Bible Salesman

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Bible Salesman[1]
Somewhere Out There
Original Broadcast Date
February 11, 1996
Joe Frank
Absurd Monologue, Narrative Monologue, 54 minutes
Preceded by: Obsessions
Followed by: Pledge Drive, 1996-02-12

A lot of people refer to other people as 'larger than life'.

Bible Salesman is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series Somewhere Out There. It was originally broadcast on February 11, 1996.


Joe's annoyed when people are referred to as 'larger than life', imagines how he can be larger than life, slangs some famous people who were characterized as larger than life.

4:00: Joe tells of when he was a bible salesman. His bibles were defective - the manufacturer substituted random content for the missing parts, including porn.

9:30: Staying in a motel at night, Joe reflects on his relationship with god.

11:30: Joe tells of his mother's illness, that he had to put her in a convalescent home, that he sold bibles to pay for her care. He remembers that his mother was a Communist who objected to religion. When Joe took an interest in Christianity when he was a boy, she punished him. Joe's father, trying to avoid appearing before the House unamerican activities committee (HUAC) shot himself in the head. He survived and named all sorts of people as Communists to HUAC, many of them innocent. His mother moved out, taking Joe.

16:50: Joe tells of his encounters with women on the road.

18:10: Joe comes upon a convent in Montana. Because it had run out of money the nuns prostitute themselves to keep it running. Joe pimps for them, maims and kills Johns who didn't pay.

20:10: Joe also deals drugs. His partner, Johnny, snorted an ounce of cocaine he was supposed to sell, didn't have the money to pay off Ramon, their supplier. Joe has him dig his own grave then kills him.[1]

27:40: Joe and the nuns made enough money not only to save the convent but to expand services.

28:00: Now Joe wanders the country, not selling anything.

29:10: 'I was on a raft, tied to a stake, drifting down the river...' Joe gives an account of surreal trip down the river; he sees hippos both in the river and sunning themselves on the shore, cutting a birthday cake made of tires. He sees kids hitting a piñata that looks like an old woman. He sees a newlywed couple coming out of a church; their car drives onto the sidewalk, running people over. A crowd stops the car, beats them, hangs them from lampposts. Then they all laugh about it, bury the people they killed. He sees Jesus on waterskis, pulled by a fat man in a rowboat. Joe says he told this dream to his analyst. Joe walks into her closet, finds stairs that take him to the catacombs beneath Rome. He sees Jesus, still on his waterskis.

37:40: Joe must find peace, speculates on odd places where he could find it.

44:00: 'Is it better not to have happiness and to be in a state of desperately wanting happiness or to be in a state of not-caring that you're not happy...' - Joe discusses.

45:30: 'The unexamined life is not worth living.' - Joe discusses the author of this claim (wrongly).

47:30: Joe tells of when he was an actor, played Jesus in tableaux vivantes of the crucifixion. Although popular, he walked away from it, went to a local brothel, hired 2 girls, played board games, etc. The girls reminded of the nuns at the convent.

Legacy Synopsis

Being larger than life. Selling adulterated bibles door to door. Hiding religion from an atheist, Marxist mother and a father who cooperates with HUAC. Pimping for nuns. Dealing with an altar boy who stiffed Joe on a drug sale. Wondering the countryside living in the moment. Being tied to a stake on a raft drifting down a river in a surrealist jungle. An elderly woman as a pinata, a wedding party that ends in bloodshed. Unquenchable crying in a therapist's office. Finding the Roman catacombs and meeting Jesus in water skis. The search for enlightenment. Beginning the journey to the sacred in a restaurant where a waitress is distracted by Micheal Bolton. Is it better to be resent being unhappy or to not care. Does nature abhor a vacuum. The unexamined life. Playing Christ in a tableau vivant production.


Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "[C]reated in collaboration with Arthur Miller and David Rapkin. This program was edited and mixed by Theo Mondle; music production by Bob Carlson; special thanks to Jennifer Ferro and Esmé Gregson."


  1. Johnny mentions that they can sell cocaine at the Childe Harold, which was a famous tavern in DC. In Why I Don't Love You Anymore Joe tells the story of Mike Fremuth and him picking up a girl at the Childe Harold. Mike Fremuth eulogized his friend Jim in Goodbye.