Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Thomas was about to lose his job and his family because of his drinking and smoking. He tried to stop many times, but was never successful. Desperate for an answer, he walked into a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. In the meeting he was told to get a sponsor, so afterward he asked a serene looking fellow named Roscoe to be his sponsor, and Roscoe agreed.

“Thomas,” began Roscoe, “If you want to stop drinking and doing pot, it will be necessary for you to turn your will and your life over to a power greater than yourself.”

“I don’t believe in any of this spiritual crap,” said Thomas. “What should I do?”

“Are you willing to go to any lengths to recover?” asked Roscoe.

“I think so.”

“Very well,” said Roscoe. “Until you can come up with a higher power of your own understanding, you can borrow mine, the Great Juju.”

This sounded very weird to Thomas, but he asked, “So, how do I use your higher power.”

“It is very simple,” answered Roscoe. “First, go pee in a cup. Take that cup of urine to the Juju. I keep it in my back yard. After you give the Juju your gift of urine, it will tell you what your problem is and what you can do about it.”

Thomas thought this sounded ridiculous, but he had agreed that he was willing to go to any lengths to recover, so he decided to try out his sponsor’s higher power. He peed into a cup, took the cup of urine to the shrine of the Great Juju in his sponsor’s back yard, poured the urine into the receptacle, and stood back as the fires of the Juju consumed it, its eyes, fangs, and horns glowing bright green. Just then a deep, booming voice came from the shrine.

“Thomas,” it said, “you are a druggie and a drunk. Don't pick up, go to meetings, and ask for help.”

Thomas thanked the Juju, didn't pick up, went to a meeting, asked for help, and had his first day of abstinence. Thomas came to believe in the power, the mercy, and the wisdom of the Great Juju.

Sometime later Thomas had a sore elbow. He was thinking about taking some pain killers for it, but asked his sponsor instead. Roscoe told him to consult the Juju.

Thomas took a fresh cup of urine to the shrine and poured it into the receptacle. The flames consumed it and the Juju spoke: “Thomas,” it said, “you have tennis elbow. Ice your elbow, wear a pneumatic armband, and avoid heavy labor.”

Thomas did as the Juju commanded, and in two weeks the pain in his elbow was almost gone. Instead of praising the wisdom and power of the Juju, however, Thomas began to doubt. It was, after all, just an ugly statue in his sponsor’s back yard. What if this was all coincidence or a hoax? He half suspected that it was his sponsor’s voice he had heard when the Juju spoke. Thomas decided to test the Juju to see if it could be fooled. He mixed some tap water, a urine sample from his dog, and urine samples from his wife and daughter into the same cup. Finally, he masturbated into the concoction. He took the mixture to the shrine, poured it into the receptacle, and stood back as the flames of the Juju consumed it. Then the Juju spoke:

“Thomas,” spake the Juju, “your tap water is too hard—get a water softener. Your dog has worms—get some pills from the vet. Your daughter is into cocaine—send her to rehab. Your wife is pregnant and it isn't yours—get a lawyer. And if you don't stop jerking off, your tennis elbow will never get any better.”

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