Monday, May 14, 2012

Alex M. Pruteanu

A Brief, Weird History of John 3:16

Myron Sobiesky always hated sports. I can tell you that for sure. Him and I went to Taft Elementary and Emerson Middle in Erie, Pennsylvania. We also hung out with Cory Boland, but by the time Myron moved out to Spokane, Cory was doing time in Juvie for clipping some woman's Ford LTD from a Pick-n-Pay parking lot. I didn't hear from Myron until some weird letter came in my parents' name fifteen years later saying how he had found the Lord through some guy on TV, had been re-born, and saved. It also said to watch the first game of the '77 NBA finals to see how he was spreading the Lord's word. Portland played Philly that year, and I wasn't much into b-ball, but I watched and I saw him wearing a rainbow-colored afro wig and holding a sign up with "John 3:16." I had no idea what in hell that meant, but they kept showing him for some reason. After that, he'd pop up at any major sporting event that was televised. He was everywhere. Behind NFL goalposts, near Olympic medal stands, and he even got into the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, standing strategically with his sign behind key shots of plays or athletes. John 3:16. I never understood what that meant. I wasn't a big Bible reader. Actually, I've never read the Bible. All that I know is shit I've heard from people trying to get me to go to church. Anyway. Myron. He became famous for his stunts. A weird sort of pop culture star from the 70s and 80s. As far as I know, he had no other occupation. He did nothing else.

In 1980 he was jailed briefly in Moscow at the Olympics. I remember we were boycotting the Games that year because the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, wherever that is, but somehow Myron made it over there with his damned signs. John 3:16. Misha the Bear was the mascot, and there's a picture the Washington Post ran that summer with Myron standing behind that stupid bear in a T-shirt that said "God Thinks This Stinks." That must've been the start to some other weird phase, because after Moscow, Myron started setting off stink bombs. He got Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral, The Orange County Register, the Trinity Broadcasting Network, and some Christian bookstore.

"God Thinks This Stinks."

In '92 I was out in L.A. working in a toy factory in Reseda on Wilbur and Saticoy, where the center of the Northridge earthquake was later, when Myron got into a standoff with police at a Holiday Inn Express in Lawndale. It was all over the national news. He and a couple of his buddies forced themselves into a room and tried to kidnap a maid, who ran and locked herself into the bathroom. Myron started yelling some shit about the Rapture coming in six days. During the standoff, he threatened to shoot down airplanes taking off from nearby LAX and covered the hotel windows with John 3:16 placards.

That was it.

That was the end of it all. That fast.

Myron Sobiesky is currently serving three life sentences on kidnapping charges. He was eligible for parole in '02 but was denied. He was denied again in '05. Up until then, Myron ran a blog, but I never read any of it. What I know is, his mother died in a house fire in 1966, and shortly after that his sister was murdered in a botched robbery in Missoula. He got married in 1986 and was divorced four years later. I think he had a kid, but I'm not sure. Might've been a little girl.

By the way, I finally looked up chapter three, verse sixteen of the Gospel of John. It says: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

This is also printed on cups at the In-N-Out Burger.


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