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Let’s get this party started right. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Not gonna lie. When I saw the headline, “Man Runs Off with Baby Jesus Stolen from Sundance Square Nativity Scene,” I was a little bit scared.

I don’t get out much, but when I do, I become a Chuck Bukowski-esque nightmare. Insignificant moments take on hidden meanings, mysteries unfold, and puzzles I’ve troubled over for weeks or months are solved or cheerfully obliterated in alcohol-soaked revelry. As the electro Brit-band Faithless puts it, “God Is a DJ”— and I become mighty worshipful.

We started early at a friend of mine’s rock ’n’ roll show at a blues bar in Arlington. Then, before I could get my groove all the way on, we were back in Fort Worth, a slurry blur, dance floors, spilled drinks, “Rock Me Amadeus,” new friends, old friends, and forgotten (now clumsy) dance moves. “When Doves Cry” indeed.

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By then, it’s too late. The music is too loud to hear my liver screaming, and my lovely, longsuffering wife — code name: Stays — is telling me to go easy, but it’s water off a duck’s back, and my webbed feet are moonwalking. I’m already breaking down another double TX Whiskey, quacking up. All the sudden, the dance floor is less crowded — because I’m an inebriated whirl of careless appendages, flailing unpredictably, or the couples around me are afraid I’ll puke on them.

But I hold my mud. My bro DJ Outlaw gets all hare and tortoise, saying our alcohol consumption is like running the 400 meters. He says I’m in a wild-ass sprint and that I should pace myself, but when I hit the ribbon, he’s nowhere in sight.

I came, I saw, I conquered — at least in my foggy perception of the disjointed timeslips of the space-time-continuum I inhabited that night. I was feeling no pain, no strain, and no single gesture seemed to be performed in vain.

And then I was gone, a wisp of tequila vapor.

My subconscious — devolving, monosyllabic id — was at the wheel, and I was passed out in the metaphorical backseat. Still making the rounds in the bar or club we were at but less openly philosophical, I was a lower primate on an unknown and unknowable mission. Madly focused on a distant shore I could only grasp at while I was unsteadily sinking. Several travelers helped along the way, in awe, slightly afraid or snootily disapproving. But I was on to the next crowd or couple or dance floor. God was the DJ.

When I saw the headline the next day, I almost checked the trunk of my car.

My lady, Stays, though. I know she would have curtailed any notion I might have harbored of visiting the sweet Baby Jesus that night. She’s lived with me for over 20 years. She knows I’m the ghosts of Christmases past, present, and future all stuffed into one heady, moody, irascible elf. And since my id was king for the wee hours of my dim sojourn, I knew anything was possible — but hardly plausible.

On the other hand, however, I really feel for the Kid. And if I’d have seen Him, I might have snatched Him, too.

Everyone knows His name, but hardly anybody remembers what He stood for. Peace, love, turning the other cheek — hippy stuff. We have conservative igmos from Cali actually moving here for “God and guns,” and nobody truly familiar with the little bae Jesus really believes He would ever have picked up or carried a gun, much less shot someone. In fact, He would rather have been shot than shoot someone else. But here in Texas, we love the idea of pumping hot lead into people, even — or especially — children.

It’s who we are, really. A part of our overstuffed legends and comic book lore, a bummer and a bore to the Child, who knows our 10-gallon hats are as empty as our faith.

Who are we kidding?

Little baby Jesus and real Christians aren’t safe in Texas.

But hey *sweaty brow wipe* the photo with the stolen-baby article proves that — yes, yes, praise that little, stolen, holy cherub — it wasn’t me. But it sure got me to thinking.

Maybe the guy who grabbed our Baby Jesus in Sundance Square wasn’t stealing Him. Maybe he was saving Him from us. — Tytus Berry

 

Texas native Tytus Berry shuttles back and forth between his hometown of Fort Worth and his cabin off the grid in West Texas. A former journalist, he now writes fiction and the occasional editorial piece.

 

This column reflects the opinions of the author and not the Fort Worth Weekly. To submit a column, please email Editor Anthony Mariani at Anthony@FWWeekly.com. He will gently edit it for factuality, clarity, and concision.

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