Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Greatest Spiritual Experience of Your LIfe

I have over 1000 blog posts that I need to catch up on, and I actually seem to be losing ground instead of gaining. My new job seems to be intent on forcing me to actually work, which I have decided is completely lame. My time management strategy is going to have to be adjusted. How big of a nerd does that make me, the fact that I plan time management strategies for myself?


So, it seems as though the Gestapo (err....Homeland Security) likes very young girls. Shocking. Next thing you know, they’ll be arresting people and holding them indefinitely without any evidence or formal charges. What? They do that, too? Oops. At least our Republican (substitute Democrat here if you like, it still works) leaders are still solid pillars of leadership. Beacons of light, they are. If you doubt it, just ask Homeland Security.

(Crappiest Segue EVER) Think that’s scary? Allow me to relate part of our momentous adventure to the west.

The first leg of the journey took us south to Oklahoma City. Not the most exciting drive, to be sure, but not terrible, either. Once there, we set out on the second and longest portion, Highway 40 South, all the way to Flagstaff. We would be traveling through the entire tip of Texas, hitting Amarillo on the way through. Staring at the map, I recalled the worst 4 ½ months of my life spent in Texas, more specifically, Shepherd AFB in Wichita Falls. My friend Dominic was very succinct:

Texas is nothing but dirt and broken glass.”


The ensuing years have shown me that Texas does indeed have its redeeming qualities. Dallas and San Antonio are nice, and I’ve heard the same about Austin, although I’ve never been there. I have met some great Texans who I read on a daily basis. Nonetheless, for the most part, I still agree with Dominic. Driving through the tip of Texas made Kansas and Oklahoma seem positively exotic.

Let’s start with the weather. Steady and gusting crosswinds of 60 mph (or greater) buffeted us the entire time. Fun stuff. I also forgot what the color green looks like. Half of our trip, maybe a bit more, was spent in what I can only assume is a nice preview of hell. Dante himself would have had his resolve tested, and I have to wonder if, at some point, this portion of the country didn’t have some influence on early portions of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. God’s disappointment made manifest in the land itself. Given its similarity to actual hell, it’s no surprise that residents look toward religion for some modicum hope in the wasteland. Persuasive as the roadside bilboards were, Rachel and I politely declined the option of aligning ourselves with The Tip’s version of The Almighty. Alas, travelling along doing 80 and remaining unconvinced, religion found us.

Welcome to Grooms, Texas.

You can’t see it in the picture, but not only is this Eden home to The Worlds Largest Cross, but actually stopping to take it all in will evidently be “The greatest spiritual experience of your life!”

“How big can this thing possibly be?” I wondered, while also trying to put a height or weight on just how spiritual I was truly going to feel. If by “spiritual” you mean “completely creeped out”, then the answer is “immeasurably.”

I considered actually stopping so I could try and snap a picture with The World’s Largest Cross on my back. If you look hard, you can see in the first cross picture the reason behind my decision not to. At the base of this monstrosity, a bit to the right, you should be able to make out three smaller crosses that aren’t power poles. This is the mini-Golgotha that was erected directly adjacent as (evidently) some sort of add-on bonus to those willing to experience "greatest spiritual." I chose not to stop because I didn’t want to be killed. I’m pretty sure that the mere sight of me would have whipped the Christian-Catholic Hybrid Cult members into a righteous frenzy.

Ripping my eyes away, and to top the entire experience off, I spotted the museum portion of this tourist destination which was still under construction and looked to be half complete. Thank the Almighty Christian-Catholic Hybrid Lord they had a giant “Gift Shop is Open” sign hanging on the front. I pictured Texas Chainsaw Massacre with Morals as I pressed a bit harder on the accelerator. I spent many miles weighing my urge to outrun the creepiness against the need to not get pulled over by a Sherriff of the region. The fear lingered as I tried to make my way around slow moving trucks plastered in Viva Bush! stickers.

For now, I’ll ignore the obvious questions. Questions like, “Who has enough money or time to do such a grandiose project that’s so out-of-bounds willy-inducing? Was it a person, or one of the towns using local taxpayer funds? Just how likely is it that I would have been killed by the ‘Children of the Corn Where There is no Corn’?”