A Christmas Story

This is actually an Easter story, but nobody’s perfect. It was Easter a few years ago. My sunrise hiking gang came down from the Mt. Hollywood mountaintop and we all went to a special “Easter for Atheists” screening of a new film at the local Hollywood skeptic society hall. The film was a documentary presenting evidence that the historic Jesus was actually a myth.

The whole hiking gang was there, Paul Fleiss (Heidi’s dad), George Dicaprio (Leonardo’s dad), the Hollywood and defense industry financier, the entertainment attorney, the artisan craftsman, the LAPD cop who shoots pictures, the whole gang.

There was a homeless guy panhandling at the door. Everyone ignored the guy as if he did not just ask for spare change or exist at all. I carry a stack of two dollar bills in my wallet to give to homeless people under a theory that they might keep it for good luck, so in an emergency they still have two dollars. Also because for some reason they usually smile when I pull it out and say, “wow, a two dollar bill”. I say that it is the cheapest smile I can purchase, and people chuckle. I then point out that they just smiled, which means I got even more than one smile out of the deal.

Inside, it was a packed auditorium. I looked around. It seems like everyone I knew in Hollywood was there. During the discussion period after the screening, someone brought up an argument against the possibility of there being a heaven and hell that most of us have thought of when we were kids. He said that if there was a heaven and hell, and the good people who think about others and not just themselves go to heaven, then how can they be in heaven if they are thinking about all of the suffering in hell, or on earth for that matter.

I thought about how everyone in the audience seemed to enjoy the film, yet just outside the door was a homeless guy with only a two dollar bill to his name. If everyone could enjoy the film with this guy out there suffering, then why would they not be able to do the same in heaven.

I started to raise my hand with my clever new contrarian argument. Then I realized that all I did was give a guy two dollars with my self-promoting rationale, so I was about to point to my own hypocrisy in pointing out that of others. I kept my mouth shut.

When I got outside the homeless guy was gone. Every time I am in that neighborhood, I look around for him. I’m never going to find him again. That’s the plain truth.