Please stop pestering the Big Guy

June 24, 2013 

Please stop pestering the Big Guy

Come on, admit it. You watched daredevil Nik Wallenda Sunday night as he walked 1,400 feet on steel cable suspended across a Grand Canyon gorge.

You know you watched as Discovery Channel and Wallenda hooked the nation for a couple of hours with the death-defying stunt. They bilked the 22-minute, 54-second stroll for all it was worth -- and then some.

I know. I watched it.

But I have a history of watching this kind of stuff. As a teenager in 1974, my dad took a bunch of us from Eufaula to Montgomery to watch the closed-circuit broadcast of Evel Knievel's failed attempt to jump over Idaho's Snake River Canyon. We thought we were going to see Evel jump it on a motorcycle, but instead we saw him strapped to a steam-powered rocket.

So, it was natural to be in front of the television Sunday night. If people want to do stupid things to cheat death, count me in.

But there was something different about Wallenda's deal.

From the pre-walk family prayer with mega-pastor Joel Osteen to Wallenda's apparent one-way conversation with Jesus during the walk, I felt like I was in the church of the absurd.

I understand Wallenda has a genetic defect that causes him to want to string up a wire and walk across it. Just remember, his great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, slipped and fell to his death from a high wire in Puerto Rico in 1978.

Some people just don't get the message.

But to turn it into a religious event felt wrong on so many levels.

So while Wallenda was walking, I turned to social media. Did you know someone proclaiming to be God has a Twitter account? It makes as much sense as some guy from Florida walking on a two-inch thick cable across the Grand Canyon.

Well, the person manning God's account on Twitter had a lot to say Sunday night.

"This guy walking across the Grand Canyon is really cool. I may need to meet him. Like, soon," read the first tweet.

The second one, which many would consider sacrilegious, set the tone for much of what I saw and read on Twitter and Facebook.

"Sorry, rest of the world," the tweet began. "Junior and I can't help you now. We're too busy helping some loon cross a canyon on a piece of floss."

Time and again, Wallenda called on the Lord or Jesus to do things like calm the wind, steady the cable and help him relax.

By the time he had crossed the great divide, I was relieved it was over for many reasons, not the least of which was that, against my better judgment, I got sucked into it.

But it was a final tweet from God that summed up my feelings. Using much saltier language than the Divine One would, the alleged Almighty tweeted as Mr. Wallenda was explaining his feat: "You're welcome. Now, shut ... up."

Amen.

Chuck Williams, senior editor for content, chwilliams@ledger-enquirer.com.

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