I was simultaneously amused and embittered to read that a baby Jesus doll had been discovered missing from an Ohio nativity scene on Christmas morning.
I was amused because it recalled fond and distant memories of my acid-addled youth. I was embittered because, quite frankly, I felt plagiarized. For the first time in my life, I felt as if I could relate to those blind Mississippi Delta blues musicians when they’d turn on the radio and hear The Rolling Stones. Fuck, I invent an entire genre, then someone comes along thirty years later and makes headlines with it? It caused a sense of injustice to gnaw at my heart, one that continues to gnaw as I type this.
For two or three consecutive years back in the early to mid 1980s, me and my droogies made a habit of dropping acid on Xmas Eve and then pillaging every nativity scene we could find in Delaware County, PA.
These Xmas Eve rituals followed an initial incident a year previously when me and a whole different crew of friends pilfered a baby Jesus from a nativity scene while we were drunk and then proceeded to kick it like a soccer ball for a good two miles up the icy asphalt on West Chester Pike in Upper Darby, PA.
But our Jesus-snatching began in earnest the next Christmas Eve after dropping some green windowpane acid and tooling about the dull streets of Havertown, Drexel Hill, Clifton Heights, and Springfield, sacking one private lawn after the next and disabusing these unsuspecting citizens of their Jesus dolls. We also hit a few churches and at least one school for the retarded. On a bad night we’d get about six Jesii; on a good one I believe we stole enough baby Jesuses to form a baseball team, bullpen included.
Often the Jesus figurines were not our willing captives, and over the ensuing years we’d come with chains in hand, ready to rip, mangle, mutilate, and abort the Jesuses from their mangers. During one especially thrilling foray, my friend Brome waltzed up a snow-covered lawn and started tugging at a lit-up Jesus, only to realize too late that it was connected to the entire house’s Christmas-lights display, which came crashing down as he bolted toward our getaway car, a 1964 Lincoln Continental with suicide doors. A trail of electrical wires and busted light bulbs dangled behind him as he leaped into the backseat with his freshly captured baby Jesus.
About a hundred yards later, we realized the house’s owner was giving chase in his car, at which point we proceeded to toss some of our quarry out the window at him in an effort to make him crash.
“HE’S STILL IN PURSUIT…RELEASE CERAMIC LAMB…OK, THAT DIDN’T WORK…RELEASE LARGE PORCELAIN JESUS…”
He eventually lost us, and we continued to steal Jesuses throughout the night.
One year we repaired to Brome’s house with our treasure and proceeded to chop off the Jesus heads and place them in plastic Seal-A-Meal bags with Bloody Mary mix. Then we played “catch” with the decapitated bloody Jesus heads until his mom woke up and asked us what we were doing.
And those, my friends, are some of the fondest holiday memories of my life.