard our true message of love.” His eyes were deer-in-the-headlights, and he wanted these kids to all turn into him. I was getting more and more furious.

Then I said, “Ok, answer me one question. I only have one question I want to ask you. I’ll answer ANY questions you’ve got.” Their kids were all gathering around me at this point. “Just answer me this” I said. “You’re all going to heaven, right?” They nodded, sure as ever. “Okay, now my question to you is this. How can you for even a moment enjoy a heaven where your fellow human beings are doused in fire every day for the rest of eternity?”

This twenty-something guy was a broken person. He was reciting rhetoric like, “I am based in love, and Jesus’ love gives everyone a chance to see heaven.” And to him, in front of those kids, I said “I have no idea what you’re saying. Why aren’t you answering my question?” And I took this opportunity to rub it in even deeper. “Kids. There can be no heaven while your fellow human beings suffer in hell for the rest of eternity! Do you understand the horror and dismay of hell? Your friends who don’t believe in Jesus will be choking on flames forever, and you think there’s any kind of heaven waiting for you?!? How could you even smile for a minute knowing that people suffer like this??!?” I have to admit I was getting a bit out of control, waving my arms around, my voice raised. The mothers were quickly trying to herd them all away.

None of the adults had any answers for me. And as adults, they were acting as if they were fine with that! That’s what gets me. The frame of mind where you’re an adult running away from a question! I LOVE answering questions! It’s my life’s blood! Then the ladies had the nerve, while they were running from me, to say “Bye now. Have a nice day.” And I lost it.

I shouted at their group as they left “You’re appalling! Kids! Watch your parents run away from a question! I’m asking a simple question and your parents are running away! They say they love people and they run away from their questions! You should be embarrassed and disgusted by them! You people disgust me! I just asked a question and you won’t answer it! You get no ‘Good-bye’ from me!!!”

They gathered in a group with many others about 40 feet behind me. I started talking to the black old guy next to me about how disgusted I was. He was a really great guy, as most old black guys are. He started tellin’ me what they were saying and how they should have answered my question. He also told me that I probably scared them, and that’s why they ran. I look over my shoulder, and they were talking still, the kids all looking at me through the group. They left the park shortly after. I forget how scary an arguing man is when you come from the suburbs. But I was sitting the whole time!

I ended up talking to this guy for an hour or so. The rest of the evening my heart was at a steady pace, and I couldn’t stop reflecting on how horrible it was, and what bad examples these adults were, and how stupid they are. Then I realized, I need a show.