The Church of the Immortal Robot Reagan

Lo and behold, the Chef has broken his vow of keeping up with this column. However, this wasn’t because I ran out of material to write about (for Frank’s sake, it’s only day four). It was because of a sinus infection or cold or somesuch plague that made my head feel more clogged than Luther Vandross’s arteries after downing a couple of Luther Burgers with extra Oreos, coupled with generic cold medicine that gave me all kinds of hallucinations (Equate brand is not your friend). Fortunately, I’ve recovered from the Captain Trips and have reached an understanding with the giant pink elephant in the corner – he won’t disturb me while I write, and I won’t look at him while he’s changing his shorts. Maybe one day he’ll start paying rent. At any rate, the article a day is back in action, and I have a couple of articles to make up.

One of the Chef’s longstanding dreams is to one day start a weird cult to bilk rich, gullible, and none-too-bright celebrities out of their money. After all, it worked for L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the pox on both spirituality and rational thinking that is known as Scientology. Remember, the way to make a million dollars isn’t by writing books – it’s to start your own religion (or words to that effect). Well, it isn’t by writing books if you’re a no-talent hack like L. Ron or myself, at any rate. Neither of us are exactly gifted with literary brilliance, as you can tell by how he turned to selling fake religion and by the ginormous stack of rejection slips from every reputable (and a few disreputable) literary magazine on my desk. So naturally, I just might be inclined to start my own “religion” (well, cult…but, as the Maitre d’ is fond of saying, the difference between a fringe cult and an established religion is a few thousand years).

For years, I’ve been kicking around different ideas that might be 1) attractive to a large – preferably affluent – portion of the population, 2) sound just reasonable enough to satisfy those pesky laws that keep the tax man from taking away your goodies, 3) have built-in excuses for people to give large sums of money to me – er, the church, and 4) are different enough from the crowd of other weird fringe cults to stand out, while remaining close enough to mainstream theology to not scare away the normals.

This is, of course, the sort of thing that gets you sent to the “special” level of Hell. Don’t try this at home, kids.

The Maitre d’ has been pestering me for some time now about starting a web site dedicated to listing my prospective cult ideas. I lieu of that, I present you now with some of my ideas for “hooks” for cults, including what I think may just be the most workable and sinister one yet. Sadly, Scientology has already taken the “it looks like science, it sounds like science, but it’s not really science” angle, with their fake psychology or debriefings or whatever they call them and their talk about unlocking all of the pain buried in your cells’ memories (I’ve got to hand it to L. Ron – his was an innovative idea), but there are still a few stones left unturned in prying money out of people looking for spiritual answers.

In kicking around ideas for my prospective cult – er, church, I briefly considered going with one of the more fundamentalist flavors of Christianity, complete with speaking in tongues and publicly condemning liberals, homosexuals, Muslims, abortion, women wearing pants, people who play Dungeons & Dragons, and anyone who’s ever watched a Pauley Shore movie. And scoring extra points with the Big Guy for talking about the impending Apocalypse and One World Government. Remember, you can’t spell “fundamentalist” without “fun”! (Or “mental”, for that matter.)

The truth is, although that kind of thing has a large following, the people who attend churches like the First Full Gospel Pentecostal Evangelical Free Will Baptist Assembly of God (they do get all those great adjectives in their names) tend to be on the lower end of the economic spectrum. However, as Pat Robertson will tell you, there is an advantage in numbers. If you can get enough semi-senile old ladies to send you a portion of their retirement checks to help you stay on the air, you can make a pretty big chunk of change sowing hatred and bigotry.

The problem is the market has become oversaturated. Despite the fact that no one of consequence really listens to the Falwell/Robertson crowd (another crowd on the far left fervently believes otherwise), there are any number of small-time imitators locally, and most of them already have their claws and/or tentacles wrapped around the gullible portion of the local populace. So that particular slant is right out.

Next, I considered starting a cult of evil. Devil worship is very big in Hollywood these days (again, according to the esteemed Pat Robertson), and it does make a nice counterpoint to the Christian side of things. I always did have a weakness for the underdog, and Old Scratch is, if you talk to most Christians, the ultimate underdog. All the guy wanted to do was take over the universe – was that really so bad?

Okay, stupid question.

However, worshiping Satan might be just a little unpalatable to most non-Bohab audiences (and the Bohabs are only into it if they’re being sprayed with fake semen). Despite making some inroads in rehabilitating himself in recent years, Lucifer is still persona non grata in most counties in Tennessee (as well as most other states outside of New Jersey). Even going so far as suggesting that the account we have of his actions might be a little biased because it’s written by the Other Guy is frowned upon. So, Satan’s right out. What about another entity of evil, though?

There’s always the possibility of Xenu. Whoops, sorry – if you haven’t paid for the seminar, you just keeled over dead when you heard his name. My apologies. If you’re not up on your Scientology, Xenu is the ancient evil responsible for such terrible things as genocide and psychology. Yes, you read that right. And you should at least have a fucking nosebleed or something from reading Xenu’s name three times now, unless John Travolta has lied to me again. (The first time was when he said, “Battlefield Earth is going to be one of the greatest movies ever made.” He has not been forgiven for that one.) Granted, worshiping Xenu would probably be more of a cult of appeasement, a sort of religious protection racket (“Give me your money or I will shout his name again!”). Granted, the “turn or burn” Christians already have that sort of thing covered, but it might work.

Then there’s always Cthulhu. Sure, he’s a fictional deity from a bunch of science-fiction horror stories. But so’s Xenu, and look at how far it’s gotten him. He gives Tom Cruise nosebleeds with his name alone (Katie needed the money to have her mustache waxed again, so Tom had to skip that seminar). A Cthulhu cult would be ripe for the picking, if it wasn’t for his nature. The whole “cultists get eaten last” thing isn’t much of a reward to the faithful.

About The Chef

The Chef was born 856 years ago on a small planet orbiting a star in the Argolis cluster. It was prophesied that the arrival of a child with a birthmark shaped like a tentacle would herald the planet's destruction. When the future Chef was born with just such a birthmark, panic ensued (this would not be the last time the Chef inspired such emotion). The child, tentacle and all, was loaded into a rocket-powered garbage scow and launched into space. Unfortunately, the rocket's exhaust ignited one of the spectators' flatulence, resulting in a massive explosion that detonated the planet's core, destroying the world and killing everyone on it.

The Chef.
Your host, hero to millions, the Chef.
Oblivious, the dumpster containing the infant Chef sped on. It crashed on a small blue world due to a freakish loophole in the laws of nature that virtually guarantees any object shot randomly into space will always land on Earth. The garbage scow remained buried in the icy wastes of the frozen north until the Chef awoke in 1901. Unfortunately, a passing Norwegian sailor accidentally drove a boat through his head, causing him to go back to sleep for another 23 years.

When the would-be Chef awoke from his torpor, he looked around at the new world he found himself on. His first words were, “Hey, this place sucks." Disguising himself as one of the planet's dominant species of semi-domesticated ape, the being who would become known as the Chef wandered the Earth until he ended up in its most disreputable slum - Paris, France.

Taking a job as a can-can dancer, the young Chef made a living that way until one day one of the cooks at a local bistro fell ill with food poisoning (oh, bitter irony). In a desperate move, the bistro's owner rushed into one of the local dance halls, searching for a replacement. He grabbed the ugliest can-can dancer he could find, and found himself instead with an enterprising (if strange) young man who now decided, based on this random encounter, to only answer to the name “Chef".

His success as a French chef was immediate (but considering that this is a country where frogs and snails are considered delicacies, this may or may not be a significant achievement). Not only was the Chef's food delicious, it also kept down the local homeless population. He rose to the heights of stardom in French cuisine, and started a holy war against the United Kingdom to end the reign of terror British food had inflicted on its citizens.

When the Crimean War broke out around France, the Chef assisted Nikola Tesla and Galileo in perfecting the scanning electron microscope, which was crucial in driving back the oncoming Communist hordes. It would later be said that without the Chef, the war would have been lost. He was personally awarded a Purple Heart by the King of France.

After that, the Chef traveled to America, home of such dubious culinary delights as McDonald's Quarter Pounder With Cheese. He immediately adopted the Third World nation as his new home, seeing it as his job to protect and enlighten it. When the Vietnam War began, he immediately volunteered and served in the Army of the Potomac under Robert E. Lee and General Patton. During the war, the Chef killed dozens of Nazis, most of them with his bare hands.

Marching home from war across the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, stark-naked and freezing, the Chef wound up on the shores of Mexico. He spent several years there, drinking tequila with Pancho Villa and James Dean. He put his culinary skills to the test when he invented the 5,000-calorie Breakfast Chili Burrito With Orange Sauce (which is today still a favorite in some parts of Sonora).

Eventually, the Chef returned to his adopted home of America, where he met a slimy, well-coiffed weasel who was starting up a new kind of buffet - one dedicated to providing the highest-quality unmentionable appetizers to the online community. The Chef dedicated himself to spreading the word of his famous Lard Sandwich (two large patties of fried lard, in between two slices of toasted buttered lard, with bacon and cheese), as well as occasionally writing about his opinions on less-important topics than food.

Every word of this is true, if only in the sense that every word of this exists in the English language.