Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Who Could Ask For Anything More
Place: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Burlesque returned to Chattanooga briefly in the early ‘70s. An old theatre that had been home to burlesque shows decades earlier was renovated and once again, women stripped to live music and men in baggy pants told jokes so old they had hair on them.
It was obvious to everyone that the theatre was more about nostalgia than sex, especially considering that just a few blocks away there was an adult book store with peep shows. Well, it was obvious to everyone, but the Jesus Freaks who marched outside the theatre, holding protest signs and railing against the evils of naked flesh.
The Jesus Freaks were not part of a church, but were part of a Christian cult that was actively recruiting disillusioned hippies in Chattanooga. I thought it was quite silly of them to pick on good old-fashioned burlesque, but then the theatre needed all the publicity it could get.
I was downtown one afternoon with a group of friends. We were on our way to a popular pizza joint and had to cross the street by the burlesque theatre. As we approached the theatre and the protesting Jesus Freaks, I had a sudden inspiration.
Timing was crucial. I had to be able to execute my plan then, make a quick getaway. My friends and I reached the corner and waited for the light to change.
When the light turned yellow, I turned to Jesus Freaks and shouted, “Hey!”
The Jesus Freaks stopped shouting and turned their attention to me.
“I may not have Jesus,” I said, “and I may not have salvation, but…” Then I began to dance, and while I danced, I sang, “I got rhythm. I got music. I got my God. Who could ask anything more? Who…could ask…for…anything…MOOORE!”
I had never seen so many people’s mouths drop at the same time. While I sang, the Jesus Freaks were speechless, but as soon as I finished, they began to shout, “You’re going to hell! You’re going to burn for all eternity! You are full of sin!” And so on.
By this time, my friends were already half way across the street and I hurried after them before the light changed again. I could still hear the Jesus Freaks damning me when I reached the other side. Who could ask for anything more?