Lodi is named for the Bridge of Lodi in Italy where Napoleon once gained fame shouting "Vive la République!" In New Jersey though this Lodi is home to the Dangling Jesus, the Jesus that dangles from the neck of one Jan-Michael. Wherever Jan-Michael goes so goes Jesus. Whether it’s work, church or Club Rise, if Jan-Michael is there, so is the ever-present Jesus around his neck.
I’m partial to his Jesus over the skull T-shirt look myself. After all, Jesus conquered death at the place called, "The Skull." I realize most Protestants do not have the image of Jesus on their crosses but I think we all got one big wake-up call to Christ’s physical sufferings when The Passion hit the big screen.
While at Club Rise, I was telling him the story of when I was at Jersey Boys Bagels in Morristown and a very uppity-White-blonde-professional woman strutted in with child in tow (like a brief case or Coach bag). She barked her bagel order (which was very specific: everything bagel, cut in even quarters, dab of low-fat chive cream cheese, only a dab…and on it went with five other types of bagels and spreads). Then she made the high school bagel boy repeat her entire order back to her- "Now repeat what I said in my exact words, and I mean exact." High school bagel boy obliged, I could tell he’s been through the routine before. When she was satisfied with his response, she place her credit card in her child’s hand and said, "Here, make sure the order is correct before you pay him," then she walked out back to her illegally parked Lexus. When the order was complete (and inspected), the child handed over the credit card. Bagel Boy swiped it twice; twice it was declined. A smirk washed over my face as the child stood there with the bagel order and declined card. I was almost, and I mean almost tempted to pay for the order but I was way too gleeful that her card was declined. I’m sure her annual income was 5x that of my own. Minutes later, mommy dearest returned in the I’ve-been-waiting-too-long rage. She huffed and puffed, made quite a scene and pulled out another card.
As I was telling this story to Jan-Michael with that Jesus around his neck, I began to feel like a real jerk. The joy of telling the story of rich woman’s embarrassment in a bagel shop quickly left me. Dang that dangling Jesus! Dang that Jan-Michael who could nail me with conviction. I should have shown a little Christian compassion and paid for those bagels before the mother returned. Stupid me.