John Wayne Gacy, I am just like him.
July 17, 2010 3 Comments
One of my favourite artists ever is Sufjan Stevens because he is simply brilliant and amazing. I am pretty sure he is a Christian as well. Mr Steven’s voice may not be the strongest out there, but his lilting voice makes the words so fluent and personal. Moreover, one of my favourite songs by him is “John Wayne Gacy Jr” from the album, Illinoise. There is this one line that always breaks my heart when I hear it, the line goes:
“And in my best behavior
I am really just like him
Look beneath the floorboards
For the secrets I have hid”
“John Wayne Gacy Jr” by Sufjan Stevens.
The context to the song is Stevens is singing about the life of John Wayne Gacy. Gacy was a convicted serial killer. In the normal rounds of life, he was a popular clown called “Pogo the Clown”. He would often dress up for parties for young children around his apartment block that he lived around. The children loved him as he would prance around, filling them with joy. Yet, when he was arrested the police found 26 children in a small crawl space underneath his home, and a few more around his property and not to mention all the bodies found in the river near his house.
John Wayne Gacy not only killed all these young men and boys, he also raped them as well, disposing their bodies after the deed was done. Perhaps he learnt from a young age when he was molested at age nine by a family friend. Maybe it was his alcoholic father, he would come every night and try to discipline his children, while trying to maintain his balance. His unathletic frame was derided by his father, he was called “stupid” and a “sissy”. Though he tried so hard to please his father, it always seemed fruitless, all he got was a swing of the leather belt. That was all he remembered of his father.
What is underneath our floorboards?
Stevens touches a raw nerve in this song. As Christians, we are keenly aware of our own sinfulness. While we may not kill or rape anyone in our lifetimes, how much worse is it if our ignorance or our pride turns one away from God? While we may not be John Wayne Gacy, we can so easily be Gacy Senior. What we do with our lives and how we live it has such a profound impact on other people’s lives. For example, we may ignore someone because we were busy that night, and that same night, the person committed suicide. We know that blood was on our hands because we had thought that my school work was more important than doing God’s work.
By the same token, we could be that family friend. What we watch on tv, what we view on the internet, what magazines we read and what clothes we wear. We could be introducing people to what is not appropriate to people of a certain age, or even in a lifetime. What I don’t realise is what a huge influence I have, people look up to me believe it or not. Someone mentioned to me, that they heard that it’s good that they should have someone mature in their faith to guide them. I liked how I had made this illusion to other people that i am somewhat mature in my faith, when I don’t consider myself to be anything more than a toddler in Christ.
Even in our blogging influence, we have people coming to read us every day. Surely, you could stop complaining about someone who hurt you and talk about something positive for a change. Why do we have to make other people wrong all the time?
If we were to open up what is hidden underneath our lives, would we do it? If we forgot to put on our spiritual makeup one day would people recognize us? if we decided to show our scars and hurts would people still treat us the same? I am the first to admit I am no better than John Wayne Gacy. I have spoken too many hurtful words. Or perhaps, did not any words at all. If I aim to do nothing to help society, all I’m doing is help create another generation of John Wayne Gacys in the world. I may not be John Wayne Gacy but I would be there helping him dig the holes to try to hide all the wrong he had done.
Just look beneath the floorboards of my life.
PS. Read more about John Wayne Gacy on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wayne_Gacy It’s a truly sad story.