Meeting Robot Jesus

Jimmy Chen experiences the Green Monster. An epiphany in two acts.

On January 10, 2011, my friend texted me, “do you want a green monster?” I thought she meant a smoothie or something, and so I replied, “ok.” 24 hours later, still recuperating, a mutual friend with whom I was in discourse regarding the preceding psycho-active experience texted me “that girl has a PhD in THC,” which stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol; or, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol; or (since I have no idea what I’m talking about) Δ1-THC.

It may be apparent that this “Green Monster” or “Brain Melter” (as she also coyly alluded to) was a weed muffin, meaning a muffin made with marijuana-infused butter. This medium is much stronger than smoking it. My friend, the baking-and-baked enthusiast, had procured the pot directly from her friend, who grew it “independently.” Let’s just say it was some strong stuff.

I’m a late bloomer. All throughout college in Santa Cruz, and all these subsequent years living in San Francisco, I had never taken any kind of drug—besides, obviously, caffeine and alcohol. I’ve never been interested in pot, mainly because I’m subdued, if not somewhat irritated, by the political fundamentalism, however “left,” of pot’s allegiance. I won’t get into the narcissism of politicizing one’s lifestyle under the empty auspices of moral mandate.

But there I was, on my friend’s couch, 40 minutes into ingesting the Green Monster, beginning to get the giggles. Soon I was chuckling uncontrollably, my “mind blown” thinking about two cups of tea hypothetically having Bluetooth and being sentient of each other. Soon “0-2-4-6-8…” became “0-0-0-0-0…” as infinity imploded into a grain of sand nesting in my tear duct; then I felt cast in resin, unable to move my arms, the daydream in front of me flashing as film stills; then, while walking in the panhandle, I was convinced my muffin-yielding friend was conspiring against me and planning a gangbang of which I was the scheduled sloppy center.

At home, in bed, it got bad – as far as hallucinations and paranoia go. I can’t explain it, and I don’t want this to be just another indulgent pot story, which I fear it might be. They say a drug-induced altered state of mind can strip away the material world around you, leaving nothing but your core exposed. Biochemical Zen, I guess. My core, my sad 34-year-old chronically depressed core, was, put simply, fear.

I was afraid, and alone, in bed staring blankly at my Japanese Shoji lamp on top of my IKEA bedside table (approximately rendered in Fig. 1). In my impaired — or arguably enlightened — perception, the lamp morphed into a head, and the table into a set of shoulders. And there he was staring right at me: Robot Jesus.


I sleep on the floor — an incumbency incurred by a recent break-up, and subsequent domestic negligence — and from my angle, Robot Jesus was carrying me on a beach, leaving its footprints in the sand. I’m not a Christian, but have always found the “Footprints in the Sand” tale quite compelling. A man, greeted in heaven, looks backs at this life and sees two pairs of footprints in the sand, his own, and Jesus’s. Except, for the most difficult times in his life, he sees only one pair. He asks Jesus wtf, why he bailed during times of the most suffering, to which the latter replies “it was then that I carried you.”

Since I was hallucinating, I figured I’d drop in some salvation while I was at it. There are no atheists in foxholes, so the saying goes.

Six days later, on Sunday January 16, 2011, I was walking up a hill on my way home from a late movie, which I saw alone, in an impulsive attempt to run away from myself, of trying not to feel so alone, which ultimately made me feel more alone. The thing with God, of course, is that you can never really know if he’s there, or if he’s not there. Faith is impossible without doubt. If you think about it, it’s a rather generous act (if he’s there), to give us so much space to wonder, to beg.

My walk up Rhode Island St. was after midnight, so I guess it was technically Monday — Martin Luther King Day. Black dude gets shot; I can have a day off. Thank you, America.

And thank you, Child — you who live at 908 Rhode Island with your parents and probable dog, you who so kindly drew Robot Jesus on the sidewalk for me, me coming up the hill that sad transparent night, and that sudden devastating chalk apparition, it wasn’t the pot, it was really him.

I try to think that. I’m trying so hard to believe that, little Child. But with each new drab day at work, the screechy train home, the low-calorie/-sodium dinner in front of the TV is a toothpick gracing the edge of this thin balloon of faith. Life is the conjunctivitis of seeing God, the scum you need to wipe away every morning. I thought of your drawing all night, and came to your house the next morning to take a picture, because it was too dark that night for the camera to see. It’s a lovely drawing, with a built-in constellation, an asterisk marking an invisible point. It looks just like who I imagined.

You see that shadow? That’s not a prayer, it’s just me. I had to raise my hands high so the view would be better.


Robot Jesus (2011), artist unknown

Jimmy Chen lives in San Francisco and works at a large institution. He suffers from various undiagnosed personality disorders, and enjoys food. He can be found here.