John Wayne & Jesus
I felt trapped, like a bear bleeding inside spiked, steel jaws. That’s what it felt like to be trapped between what I was and what I wanted to be.
Of course, I had no idea what I was, and that was a big problem. So, being an intelligent and willful man, I decided to become what I wanted to be.
I’d always admired John Wayne. And so did my father. I admired The Duke’s heroism and machismo. I liked how the ladies admired him. I liked how he didn’t take shit from anybody. I admired his confidence in his black and white morality. I thought if any man could be more like John Wayne, most men would be far better men.
So I started going around as John Wayne. I bought the hat and began speaking with John Wayne’s low, slow, tough-guy drawl. I started wearing a leather cowboy vest and a bandana around my neck. I even changed my name from Jim Hershey to John Wayne and went out looking for fistfights against bad guys.
I began telling my friends and family I was John Wayne. Some of them feared for my sanity. But I assured them, me being John Wayne was exactly what my soul needed.
Many of my friends and family abandoned me. They said they wouldn’t concede to my demands of being recognized as John Wayne since it was plain as day I wasn’t John Wayne. They said they wouldn’t be bullied or shamed into the insanity of recognizing and acknowledging me as someone I’m not.
I lost a lot of friends and family. I began to question if becoming John Wayne had been a wise decision. Then, one day, I met Jesus. Not the historical Jesus, of course, but another guy who admired Jesus so much that he decided to become Jesus.
We talked. We explained. He said he’d gladly recognize me as John Wayne. I said I’d gladly recognize him as Jesus.
We had similar stories of people abandoning us, which gave us a stronger, shared identity as victims of a society that couldn’t accept our desire to become better men than we already were. We understood how we were to be admired for striving to become better than what were once were. We both understood we were far better people as John Wayne and Jesus Christ than the Jim and Allen we were before. We grew to understand and admire one another for the slings and arrows we’d endured in becoming the better men we’d become.
My new friend, Jesus, explained how he’d suffered through the persecutions of people refusing to recognize him as Jesus. Even I said there was some hubris in claiming yourself as Jesus. But Jesus said it was neither hubris nor ego that drove him to become the reincarnation of the Messiah. He said it was out of love and respect of wanting to be more like Jesus that Allen became Jesus himself. Ultimately, Jesus explained, it was his sacrifice to humanity to become more like Jesus.
Now, through Jesus, I have a whole new group of friends who understand and accept me as John Wayne. Thanks to my soulmate, Jesus, I now have acquaintances with Abraham Lincoln, Lau Tzu, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and lots of other brilliant souls.
It’s been a hard road becoming John Wayne. But the payoff’s been immeasurable and the transformation has been something of a miracle.