Maren Grossman

In the Biopic of My Life, the Role of Kirk Cameron Will Be Played by
Jesus, With Apologies to Them Both


I don't remember what present I brought with me to the party.
Whatever it was, it was probably out of step with the other gifts. I was
going to be the girl who still played with dolls at thirteen, and that sort
of thing begins to show long before it happens.

It was my first slumber party and I was excited, but I also felt my
isolation. I was alone in a sea of sleeping bags and was confused by
chatter from older girls I didn't quite understand. Why would anyone
want to put underwear in the freezer?

I'd felt this confusion before. Down the hall, my friend's older sister had
made her bedroom into a gallery of Kirk Cameron portraiture. His face
smiled down at us, eyes twinkling with a sort of forced intimacy I found
unsettling. Apparently, Kirk shared a secret with all of us, but I had no
idea what it could be.

For my fourteenth birthday, some years later, I asked for, and was
given, a print of smiling Jesus. For years he looked down at me from the
wall above my bed, eyes twinkling.

One day I noticed that behind smiling Jesus was a - something. There
was form behind him that I couldn't identify. A knapsack perhaps? A
fold in the cloth of his tunic?

This unknown something loomed in my awareness until I couldn't stand
it anymore and finally took down the picture. 

It still troubles me, this unidentified something in my picture of Jesus.
Perhaps it shouldn't. After all, as the man says, if you think you
understand God, it probably isn't Him.


I remember staring out the window of the house on 5th Road and
listening to the same birdsong I hear this morning, as I stare out another
window, in another state, with a cup of coffee on my lap.

I hear the same birdsong and I remember the creek on the other side of
the chain link fence where we weren't allowed to go even though you
could see it from the windows of the house. 

I remember the sound of the water on quiet days, and how it was the
same sound I heard when I went hiking by a creek with the dog a month

I sip my coffee and hear the tick of the kitchen clock in the quiet house
and seem to hear the same tick that I remember from another kitchen
thirty three years ago. 

I wonder briefly if it's the same bird, the same creek, the same clock,
and if I've somehow stumbled into some auditory stream of eternity.

They say that the oceans are filling up with plastic. Not just the floating
islands of trash that are so horrible to read about, but the creatures
themselves. Plastic fish, and oysters full of polyester fibres making
pearls from microbeads.

I remember I used to love clam chowder and now I'm scared to eat it.

I don't want to become plastic myself you see, sieved out at the end
when the real is sifted from the artificial, when the eternal is lifted up,
and the temporal left behind like so much Kirk Cameron. 


It's a terrible thing to do - to make a symbol out of another person.

It happened that way to my friend once.

Her mother made her into a symbol and then rented out her room.

Only that was a dream I had last September,

And that's what we all do in dreams whether we mean to or not.

I don't mean rent out other people's bedrooms,

But make things into symbols and move them around.

It's how we cope with mystery, and there's certainly more mystery
about than I can handle - God, and man, and growing...pains.

And there it is again - the stubborn resolution of my mind to use Kirk
Cameron to make sense of things.

Which is strange - because I'm never going to understand him either.