During my two months with Saint Jesus Malverde and prescription medication, I spent a lot of time watching television. Bad television, at all hours. Splendaville’s NBC affiliate happily broadcasts paid Christian programming at various interludes, including The 700 Club, which comes on right after The Today Show. You can limp out of the room to Kathie Lee and Hoda doing shots and making over dowdy audience members and return to a seemingly normal news broadcaster who will then confuse you by announcing with a straight face that in Ohio two thousand teenagers declared their virginity for Jesus.
One of the finest programming options I came across was Jack Van Impe Presents. This quality Christian showcase has the primetime slot of midnight on Sunday, and stars Doctors Jack and Rexella Van Impe. Dr. Rexella, a breathy, hair-sprayed, pointy-chinned blonde, starts things off by reading a headline from the week with wide-eyed bewilderment. Then Dr. Jack, silver-haired and squinting with prophetic visions, applies an apocalyptic Biblical filter that will lead the faithful to the conclusion that the End of Days is near and that one must acquire a $24.95 DVD about recognizing the Mark of the Beast or how the European Union is developing a new world order that will track the earth’s six billion people with skin implants.
Since presumably at this point your wallet is out and you’re doing some spiritual push-ups, the natural segue is a paid infomercial (the NBC affiliate must be raking it in) for the Body Gospel workout DVD. It’s not just workouts set to Christian music; it’s a fellowship of fitness where you can breathe new life into your healthy temple, decreasing your waistline while expanding your faith. (One ecstatic reviewer on Amazon deemed it “Perspiration with a Purpose”. I think she’s confusing it with Bible-sanctioned procreation.) The infomercial offers an array of faith-based fitness for only $79, including Stretch in the Spirit, Gospel Glory, Power and Praise (they’re fools for alliteration, aren’t they?), and Core Revelation. Plus for 80 bucks you get extras like the Total Transformation Guide with workout calendar and daily scripture.
In my opioid haze I wondered if God was telling me to get off my fat ass and heal myself. But then I wondered, do I really have time to Work Out for a Higher Purpose? Drs. Jack and Rexella are preparing for The Rapture and One World Government, so shouldn’t I be spending these last days buying informational DVDs, converting my currency into euros, and deciding where I want my EU tracking chip?