Dear Larry Van Pelt

Dear Larry Van Pelt,

Sometimes you don't get famous the way you thought you would.

The Reverend Sylvester Graham set out to reduce sexual appetites, curb lustful passions, and generally cock-block whenever possible, and ended up inventing the Graham cracker along the way- arguably the most sensual of all the sugared crackers.

Adolf Hitler was sure he would be remembered forever as a German patriot and a spirited accordion player.

Most people are completely unaware that Mein Kampf was not the original title of Hitler's 1924 manifesto.

You had a dream of reminding people that Jesus is always with them, even during normal, everyday work activities, and instead you've drilled into the side of  Laugh Mountain and struck a rich, thick vein of comedic gold. But just like Graham crackers and Corn Flakes, the unintended results were a lot better than the original idea.

Legend has it that God came to you in a dream one night back in the early nineties, shortly after the initial Desert Storm invasion. Apparently aroused by America's powerful assertion of military superiority in the region, and sporting a half-chub that made its presence felt in the room even through two thick layers of spotless white robe, God consecrated your life to a sacred task. The Almighty instructed you to draw pictures of Caucasian, Christian Americans going about their ordinary, everyday, gender-stereotypical lives, with Jesus at their side.

Standing in the presence of God, you were both awed and humbled by the task Jehovah had assigned to you, but nevertheless found the courage to point out that you were really bad at drawing; even stick people and square houses with a sun in the background were beyond your artistic capabilities. In an incredibly embarrassing, almost step-by-step repeat of some of God's more infamous earlier gaffs, The All-Knowing had once again accidentally picked the wrong man for the job. God closed his eyes and reflected on the flak he had gotten for some of his past missteps. His choice of the stuttering Moses as spokesman for the Israelites. His selection of 90-year-old Sarah for a high-risk, late-life pregnancy. His insistence on casting Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab in the 1956 film adaptation of Moby Dick. God stared at the ceiling for a moment and after a few deep breaths, let out a gentle sigh. Then He did the only thing He could do- save face. "Well then this assignment will probably take like... ten years," The Rock of Ages finally said.

Having given God fair warning, you dedicated the next ten years of your life to learning how to draw. Gradually your stick people put on weight, your houses fell into the third dimension, and your suns in the background stopped looking so retarded. By the tenth year, you were ready to start drawing Jesus pictures, and giving hope and reassurance to millions of people who felt alone and completely without an invisible friend while they were at work or going to the gym.

The results were a little shaky at first.

This welder's hand for example, looks like a mutated twiglet, or the malformed appendage of a destitute crack baby. 

But overall, the results were pretty impressive. God winced a couple of times, but mostly was just glad that you hadn't made Him pay for his original casting error anymore than was necessary. You started posting the sacred sketches online, and people started drawing inspiration and peace from them. But people also drew other things from them... and also drew things on them.

Then someone did this-

And a new golden age of hilarious Jesus pictures was born. It's nothing to be ashamed of. You've succeeded beyond your wildest dreams, and brought joy into the lives of millions... just not in the way you thought you would.

I'm not sure who originally stumbled across your website way back when and realized its true potential, but I'd like to shake their hand. People have made a lot of variations on your different pictures over the years, but the ones I like the best are similar to the now legendary "Give him gold grillz" meme. The creator of GHGG understands subtlety. The joke here isn't that Jesus is lewd instead of pure, or evil instead of good, or dumb instead of all-knowing. That would be too easy. GHGG's Jesus is just kind of... irresponsible; like an enthusiastic fifteen-year-old who's always telling you how awesome it would be if such-and-such blew up. 

I enjoyed GHGG so much, I decided to go to your original site and take a crack at making one myself. The results were... titillating. In fact, the experience was so enjoyable, I quickly became an addict. Two days and and four pots of coffee later, I realized I had had my way with all of your drawings, and there was nothing left to satirize.

Please keep making these Jesus drawings. Adding funny captions to your Jesus pictures has given me hope when things felt hopeless, it's lifted my spirits when everything around me seemed gloomy and full of despair, it's been like a lighthouse for me, at a time when I felt like I was directionless, being tossed and turned by troubled waters. In short, making funny captions for your Jesus pictures has done far more for me than the real Jesus ever did. But maybe that's why they say that the Lord works in mysterious ways. 

Just look at what heights your sincere, heart-felt, religious drawings have inspired me to-

Sebastian Braff


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