I’ve admittedly moved around a lot and live in many places around the country. In each of the places I have made once-in-a-lifetime friends, many of whom I have only occasionally been able to spend time with since moving. I’ve been thinking, the next time I move to some place new, I should do something special to show my friends that they will be in my thoughts and give them something to remember me by.
Maybe a sensible thing to do would be to take them out for nice dinner somewhere, with great food and a little wine. I could then explain to them that their food simply is me. I’ll say that I am giving myself to them in the form of edible goodness, that the food is in fact my body. I am giving my body to them in the form veal parmigiana and breaded tilapia. As they eat it, it will become different parts of my body. I’ll then explain to them that these delicacies can become me anytime they like, and that they should eat my flesh in this way, from time to time, to remember what a good friend I am. Perhaps they can ritualistically turn their food into me at their restaurant of choice, or hold Jim Wilson cookouts, and see who can make my flesh the most delicious. What could be a better way to expressing your affection and solidarity with a person than to eat them?
Of course, when I take them out I’ll mention that the wine they are drinking is my blood and they can also take vampiric delight in drinking my blood anytime too. I will of course have to ensure them that I have no blood-born illnesses, but that my blood alcohol content will be high enough that someone else will have to drive me home. Of course after a few swigs I will never have tasted better.
This could be the start of a new trend. Friends all over the country could turn themselves into each other’s food in order to remember them. “Are you guys gonna talk to Bob on skype?” “Better, were gonna eat him over at Joe’s.” “Awesome, I’ll bring his blood for us to drink!!” In all this cannibalistic fun though, be careful. Friends don’t let friends eat strangers. After all, who wants to be stuck in the gut of some big oaf they don’t even know, between last night’s jello pudding and this morning’s granola? Which reminds me, I’ll have to tell my friends to eat me as much as they like, but goodness knows, don’t feed me to your kids or your pets.
Perhaps ritualistic eating of the flesh of old friends isn’t for everyone. Some might say it sounds really bizarre, or tribal or even pagan, but what do they know? All I know is that it was good enough for Jesus!! The world’s largest organization of his followers insists that they are literally eating their savior when they perform communion. Strangely for me, when I took Communion, the bread and wine certainly did not taste human. Maybe Jesus was a guy of unique taste. At the same time, I was always concerned about which of Jesus’ body parts I was getting. None of them seemed to have crucifixion wounds, so I’ll assume I got mostly elbows and stomach parts. Why not?? Hopefully, none of those crucifixion nails put me or the countless other blood drinkers at risk of tetanus.
Of course the real origins of the ritual are mysterious. Though Matthew’s gospel follows Mark’s pretty closely, Luke’s differs enough that some scholars question whether it came form the same source. Though John’s gospel’s presentation of the last supper includes a nice foot bath scene and some teachings, it neglects to mention Jesus claiming to be food or requesting that people eat him. Some scholars have noted that this ritual violates a Jewish prohibition against eating blood and have suggested it may be Pagan in origins. As such comparisons of communion and various rituals in Hellenistic mystery religions have been made. Some suggest the Cult of Dioceses influenced the development of this ritual, while other scholars argue that it is at least in part related the Jewish Seder.
Many believers take Communion for granted or don’t give it a second look. I find it a strangely interesting idea, even if it makes my fellow non-believers question the sanity of this Jesus character or the veracity of biblical accounts. Needless to say, next time I move, my last supper will be hard to beat.