If the Second Coming were to take place in Thailand’s capital, what could we expect from Rebound Jesus?
Of course there’s no way to know what kind of miracles He’d perform (though we’d place bets on something to do with malaria or snake bites or fixing the traffic), or the manner in which local political elites would execute Him for His Blessed Subversion, but if His Track Record is anything to go by it’s virtually hypothetically guaranteed that He’d be spending a lot of time around Phatphong.
One of the world’s most notorious red light districts, Phatphong is a two-block playground for sweaty, soul-deprived, cash-endowed men eager to inexpensively indulge in pleasures of the flesh – that flesh typically being attached to impoverished, uneducated, Southeast Asian refugees. A trip through the half-mile of go go bars, theaters, motels, massage parlors, and groups of salivating old white guys provides visitors with skin-crawling insights into the bleakest exploitative aspects of globalization and the visceral power of money.
Why we would spend so much time there, then, is hard to say. Boredom and curiosity played important roles, and more so the opportunity to hear an always-entertaining outraged shriek from a friend signaling that their genitals had just been grabbed by a random stranger in the crowd. But perhaps, deep down, we were inspired by the uninspired christian youth groups of our past, had asked ourselves WJWD, and decided He’d bring His Love to the downtrodden and downgroped. Unlike really cool virginal youth pastors, we didn’t have an acoustic guitar, bright t-shirts, a water balloon fight, or an inspiring story about how after the third time we smoked pot and were clearly headed down a dark perilous path in life Jesus came out of the darkness and saved us, but we did have arms, and as the Good Book says, “Arms are made for hugging.” (Curtis 2:66)
…And since the first century Greek word for “hugging” can also be translated as, “taking too many pictures,” it’s not a big stretch to conclude that we did a pretty good job of fulfilling the covenant of the Lord or whatever in Phatphong’s icky prostitutey milieu.