The Right Reverend Doctor Jackie Butkes runs the Praise Our Redeemer King Youth Kamp and Indoctrination Depot affectionately referred to by its clients and campers by its acronym PORKY KID. Located in Ft. Myers, Florida “Porky Kid” promises to bring your chubby youngster closer to God, and closer to the weight of a non-porcine species. During Reverend Dr. Butkes’ annual recruiting tour of New England I had the opportunity to interview him with an eye toward finding out the secret to the success of his camp. His only stipulation was no microphones and no notes. So naturally I recorded it.
Hump: Reverend, I understand that your camp guarantees significant weight loss through a personal relationship with Jesus. How exactly how do you accomplish that?
Rev. B: Find Jesus!
Hump: Uh, sorry Reverend, I’m not in the market for proselytizing and I’m not sure how that’s relevant to…
Rev B: No, No…that’s how we do it. We have the kids find Jesus!
Hump: So, sort of a combination of New Testament Bible study and intensive reading of Biblical criticism, the transcripts from the Jesus Seminar, and various perspectives of the Church’s founding fathers to give the children the sense that the power of the Lord will help sustain them through their weight loss crusade?
Rev. B: No. One of our counselors dresses in a beard, sandals and a diaper and hides somewhere on our camp grounds. We tell the kids to go find Jesus or they get no food that day.
Hump: That’s pretty Machiavellian. You’d think parents would be a little disturbed by that technique.
Rev B: Nah. The kids don’t tell their parents. We tell ‘em if they tell that Jesus won’t love them, that God will send a pair of bears to tear them apart, and that their parents will die and go directly to Hell.
Hump: Seems a little harsh, coercive, and even abusive.
Rev B: Hey, we guarantee the fat kids will lose weight. This works. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Jesus said that.
Hump: No he didn’t. But never mind. Is that the whole weight loss program--.hide and seek with a fake Jesus?
Rev B: Not hardly! One of our most effective methods is playing “Wander the Desert Or You Get No Dessert.” That’s where we drive the kids out into the middle of our ten square mile compound blind folded. Then we take off the blind folds and tell them to find their way back to camp.
Hump: With a counselor and water I assume.
Rev B: Did Jesus have a counselor and water with him when he wandered the desert for 40 days and 40 nights? I don’t dang-diddly-doo think so!
Hump: But it’s Ft. Myers Florida. The average day time temperature in July and August is like 90 degrees with 90 % humidity!
Rev B: That’s right. We like to give our campers a taste of the Holy Land along with a relationship with Jesus.
Hump: But it’s dangerous; kids could die out there!
Rev B: And they have. It was God’s will. We tell their parents that they were Raptured ahead of everyone else because Jesus was so impressed with their sleek new body.
Hump: And the parents believe that???
Rev B: Of course they do, they’re Christians. Believing is what we do. Besides, what’s better ... having a slim but constantly hungry and whining kid who you know is just gonna get fat again; or having a kid in great shape playing dodge ball with the Lord and hobnobbing with the angels? Plus, the significantly reduced food expense seems to console them.
Hump: Yeah. Uh ... well, one last question. What about this promise of a closer relationship with Jesus? Nothing I’ve heard so far suggests you do much to promote that.
Rev B: That’s ‘cause you haven’t been to our camp after lights out, and listened to the kids in their individual “Tomb of Jesus” bunk rooms. I doubt you’d have to wait more than five minutes before you’d hear the kids praying to God and whimpering for His divine intervention. In fact, talking in tongues is not uncommon among our campers.
Hump: I imagine food and water deprivation, mental and physical abuse, and being enclosed in a one person cave each night might be the predominant factor.
Rev B: Oh ye of little faith! Did not Jesus say: “Suffer the little fat ones to suffer -- for verily it is better to look good than to feel good.”
Hump: No, he didn’t. Actually the last phrase of that sentence was said by a Billy Crystal character on Saturday Night Live about 20 years ago.
Rev B: Whatever.
Hump: Frankly, Reverend, I think what you’re doing is patently deceptive, cruel, brutal, primitive and barbaric!