My wife’s having an affair with another man. His name is Jesus. I’d kick His Ass, only He’s either God or dead, so either way I’d lose. You can’t beat God, and you can’t kill death. She’s really shameless about it too. She doesn’t try to hide it from me; she’s even got His Picture on our bedroom wall–in 3-D, no less. Besides, the guy’s got more women who want to marry him than Julian Assange.
An hour ago I confronted her about it. I said, “I feel as if you have two different husbands–me and Jesus. So why can’t I have two different wives?”
She pointed at my chest and said, “You have Jesus in your heart.”
In other words, she used an adulterer’s cunning to disarm me–Christian aikido in action.
“I see,” I said. “So you mean Jesus and I are actually the same guy.”
After that she went to the church to meet Him, even though it was only five o’clock in the morning. I let her go, knowing the situation is hopeless.
No wonder she speaks in tongues; she wants to be able to provide Him with Divine Pleasure. He must be really Good. How’s a mortal guy like me supposed to compete with such a Bearded Wonder? In fact, they’re probably shagging right now.
She claims to love him for his shagacity, his shaggadoccio, and she expects me to be shagnanimous about it. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is this not grounds for divorce, making the beast with two backs with a deceased deity? Please understand that I’m not tormented so much by her deceit (especially since she’s so open about it) as I am by her blissful indifference to my own body’s neglected needs, unless they’re just strong biological wants. I now know how hard it is to compete with the charismatic captain of Creation, the author of love, the man who cared enough about our miserable, ungrateful, stupider-than-shit species to let us nail the poor son of a bitch to a cross he’d designed himself back as a kid in wood shop, before he decided to become a carpenter. He used the prototype to crucify a mouse before modifying it so that it resembled the mousetrap of today we all know and love.
The funny thing is, she thinks everything is fine. She said to me, “You’ve changed,” meaning in a good way. Maybe she thinks it’s progress to be an emasculated cuckold, the laughing stock of the neighborhood and the punchline of the minister’s sermon that gets the congregation to double over in stained glass window-shattering guffaws powerful enough to make Ella Fitzgerald sound like Marcel Marceau. Maybe she thinks it’s fair that I should have to work my ass off for years on a split shift, until I get purple shadows under my eyes that make me look like a raccoon, all so she can pay her ten-percent tithe to the church and deny me my annual, Persephone-style trip back home (though it’s only for a month, and is only a real vacation when she doesn’t join me–for her too, I imagine, even though Christ can fly for free thanks to his love-powered crucifix drawn by eight tiny angels).
Maybe, as Joseph Conrad wrote in “Heart of Darkness,” “We live as we dream, alone,” and her pure love for me and my unrequited lust are happening in two separate compartments, disconnected coffins of living flesh, brains imprisoned in their bony globes.
The inadequacy built into the human heart, Cupid’s crappy aim and different kinds of arrows guaranteeing consistent incompatibility when it comes to ever-so-special relationships like the kinds plunked on a pedestal for yesterday’s asinine chocolate- and flower-hawking holiday, are almost enough to convince me that there is no God, especially since certain people can believe in Him so strongly that they become literally out of touch with the people they’re supposed to be closest to.
But fortunately for those of you who are either saddled or burdened with, or else shackled to, faith (or, as my wife would say, liberated by it), I’m just pessimistic and cynical enough to believe that there might be one evil deity–if not an assortment in accordance with the Greeks’ idea (poor Greece!)–whose sole reason for being is to make life hell for his or her creations, to torment and torture us throughout our lives, and, just in case we get too many ideas about trying to escape, to create a whole breed of mendacious mortals whose calling is to make death seem scary and undesirable so we stick it out till the bitter end, despite the unmitigated shittiness of it all.
As Gloucester says in “King Lear,” shortly after having his eyes plucked out by Oswald and Regan, “As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport.”
Or to quote the second part of the title of a bestselling book by the late Christopher Hitchens, at least for some of us (though I daresay not all), “Religion poisons everything.”
I hope you enjoyed Valentine’s Day as much as I didn’t.