Beyond her masterful thieving, Robber Chè was also well-known in and around the greater Rio Frio area for her weekly proselytizing in Franklin Park.
See, sometime in her youth, if she ever even had one, she had learned that some of the ancient Greek philosophers would simply philosophize in parks or promenades or other public places. Later in life, this knowledge would leave an overpowering impression on her, and when the time came for her to spread whatever stupid message she thought should be spread, she decided against the more traditional means of, say, writing books, making youtube videos or creating her own religion, and simply strolled over to the nearest park and began talking to no one in particular. The hope on her end, as far as anyone could tell, was that a jogger jogging by or a child coming down the slide or a teenager making his way to the skate park would overhear something she said and start debating with her.
That never happened, of course. Most kids and adults were afraid of this masked fiend and well-known master thief who was standing in the middle of the park cursing too much and talking about the virtues of being “unsuccessful” in life and the joys of being content with things that were “just alright.”
“The only people who ever hurt other people in mass were people who were just trying to be more successful. Wall Street, for instance. Look at those fuckers. What if Hitler or Pol Pot or Idi Amin had been less ambitious?” She would say things like that. And most people would ignore her and go through extreme measures to avoid making eye contact with her, even though Robber Chè was anything but aggressive.
A small minority found her “interesting” or “provocative” and they would listen to her proselytize from a safe distance, never actually giving her declarations much thought because those declarations were, quite simply, scary for most people. They went against everything the polite society and culture of early 21st century America held dear.
At one point, several months after she started her weekly philosophical dalliances in the park, a reporter from the local newspaper approached her about doing a story. Robber Chè called him a “dumb fuck” and insisted he wouldn’t understand her, Robber Chè’s, motivations and would misrepresent her and her ideas to the rest of the town, but in the end she decided to give the reporter several minutes of his time, because, in her words, “fuck it, why not?”
At one point in the interview, because the reporter was a consumer of contemporary alternative forms of spirituality, often referred to as “New Age” and heavily influenced by “the Orient,” talk turned to Robber Chè’s views about that sort of thing.
Robber Chè responded: “You have all these pasty-skinned, skinny, weak little white boys who shave their heads, give themselves some idiotic Asian name, play dress up with some robes and speak in their soft little voices about ‘enlightenment’ and ‘ego’ and’illusions’ and ‘love’ and ‘mindfulness’ and the ‘present moment’ and’consciousness’ and ‘the truth of who you are’ and so on and so forth with no end in sight.
“These motherfuckers all look and sound like child molesters and should give anyone with any sense a serious case of the heebie-jeebies. Instead, people flock to them, throwing their hard-earned, limited money at them for some vague promise of spiritual maturation. But liberation is free for anyone who isn’t a hungry ghost. And it’s already been achieved, only we’re all too stupid to realize it. There’s nothing to sell. So if someone is trying to sell something, they are deceiving you. Only a fuckhole of a fool would pay for something that doesn’t exist. It’s like buying unicorns.
“There is no illusion, no hypnosis beyond that of language itself. All of this bullshit, this talk of so-called enlightenment, of mindfulness, of love, the present fucking moment–it’s all nonsense. It doesn’t mean a lick of anything and doesn’t help anyone learn to live life without going mad. In fact, it just creates more pain, more suffering through confusion. All this talk, all this language is good for only that: confusion. And confusion is the source of all the scourges of the human mind.
“Enlightenment is a joke. It’s a fool’s game. It was created for the simple fact that people could realize that it was a lie. Realizing enlightenment is a joke is enlightenment. If you want enlightenment, go smell a flower. Go pray to your God under the cherry blossoms while you still can. Make love to someone beautiful or ugly, but do it with all your might. Murder some pussy. Your own or someone else’s–with their permission of course. Take your kid to the park and smile. Play a game of monopoly. Do a picnic, or a barbecue. Invite some friends over to watch a football game. Build a snowman. Jump on a trampoline. Do whatever it is that makes you forget yourself and makes you laugh–but really laugh, something that makes you laugh with the entirety of your being, because when you laugh with your whole being, the universe laughs with you. And stop pretending that there is anything more to the world than this.
“Money, fame, success, it impedes the flow of life. When’s the last time you saw Dick Cheney smile in a way that didn’t come across as forced and or perverse? When’s the last time Obama could literally just sit down and relax, take a load off without thinking of his next move, or of an enemy’s next move? When’s the last time Ben Bernake was capable of simply enjoying being in the presence of another human being, without wondering what he could get out of them, without wondering what that person could offer him? When’s the last time a famous athlete smiled after a loss, simply because he enjoyed playing a game? When’s the last time a famous musician had fun at a party without drugs? Why is Sean Penn such a dick?
“We look up to these kinds of people, because the things we want are precisely the things that make us miserable. And worst of all are those ‘Christians’ (editor’s note: air quoted) who perpetuate the myth of the ‘abundance gospel.’ Jesus was a poor fellow and was beautiful and righteous because of it. How one can spin his words in such a way is at once awe-inspiring and emetic.”
“And what, exactly, are you trying to convince people to do?” asked the journalist.
“I don’t want to convince them of anything. I’m just as dumb and uncouth as the next person. I just want someone to discuss things with. Bounce ideas off of. Learn from.”
When the article ran in the paper the next day, the headline stated, “Park ‘Prophet’ demands others to murder some p***sy” sub-headline ran, thus: “criticizes the most successful among us.” Among various dubious claims, the story called Robber Chè a foul-mouthed communist, a cynic, a misanthrope who opposed literacy, an “anti-American hate-monger” and took cheap shots at her name (Robber), profession (Robber) and appearance (masked). The story also took thinly veiled shots at Robber Chè’s gender, presumably because the author didn’t realize Robber Che was a woman. They article remarked on “his” “thin, alto, lispy voice” and the “fragile posture” of “his” “deceptively feminine frame.”
Quotes from Robber Chè were typically paraphrased and included the following:
“Only a fool would pay a fee to pursue spiritual growth.”
“White spiritual leaders are always weak and deceitful and fond of pederasty… and white.”
“Jesus wants everyone to be poor and suffer.”
“The rich are evil.”
“Wearing robes is for white people who need tans.”