It’s not uncommon to see prayer requests online, and they usually accompany a frustrating vaguepost. Guys, if I’m going to take a knee on your behalf and compose a throaty ballad to Armok, God of Blood, I’m going to need the deets. That is, unless you want it to contain lots of humming and one of those lazy “na na na” choruses. There will probably be a whistling outro. You’ve brought this upon yourselves.
Obviously, deities have varying exchange rates, but there should be some sort of action involved unless you’re praying to Aergia, the Goddess of Sloth. Most people can’t be bothered to expend the single calorie (not a kilocalorie, fam) it takes to click a mouse, so I don’t have high hopes for a customized prayer or even the standard wham, bam, thank you ma’am. When I don’t have any faith whatsoever that your body will strain its weathered, carb-addled carapace to engage in fake Internet interactions, how can I be sure that you’ve actually said a prayer?
No, when I’m in trouble, I need sacrifice. I’m not talking about money because you don’t have any. I’m not interested in symbolic gestures, memes, emotes, attaboys, or your next shittiest lamb.
I need someone to die.
“But Bob,” you’ll say, “That’s not legal!”
Oh, I’m not asking you to go out and murder someone just for me. It is against the law and, again, if you can’t be bothered to click “like” on a Facebook post how could I expect you to get out of your seat and throttle some hopefully deserving public figure to death? WINK WINK.
No, no. You’re already murdering people all day long. I need you to dedicate one of those to me.
“But Bob,” you’ll cry, “I’ve never killed anyone, unless you count that time I Pokemon Go’d my Suburban into the Susan Komen 5k!”
Hey pal, your tax dollars are constantly at work killing men, women, and children all over the world. You didn’t personally hire a hitman but we all pay taxes, and whether it’s thousands of dollars or a fraction of a penny, a hit is a hit. If I give a man a nickel to drop a bomb on Doctors Without Borders, or if you pay two ex-cons $40,000 to brutally murder your spouse in their kitchen, the deal has been done.
What about every time someone sets off a car bomb in a market in a country we’ve worked hard to destabilize? Negligent homicide counts in my book. If you filled your house full of land mines and cobras you’d probably be liable when the mailman gets snakesploded. I want you to take a moment, a fraction of a second and dedicate one of those to me. Mmm, sacrifice.
“We?” you’ll say. “I didn’t do anything. That’s the government, mannn. The government I may or may not have elected but-”
Look, it’s easy. Why say a prayer when you can take one, just one, of the one or two hundred slaves included in your slavery footprint, and consider the impact you’ve had on their life?
“Slavery footprint? What’s that?”
Well kiddo, it’s like a carbon footprint except with people.
“What’s a carbon footprint?”
Aww, you knucklehead.
When you shop at Wal-Mart or Target or The Mofuggin Gap, you’re employing all sorts of happy, foreign people who aren’t so excited to be crushed under collapsing buildings or charbroiled in factory fires. Take one of those and dedicate them to me. Just one.
We can do this guys. We can justify it now because with prayers we had to shoot out a message and hope for the best, or not even that. We could lie about even thinking a thing and go on with our day, effortless effort expended.
Don’t call it a comeback, sacrifice has been here for years, and now you don’t even have to drag children up a stone pyramid and hack their heads off in a futile attempt to appease the rain gods. You don’t have to stand in the sweet green grass below and clap as the piercing echo of hundreds of hands slapping together shoots back as a shocking yelp. You don’t have to do anything now because the hard math of counting on fingers and scratching in the dirt has moved from abacus to calculator, outsourced with lightning speed so simple a toddler could do it without understanding why. Fat little fingers tapping tablets, sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice.
You don’t have to look past our shores or your computer screen. You don’t have to go outside to click (there’s that calorie) YouTube, LiveLeak, Worldstarhiphop, Facebook livestreams before they’re deleted, and witness the choking machine-gunned wreck of your fellow citizens, your brothers and sisters, your children eaten by dogs. Write a prayer for that one or better yet, tune out and sacrifice.
You’ll expend thousands of seconds and calories shaming and bullying people who protest the situation but when it comes to boring old sacrifice it’s best to follow my formula.
Throw another body on the pyre for your buddy’s tonsil removal. Weep for humanity but go ahead and chalk another one up for that big raise. Job interview? I hear someone kidnapped a bus full of students south of the border. Refinancing your home? There are 30 million Americans without health insurance. We’ll lose a few today. You didn’t write the law but you voted or didn’t, complicit enough. Sacrifice.
In my dreams I see feeds full of requests. Not prayers but, “Sacrifice?” Short, vague enough, and to the point. No likes, clicks, shares, or polar bears. I hear the hum of laptop fans and only a word, because the click is too expensive. The typed line, the bent knee, the seconds, rare minutes spent crying out to God, all too dear. Just sacrifice and be silent, knowing that the deed is done, your dedication delivered inside of a moment, then it’s on to the next digital injection.