Yoga Driving Tips

Remember, a relaxed driver is a safe driver.  And the best way to relax is to take a deep breath and close your eyes.  Put on some New Age music if you have any, preferably Ravi Shankar on the sitar or George Winston if that’s more your bag, something you can easily drift off to.

In order to fill your lungs to their maximum capacity, push your abdomen out as far as you can while inhaling slowly and deeply through your nose.  Make sure to undo your seat belt so your diaphragm muscle can descend and your chest cavity takes in as much air is it can hold.

Your feet are crying out to be liberated.  Can you hear them?  That’s good.  That means you’re attuned to the music of the spheres.  Now your toes can finally feel the gas and brake pedals underfoot.

It’s time to stretch your arms and legs as far as they can go.  Feel the blood tingling all the way up and down the length of your body?

Let go of everything that’s been burdening you for the past few days, weeks–even your whole life.  Let go of your fears about the future and the steering wheel.

Try not to get attached to the squeal of tires against the pavement or the screech of other drivers’ worn-out brake pads.  Don’t feel you have to judge other motorists swearing their heads off at you.  Let them work out their own unresolved issues themselves.

Soon you will feel oneness with them.

Just live for the moment, knowing it can’t last long.

Who knows?  You may never get another chance to be present again.

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New Meanings For Familiar Terms

(Along With A Few Coinages)

spontaneous combustion:  what the U.S. Air Force calls a napalm strike

friendly fire:  the smiley faces made by a happy flamethrower

collateral damage:  the thing your car insurance policy doesn’t cover

love triangle:  the harmonious relationship held by Wall Street, the Democrats, and the Republicans

cancer-patient (adj.):  how you have to be if you live in an Asian mega-city with poisonous air conditions

air conditioner:  coal plant

baby-shitter:  someone who gives birth by way of excretion

car pool:  a terrific bathing experience for your precious automobile

face book:  a soldier’s souvenir collection of his victim’s visages

kaputalism:  what happens when the whole global system of trade and commerce suddenly collapses due to accumulated ecological damage, climate-related pressures, prolonged economic inequality, and a perennially sustained assault on other species

blood bank:  the nickname arms contractors give to war

microsoft word:  a baby’s whisper

paper jam:  a delicacy enjoyed by beavers and termites

marketing department:  the section in Walmart where you buy your groceries

plastic surgeon:  a doctor of the future

time machine:  a mobile phone

conspicuous consumption:  cannibalism

police force:  a euphemism for “police brutality”

diorama:  a colorful way of saying “mass extinction”

international relationship:  the love boat

divine intervention:  the end result of government surveillance

exitainment:  the feeling you get when you realize the movie you’re watching sucks

celepretty (adj):  (rhymes with “celebrity”) attractive in an artificial way that makes people want to give you an award

How to Prevent Another Huge War in the Middle East

Have you seen the most recent international edition of Time Magazine?  The cover depicts a map of the Middle East with a white hole burned in the middle whose shape matches exactly that of a certain troubled country that’s been in the news for, oh, the past thirty years or so.  The bold title proclaims:  THE END OF IRAQ.  No question mark necessary; it’s a done deal.

Although I’m averse to my belligerent country ramping up its troops for yet another knock-down, drag-out match with a nation that’s no doubt had its full of us (“Ahem, you’ve been very nice guests, but I fear you’ve worn out your welcome.  By the way, thanks ever so much for Abu Ghraib.  Awfully decent of you.”  Don’t ask me why my caricature of a beleaguered Iraqi citizen sounds more like a stereotypical upper class Englishman; as an American, I’m not supposed to know anything about geography–as far as I’m concerned, Iraq and England are the same place–and if you think that sounds bone-ignorant, don’t forget that Hamlet addresses his uncle Claudius as his mother, and besides, Iraq used to be a British colony before it became an American “protectorate.”  Or should that be prostate exam?), this ISIS gang sounds like a truly scary bunch that may be difficult to subdue with boxes of Crackerjack candy-coated popcorn, even with the free gift at the sticky bottom.

The Time article said the US spent a trillion dollars on the second Gulf War (while Noam Chomsky insists it was four trillion; either one of the numbers is a euphemism or the other is hyperbole; regardless of which figure is true, what a great investment!).  I’m woefully under-read on the conflict, and the sidebars in the piece helped me bone up on just how enormously complicated it is.  I’m already hungover enough from yesterday’s solitary onslaught of beer and margaritas not to give myself another headache by trying to paraphrase it for you.  Suffice it to say that the whole ball of wax is a can of worms with a monkey on its back and the monkey has an albatross around its neck, the plucky little fellow having escaped from a barrel of monkeys that was not enough fun for his taste.

Despite the grim fact that unless the US reinstates the draft (which I’m not keen on as I don’t want my nephews to come home in oversized flag-draped shoeboxes the cameras at CNN and Fixed News are too shy to record), the fighting will have to be done by the same folks who are already shat on by a system that doesn’t care about them, and will care even less if they manage to come home, and that the people of Iraq need another US invasion like a reanimated Saddam Hussein, I have to admit that ISIS is frightening.  I don’t know how I’d want to handle them if I were living in Iraq myself.  (Say, there’s an idea!  Why doesn’t somebody in the news media ask the people in Iraq what they want?  Not only would that be novel, but democratic!)

Another article I read on the website truthout.com (or perhaps dot-org) says that ISIS is so extreme, they even got kicked out of Al Qaeda.  “I’m sorry, but flying jets into buildings is one thing; driving schoolbuses onto playgrounds is another.”  I’ll say this for them–they must be tough.  I can’t imagine how they can dress in black in the intense desert heat of Iraq in the summer.  At least they can save money on sunscreen.

Their name reminds me of a Bob Dylan song off the album Desire, also entitled “Isis.”  The refrain goes:  “Isis, oh Isis, you’re a mystical child, what drives me to you something something something else.”  (Sorry, but I haven’t heard it in a long time.)  I used to be a big Bob Dylan fan.  I’d go to his concerts and scream my head off so the maintenance crew at the auditorium would have to mail it back to me.  (“What’s this?  Oh, it’s heavy.  Sounds like a bowling ball.  Hey–it’s my head!”  “Hey!  Get me out of here!  I can’t breathe!”  “Sorry, fella.  Hold on a sec while I run and get a box cutter.  Oh, here’s someone from Al Qaeda–maybe he can lend me his.  Oh, excuse me, you’re from ISIS?  May I borrow your chainsaw, sir?  I might have to ask you to help me since I can’t see what I’m doing.  Just be careful not to give me a bad haircut.”  I just realized that the preceding monologue would be impossible unless I’d found a way to talk out of the hole in my neck–unless the boxed head was the one doing the talking.  I’ll have to iron out the kinks later, with Ray Davies’ permission.)

Anyway, you know how Dylan did that TV commercial during the Super Bowl extolling the virtues of Chevrolet?  You know he’s already loaded, so he couldn’t have possibly done it for the money.  It must have been out of a belief in the sanctity of the American automobile industry.  So here’s what we do:  get whoever makes commercials for Chevrolet in touch with the head honcho of ISIS and coax him into doing an ad for them.  I know it sounds like a stretch, but why can’t one kind of devil make a deal with another?  That way Chevy can get a toe-hold in Iraq, the Sunnis, Shi’ites, and Kurds who populate that broken country can start buying big stupid American cars (hey, ISIS has already co-opted the Hummers US troops used for the war), then they can drive everywhere the way we do in America, accelerate global warming even more, and help melt the polar ice caps to encourage the white bears to evolve gills really fast and prove the creationists wrong.  The planet will get unbearably hot, but think of how skimpy all those thongs and bikinis worn by girls and women at the beach will be.  

What do you say, Chevy and ISIS?  You in?  (Don’t worry–we can also through in an ad campaign for Exxon-Mobil to sweeten the deal.)

Please don’t bother to thank me for the idea.  World peace will be plenty thanks enough.

 

La Mierda Loca

Right now my fridge, whose name is Dios, which means God in Spanish, is beeping out of context.  It appears to have lost its mind.  My wife Jina and I can’t figure out what’s wrong with it.  Maybe it needs a doctor.  Perchance it’s crying, “Help me!  I’m freezing to death.”  Or else it wants to retire and move to the Bahamas.

The wonderful Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano has a book entitled The Upside-Down World.*  His most famous work, Open Veins of Latin America, I’ve yet to read.  He has a clean, simple style that manages complexity well with a healthy dose of irony.  I saw a clip of him being interviewed once, and although my Spanish is as rusty as a ’69 Chevy with a 396, fuely heads and a Hurst on the floor (I’m simultaneously quoting Bruce Springsteen and speaking in tongues, as I have no idea what any of that means), I did know what the following words meant:

“Este mundo es de mierda.”

Essentially, “The world’s a piece of shit.”  

So is my new smart phone, by the way.  I can’t figure out how the gosh-darned thing works.  I’d throw it against the wall if I thought it would help.  My old phone let me send text messages regardless of length; the new one is picky and doesn’t even show me the phone number of the person who’s left a message, so I have to look it up if I want to call them back instead of texting.  My wife claims it’s because the new model was put out by a different company.  Put out, indeed.  She says I have to wait until the new policy kicks in before it will start functioning properly.  But she added that I should start sending shorter messages.  I told her that was impolite, that a lot of the messages I receive are work-related.  I.D.K.  mA-B shs rght.

In yesterday’s entry I mentioned a momentous conversation we had over breakfast the other day in which she lamented that we didn’t have a baby ten years ago, back when we were both young enough so that we wouldn’t have to worry that she’d give birth to a Chimera (according to the Random House Word Menu, that’s a “flame-belching monster, part goat, part lion, and part dragon”).  Well, maybe we would have anyway.  And if we had, Jina would tell the baby, “You look just like your daddy.”

Remember the downstairs neighbors I told you about a few days ago who like to assemble and say “Hallelujah” as fast as they can over and over again until they sprain their tongues?  They’d woken me up and this time I was in a less charitable or forgiving mood, so I went downstairs and rang the doorbell.  No answer.  I rapped on the door with my knuckles.  The door opened and two women stood before me.  They looked friendly, so I decided not to wax too indignant.  I asked them semi-politely if they could stop making so much noise.  They explained that they were praying (as if that made it all right to be a public nuisance); I told them I was very sick (an exaggeration:  I had a slight cold) and needed to get some sleep (mission afterwards aborted).  I probably looked a little scary with the black eye and evil face of a foreigner from hell (and a heretic, no less).  

I asked them if they could please pray more quietly, as the racket they were generating was annoying.  At first they seemed nonplussed by my request, but at last they acquiesced.  I thanked them and went back home. 

When I mentioned the above incident to Jina, I expected her to be a bit annoyed herself–not by the neighbors, but by me for being so presumptuous and un-neighborly.  Instead, she surprised me by saying she wasn’t angry, although she was embarrassed.  She went on to say quietly that she wanted a divorce.

As the words leapt from her lips, I couldn’t help noticing how good the orange I was eating tasted.  But I thought it best not to bring it up at that moment.  Instead I asked her why, just to be polite.

She said if the neighbors’ manic hallelujah chorus got on my nerves, her own speaking in tongues must have made me likewise uncomfortable.  I said it didn’t bother me much, as I knew how important it was to her.  (In order to be sustained, brainwashing must maintain a meticulously methodical, painstaking ritual; once you get used to acting like a robot, you forget how and who you used to be and don’t mourn the loss of your humanity or the robbery of your soul–at least that’s been my experience.  If only Gregor Samsa, the man in the Franz Kafka story “The Metamorphosis” who wakes up to find he’s been transformed into a giant cockroach, had the presence of mind to find Jesus.  Then he could make his peace with the world as his sister tries to stomp him to death.)

She asked me for the four-hundred zillionth time if I believed in Jesus.  As usual, I hedged, being coy.  

“Sometimes,” I said, so as not to hurt her feelings.  (The following morning while we were lying–not to each other, only ourselves–in bed, she asked me if I wanted to be baptized–again.  “Maybe,” I replied in a tone that said, “Hell, no.”)

She asked if I believed in the resurrection of Christ.

“Not really.”

Somehow, we managed to change the subject and move on, and suddenly everything was hunky-dory again.  I guess she figured, “Well, at least I gave it another shot.”  It’s touching, in a way, when someone goes so far out of their way to share their delusions with you.  I’m truly grateful for the attempt–failed though it was.

As usual, I haven’t written what I set out to, so I suppose I’ll have to save it for the next post.  My health woes continue to plague me, and my moods bounce up and down on a Willy Wonka-like glass elevator between heaven and hell.  But most of the time they’re lodged in purgatory.

In case I do drop dead today–which always feels like a distinct possibility these days–feel free to check out my other WordPress blog under the pseudonym Mort Hawsen (an anagram of my name, Stew Harmon), mortalchortle.  I haven’t added anything to it in a long while, but most of the contents aren’t time-sensitive anyway (poetry, short fiction, plays, etc.).  Not to toot my own horn too much, but there’s also a Simpsons parody there you might like.

If not, please don’t waste your time.

Take care, have fun, toodle-oo.

By the way, do yourself a favor and check out the interview New Yorker journalist Elizabeth Kolbert gave Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! about her new book The Sixth Extinction.  Suffice it to say, the planet is absolutely fucked**, thanks to us.  (**which means we must be too–funny, I don’t feel fucked–unless I was speaking figuratively.  Maybe if I were, my heart wouldn’t be in such rough shape.)

As Dana Carvey would say in his incarnation as the Church Lady on Saturday Night Live, “Well, isn’t that special?”

* More proof that the world is upside-down in the next entry!

Questions of Earth-Shattering Unimportance

Have you ever noticed the tremendous influence Ella Fitzgerald had on Kurt Cobain?  That’s funny–neither have I.

Who says Steve Coogan is funny, and why?  Isn’t the alter ego of Alan Partridge just a self-satisfied twit?  

Would you allow me to apologize for being presumptuous as well as pretentious in jumping to premature conclusions regarding the Woody Allen-Dylan Farrow scandal?  It’s not my place to judge either of them, and I’m sorry for having assumed before that I had the right to.  A merry old friend of mine once said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”  He also said, “Judge not, lest ye be judged,” or maybe another character in the same book said it; I couldn’t tell you for sure, as I’ve never read the goddamned thing from cover to cover.

If a robot in a rowboat fell overboard, would he sink?  Could he swim?  How do you know if a robot’s a he or a she anyway?  Do they have genitals, or are they like G.I. Joes and Barbie dolls?  If G.I. Joe kicked Ken’s ass for being a so-called liberal hippy commie faggot, would Barbie fall for Joe or slap his face in Ken’s defense?  These are questions that must be raised, along with hands and sweet potatoes.

What’s the best way to spend your life?  Should you go it alone or devote every spare moment you have to social networking?  

Which would be more exciting, meeting Mark Zuckerberg in real life or having him as a Facebook friend?

How can you define your priorities?  How do you decide what to do first when everything’s always happening all at once?  

Is it a good idea to point out people’s rudeness to them in public?  If someone’s yapping on his phone on the subway, should you stick a rolled-up sock in his mouth?

How do you decide what to read?  Do you stick with nonfiction or turn to made-up stories?  Do you have time to memorize poetry?  Whose work speaks to you the most clearly?  Whose do you abhor or ignore?

T.S. Eliot wrote that humankind cannot handle too much reality, while Einstein said reality didn’t exist.  If that’s the case, how important can reality be?  (I mean, really.)

Which of the following best approximates your overall attitude towards worrying:

“Worry, worry, worry, worry is all I can do.”  B. B. King (no relation to Martin Luther)

“Don’t you worry ’bout a thing.”  Stevie Wonder

“I don’t worry ’bout a thing, ’cause I know nothing’s gonna be all right.”  Mose Allison

“Don’t worry; be happy.”  Bobby McFerrin

“Don’t worry about a thing, ’cause every little thing’s gonna be all right.”  Bob Marley

“Never worry; never moan.  I will leave you all alone.”  Neil Young (That might be a misquote.)

“Don’t you worry about me; I’ll get along.”  Frank Sinatra

My girlfriend won’t stop sending text messages while we’re having sex.  Should I try texting her while we’re in the act?

Would stop signs in a battlefield help bring about peace?

If a suicide bomber blows himself up in class, should he get an A+? (Did you see the recent story in the New York Times?  Sorry to keep plugging that rag.  Anyway, it actually happened in Iraq, only it was the teacher who blew himself up, by accident.  Apparently, his last words were “D’oh!”  His students probably would have laughed at him if they hadn’t exploded first.)

Since I fell and grazed my face on the escalator steps the other day, my wife asked me to wear an eye patch to protect the wound from air pollution.  Would you recommend going with glasses or a monocle?

If Ray Kurzweil’s right and we all eventually turn into cyborgs, will we have enough natural resources to fuel ourselves?  Will we have to establish co-dependent relationships in order to change each other’s batteries?  Will we plug ourselves in when we go to bed at night?  If we change our minds and decide we’ve had enough of existence, will we be able to permanently switch ourselves off?  What will be the best way to ensure we’re never reprogrammed?

If George Orwell were alive today, would he say “I told you so” or “I wasn’t writing how-to manuals”?

If Anthony Robbins ever failed to get it up, would he still insist on maintaining that cheesy smile on his face?

What will happen if an international “peace-keeping” force decides to invade Syria on a humanitarian mission?  Will it work or just be a Trojan Horse for yet another imperial corporate hemorrhoid in Mother Earth’s flag-raped ass?

Who’s winning the Olympics?  Which event is Vladimir Putin participating in?  Has he managed to win a medal in the fag-bashing competition yet?

In Word War II, the Yanks called the Germans “Jerries.”  In Vietnam, the Viet Cong were “Charlie.”  In Iraq and Afghanistan, the insurgents or Taliban were “Hadji.”  Why is it that whenever the U.S. goes to war, we always have to give everyone on the other side the same name?  Isn’t that a tad disrespectful?  Besides, in the name of dehumanizing “the enemy,” shouldn’t we be referring to them by numbers instead?  Ah, that’s much more comfortable.  (At least in Rwanda the machete-wielding Hutu banana farmers had the decency to label the Tutsis they butchered with such irrepressible joie du vivre as “cockroaches.”)

Why is it that so many members of our species have such a bad attitude towards other kinds of animals?  Think about it.  How often is it a compliment if you address someone as some other type of creature?  Pig, rat, cow, dog, chicken, snake, monkey, shark, insect, dumb bunny, amoeba, ape, tapeworm, tick, swine, chimp, cuckoo, birdbrain, worm, spider, mouse–all pejorative.  I wonder if members of other species insult one another by saying, “You human!

If you think homophobia’s innocuous, just remember the Nazis came for the gays first (but only because they wanted some fashion tips; you know how much Hitler loved those uniforms and jackboots.  Butch elegance.  They really gave him that S & M feel.  By the way, this is meant as a snub against Nazis, not gays.  Stereotypes in the service of humor are fair game, right?  As long as we don’t forget they’re just stereotypes).

As an American, I feel sad that I may never be able to visit the Middle East.  Not because I’m paranoid about all the Muslims-as-terrorists propaganda we’ve been fed by Hollywood and Washington over the past several decades, but because I feel guilty and ashamed for almost everything we’ve done in the region since–oh, I don’t know–1947?  Isn’t that the year the CIA staged the coup d’etat against democratically elected man of the people (as well as Time Magazine Man of the Year) Mossadegh to preclude him from nationalizing the oil industry?  Luckily, all the wars we’ve been fighting and occupations we’ve been having since then have nothing to do with oil.

If Obama has his way with us and the U.S. continues on its glorious path of fracking the shit out of everything, drilling till the whole world is one big hole, and the Keystone XL Pipeline bursts and poisons the Oglalla Aquifer, contaminating the drinking water supply of half the country’s population, can we change the name of the song to “America the Hideous”?  I get it that he and his buddies want us to have long-term energy independence, but is it worth destroying the entire ecosystem in the process?  Are we in some kind of race with China to see who can be the superdirtiest superpowerful superschmucks? 

Please let me know if you have the answers to any of these questions.  I certainly don’t.

Dr. Helpful, Supershrink

Coping With Guilt

(Scene:  A psychiatrist’s office.  Two somber yet plush burgundy upholstered leather chairs with a coffee table in between them are the main pieces of furniture in the crimson-carpeted room.  The walnut walls are bedecked with certificates from prestigious universities that bespeak the doctor’s unimpeachable qualifications, while framed letters from distinguished patients she’s cured attest to her impeccable track record.  There are also some signs conveying some of her prevailing sentiments for the edification of her visitors.  One reads, “Absolute power assuages low self-esteem.”  Another proclaims: “The need to love yourself is the greatest gift of all.”  The legend below a picture of a frowning pixie-faced girl in a blue outfit suggests, “Only you can make you feel blue.”  Finally, near the entrance is a full-length poster of a clown doubled over that says, “He who laughs last laughs hardest.”

The doctor is in the middle of a therapy session with a regular patient, Macbeth, King of Scotland.)

Doctor

Can you tell me about the dream you had?

Macbeth

I was surfing on a tidal wave of blood.

Doctor

Good.  Describe the surfboard.

Macbeth

Well, at first it was black, then it turned red.  Then it morphed into a shark.  Only he didn’t have fins.  And he had Banquo’s face.

Doctor

Banquo-shmanquo.  I don’t want hear that loser’s name ever again.  Do you understand?

Macbeth

You asked me to tell you about the dream.

Doctor

Indeed I did.  But sometimes white lies are just what the doctor ordered.

Macbeth

How was I supposed to know that?  Doctor, you look so restless.  Can’t you have a little patience?

Doctor

Of course.  I must have had one too many espressos this morning.  So, tell me what else is inside your head.

Macbeth

I can’t sleep at night.  When I close my eyes, all I see is an hourglass full of human skulls raining down and forming a mountain.  The racket is deafening.  It just seems to get louder and louder.  The skulls at the bottom are crushed like seashells while the ones at the top get bashed in by the new tumbling skulls that smash into them.  There’s also a hole at the bottom of the hourglass with sand made of bones leaking out into a spreading pool of red.  The skulls just keep falling like coins raining down in a one-armed bandit whose player has hit the jackpot.

Doctor

Hmmm.  Strange.  Have you been taking the sedative I prescribed?

Macbeth

Yes, I have.  It only makes the nightmares worse.

Doctor

Mr. Macbeth, as I’ve told you before, you’re suffering from a guilty conscience–still!  What in the Sam Hill is wrong with you, man?  I mean, lighten the hell up for a change, would you?  Do you recall what we said last time about conscience?  Remember the line from the movie On the Waterfront?  You know, the scene where the priest played by Karl Malden is talking to Marlon Brando’s character Terry Malloy about his conscience?

Macbeth

No, I don’t.

Doctor

“Conscience–that stuff can drive you nuts.”

Macbeth

I’ll have to write that one down so I don’t forget.  (Writes in his diary.)  See Doc, that’s another thing–I can’t remember anything anymore.  Since I can never get enough sleep, I’m unable to process new memories.

Doctor

What are you talking about?  You remember your dreams.  In loving detail, I might add.  Unless you’re embellishing them to flatter your medical mentor.

Macbeth

Fair enough.  But the only reason I remember them is they’re incessantly recurring nightmares.

Doctor

Oh, come on, Fergus.  You have lots of phantasmagoric variety, a veritable treasure trove of nocturnal hallucinations to choose from.  I want you to keep taking the medication.  Double the dose if you have to.  Remember what we said, after all:  “Health equals wealth.”  By the way, did you send me another check for your last visit?  The first one you sent bounced right out the window.

Macbeth

Yes, I did.  You’ll have to excuse the bloodstains.

Doctor

(wagging her finger)  Ah-ah-ah, my dear king of the blues.  Don’t forget:  “Success means never having to say you’re sorry.”

Macbeth

Sorry–I keep forgetting.

Doctor

(rolling her eyes and sighing)  Oh, Mickey, Mickey, Mickey.  What ever are we going to do with you?  All righty, then. I’d like you to close your eyes. . .

Macbeth

Okay. . .

Doctor

Take a deep breath. (Macbeth inhales deeply, pushing his stomach all the way out the way his yoga teacher showed him to.)  Excellent.  Now repeat after me:  “Color red. . .”

Macbeth

“Color red. . .”

Doctor

“. . . is for the dead.”

Macbeth

“. . . is for the dead.”

Doctor

Perfect.  Now exhale until your lungs turn inside out like unsightly clusters of poppable seaweed.

(Macbeth releases a long, slow breath, his hands loosely gripping his kneecaps.)

Doctor

Very nice.  Now open your eyes.  (Macbeth opens his eyes.)  And say in a big, strong voice:  “I am not the bull.”

Macbeth

“I am not the bull.”

Doctor

“I’m the matador.”

Macbeth

“I’m the matador.”

Doctor

“I hold the red blanket.”

Macbeth

“I hold the red blanket.”

Doctor

“And the bull drops dead.”

Macbeth

“And the bull drops dead.”

Doctor

Very good!  (The doctor’s intercom on the coffee table buzzes.  She leans forward and presses a button on the device.)  Yes?

Secretary

Barack Obama’s on the phone.  He thinks he might have accidentally left his kill list behind during his last visit.

Doctor

(keeping a straight face as she pulls a piece of paper out of the breast pocket of her red suit jacket and flashes it at Macbeth, whose eyes widen and jaw drops.)  Tell him I’m afraid I haven’t seen it.

Secretary

Okay, I will.  Thank you.

Doctor

Ciao.

Macbeth

The president of the United States has a kill list?  May I see that?

Doctor

Sure.  (She hands it across the table to him.)

Macbeth

Wow!  It’s long.  How many pages is this?  (The doctor shrugs.)  What a great idea!

Doctor

Go ahead–keep it.  I’m sure he can retrieve all those names if he uses the mnemonic devices I taught him.

Macbeth

You’d think he’d have at least one extra copy for back-up.

Doctor

There’s nothing that’s certain but death, taxes, and human error.  (The doctor and Macbeth share a hearty laugh.)  There now.  Feel better?

 

 

The Needy Deity

(God finds Abraham tending his flock and approaches him.)

God

Abraham, Satan said you love Isaac more than me.

Abe

That’s not true, God.  You know you’re my number one, my one and only, my main squeeze, as it were.

God

I don’t believe you.  And you don’t believe in me.  (God starts crying.)

Abe

God, baby, please don’t cry.  What can I do to make you feel better, sweety?  I’ll do anything.

(God looks up shyly with teardrops clinging to his eyelashes like early morning dew on blades of grass.)

God

(coyly) Really?  Anything?

Abe

Anything, Goddy-woddy, for little old you, poopy-shoes.

God

That’s so sweet.  Would you even kill Isaac for me?

Abe

What?!  I’m not going to kill Isaac!  He’s my only son!

God

All right, hold on a sec.  Okay, okay, okay.  I know that sounds like a lot to ask.  I’ll tell you what, Abe.  What if I make a deal with you?

Abe

What kind of deal?

God

Let’s say I agree to kill my only son–

Abe

What do you mean?  You don’t even have a son!

God

Surely you jest.  You, Sarah, Isaac–you are all my children.

Abe

Well, maybe figuratively speaking.

God

So let’s say my wife and I have a boy a little later on in the story–

Abe

Wife?  And who exactly would that be?  I didn’t realize you were married.

God

Stop interrupting, asshole!

Abe

Sorry.

God

I promise you I’ll eventually have a son and have him killed for you, okay?  Then will you bump off Isaac?

Abe

God, you’re a psychopath!  Why would you do such a thing?  And why is it so important to you that I slay my son?  Are you out of your mind?

God

No, I’m just God.

Abe

Like the oxymoron.  Besides, even if you did make a son and kill him for me, you could always squeeze out another one afterwards.  For you it’s a snap.  Me, on the other hand?  I’m 752 years old.  Sarah’s only a few years younger. If I knock her up again, our baby would more likely resemble Cerberus than the fine boy I’ve already sired.

God

Oh, Abie, you’re no fun anymore.  Remind me to rub out any president named after you.

Abe

Fine.  Just please don’t make me murder my son.

God

Thou art such an ingrate.  All right, I’ll tell you what.  I’ll make a deal with you.  Either you brain Isaac with a rock or unseam him from the nave to the chops with your sharpest knife, or I’ll sic a swarm of man-eating bullfrogs on you and have them devour you and your whole family.

Abe

Jesus Fucking Christ, God!  You are the biggest putz I’ve ever met.

God

You know the old song–“You Always Hurt the One You Love.”

Abe

You’re the one who wrote it.  Very well.  Give me a time, date, and exact location and I’ll do the kid in for you.  But after that, no more bullshit.  Are we clear?

God

Oh, Abraham, you are the most adorable little mortal I’ve ever given birth to.

Abe

And you’re the most insecure, emotionally manipulative, uncompromising fascist in the universe.

God

Oh, Abie, behave!  I love it when you play hard to get.

Abe

Go fuck yourself, Yahweh.

(Abraham leaves, cursing under his breath and stamping the ground like a spoiled child.)

God

Don’t forget to know thyself well too, Abe!  And tell Sarah the big guy in the sky says hi!

Abe 

Tell her yourself, wanker!

 

(Thanks to Louis C. K. for giving me the idea for this story.  May God bless him and his two daughters–without making any unreasonable demands of the conscientious father and busy comedian.)