In the beginning was the Word, and I don’t know what the Word was, but I swear to frigging Dad, it was not “followers.”
I was just a youngish Son of Man, posting a quick video of me turning water into wine. I wasn’t trying to generate a following — I didn’t even check my phone hours afterward. I was grinding millet and kneading millet dough with my mom. (Such a mama’s boy, I know, but she is the Queen of Heaven, so what can I do?) Then, before I knew it, I was blowing up with all these new followers. Next day, John the Baptist (!!) shared it, and the rest is history/gospel.
But real talk? It freaked me out. Before going viral, I had posted all this great content, like spot-on impressions of Tiberius Caesar and carefully structured, hilarious jokes (“What did the far-sighted hypocrite say to his eye doctor? Phar-I-see.”; “How old is that ignoramus? Phil-is-teen”). Plus, I had something like twelve videos of me reviving dead birds. Everybody reacted like “yawn.” So what was it about this little nothing water-wine trick that got everyone’s tunic in a bunch? Watching my follower count rise like leavened bread was super cool, but it also gave me this weird sense that the universe was beyond my control? Does that make sense? Like everything seemed completely arbitrary?
Now I can’t stop checking my follower count. Like, I will be mid-parable and my hand will just go to my pocket automatically. I have to pretend I got a text or am checking the time or whatever, but I’m just looking at that number.
And for me’s sake, there’s no rhyme or reason to what makes me gain or lose followers. I’ll give some bland throwaway sermon on the mount, “Blessed are the poor,” just trying to be nice, and all these comments are like, “Jesus hates our freedom,” and I lose an ark-load of followers. Then other times, I’m all, “Hey dummies, listen to this dumb story. The prodigal son ran away, and when he came back everyone was super happy,” and the dummies lose their camel shit, and I’ll have 20,000 new followers. But then: Raise Lazarus from the dead? Nothing. Crickets. Tumbleweed. Couple likes. Multiplied the loaves and the fishes — cannot multiply the followers.
I know it’s stupid to obsess over my follower count. Like, me Almighty, I’m the alpha and the omega, a literal god. But if I overturn the moneychangers’ tables in the temple and lose some followers? Watch me crumble like the walls of Jericho.
That’s how I ended up here: doing a forty-day media cleanse in the literal me-damn desert, where there’s no reception. At first, I was dying — not for your sins, but to check my notifications. But a week in, an epiphany hit me: I have some mommy issues to sort out.
See, the first time I changed the water to wine and got my first followers was at a wedding with my mom. Listen, I adore Mary Most Holy, but give her an open bar and she acts like booze is the Red Sea she is personally responsible for draining. She was sloshed, hanging all over every dude, slurring about how Joseph isn’t my real dad. “Couldn’t be. Couldn’t be,” she kept saying, making this lewd gesture, sticking out her finger but then letting it go limp. My Broseph was always a cool guy to me, and it just burned me that the Virgin Mother would invalidate him that way. And then, just as Our Lady of Perpetual Kegstands only needed one more glass to pass out, the wedding ran out of alcohol. So I changed the water to wine. Ever since then, I guess accumulating followers is my way of wrestling the narrative from the Ever-Virgin.
I’ve also realized I need to bring my personal brand back to its roots: another wine stunt.
First, I’m going to invite everyone over and be like, This is it, guys, maybe my Last Supper. It’s not enough, though, just lowkey alluding to your imminent death. So, right then, boom, I’m going to tell everyone to eat my body and drink my blood. They loved it when I turned water into wine, so I’ll tell them my blood IS wine.
Truth (me) be told, the next step is literally to die, no joke. That’s as far as I’ve gotten. Dying gets you sooo much attention; I might have to come back to life just to count my followers. I mean, I am God, which is nice, but if I get enough followers? Maybe people will even capitalize, like, pronouns that refer to me.
Then everyone will say, Oh Jesus? Yeah, I follow Him.