Thursday, November 06, 2003


I first saw God high up in a glitzy vending machine not far from the main intersection down in one of Osaka's entertainment districts, but thought little of it since I was on my way from the office to greater pleasures at the time. A day or two later though, when in a more sober moment I remembered my vision, I thought: hey how cool would that be, to have God on my dashboard, desk, bookshelf, wherever! I could have more than one; I could have as many Gods as I wanted, at very little cost!

So one day not long after, when I was in that neighborhood again I walked up to that glitzy machine on that sleazy corner, raised my hand with the money ready, prepared to pay the price. But the space where God had been was empty; it appeared that God was being replaced. Deep, oh deep, was my disappointment. I sought God in other, more appropriately located vending machines, both sleazy and glitzy; I even checked out machines in high-class areas, near temples, shrines, all the convenience stores, supermarkets, gourmet marts, you name it, but God was gone, and could not be found. God had apparently been discontinued.

You know what they say, that God comes to you when you least expect it, just like on that night in the entertainment district. And sure enough, the next time I found God I least expected it, too. Having all but given up on my quest, one rainy night as I wandered past a crossroads in the middle of nowhere, out of sheer force of God-seeking habit I glanced up to check out a weather-beaten discount vending machine that was practically falling into the road. And there in the sputtering neon light, like a vision from a low-budget heaven, was God! At a discount! It was clear that God was being remaindered, and would soon no longer be available.

I didn't fall to my knees or anything, I just put in my hundred yen coin and pushed the button and God came out, hot, with change. But then the red light came on, indicating that there was no more God. This was it: I had gotten the last one, probably anywhere. Still, I had found God, hot, and for less than a hundred yen. God had never made it out of Osaka, let alone Japan. Might have been a hit in America.

My God sits now in dented humility on the shelf above my desk at home, unopened, the lamp light gleaming dully off the tall bronze letters. Think of it: the very last God. Might be black, might be white, may be sweet, maybe not; I don't care, I rarely drink coffee anymore, and never from a can. I just wanted it for the name.


The Product.

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