Saturday, June 24, 2017

Oh God - Part Twenty-Three

Oh God – Part Twenty-Three

            Well, come to think of it, he didn’t really see what his grandmother Sara looked like either. It was strange. He didn’t know what anybody looked like. He just knew who they were. It must be another one of God’s little tricks to confuse him. There must be a relationship between body recognition and life in the real world.
            “The world you talk about is not real,” spoke God. “It is your training ground; your school. That’s where you learn everything you need to know for this world – the real world as it were. There’s an infinite variety of what you can learn there and practice during that lifetime. It’s all your choice within the parameters of that world. When you are finished and have gained all the knowledge and experience, it’s over and done and of no more use to you.
            “You come here, into purgatory and generally sleep until the day I judge your performance at ‘school’ and you are placed either here in heaven with me, or in Satan’s hell.”
            “Purgatory? I was in Purgatory? How’d I get here then?” Schwartz wanted to know.
            “It was a special case with you, Schwartz. While you practiced all the wrong things in your ‘school’, you had certain information I wanted to curb this Acronym business. So I brought you up here to stop that nonsense. It’s actually quite unusual.”
            Hmm, thought Schwartz, He’d been promoted to being God’s helper; not a bad gig for an old Jew. Maybe I was one of the ‘chosen people’ he mused.
            “Don’t flatter yourself, Schwartz.” God sounded a little annoyed. “That old myth don’t hold no water around here. What we got here AND down in hell are SPIRITS! Humans are all down on earth an’ there’s no special kind. All the talk about things like that is nothin’ more than political
rhetoric. It’s just that you’ve got a few left over memories that make you useful to me.”
            “What if in the process o’ bein’ here I lose those memories? Will I still be welcome here?”
            “Of course! You are after all, part of the family. I told you that when you first arrived. Don’t you feel that way?”
            “I do, I do,” beamed Schwartz. He was a bit confused as to how this was all going to roll out for him.  How could he possibly forget his earthly life with all its accomplishments and accumulation?  Funny though, he couldn’t remember the devastation he had wrought upon his family and business associates during the course of his life, as though it wasn’t important.

            “It’ll take a while, but you’ll get used to it.” Said God.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Oh God - Part Twenty - One

I don't know exactly what happened, but somehow my "part Twenty-one" never got published. Perhaps I was being punished, but I'll have another go at it.

Oh God – Part Twenty – One
            It was heaven indeed. And what did they need? Nothing. It made the struggles and maneuvering of the living world appear totally useless; a complete waste of time. If only Schwartz had known. He had wasted his whole earthly life scheming and cheating and out maneuvering to gain his considerable fortune, and for what? It didn’t count for anything here. Not only that, but he didn’t give a rip about it neither. Mind you, when he was down in hell, it was a different story. They was yellin’ an’ screamin’ about their own accomplishments an’ importance all the live long day. When you put it into a collective production it was a screaming mass of ‘me, me, me.’ Disgusting, thought Schwartz. How could you possibly differentiate your own ‘me’ from all the millions of voices in a circus like that?  He was tired. All he wanted now was a little peace and human dignity. And that’s what he experienced here in heaven. ‘To hell with hell’, he thought, hoping that Petronella wouldn’t notice.
            “I heard that!” she demanded from somewhere he couldn’t see.
            “I didn’t say anything out loud,” whimpered Schwartz. “Don’t tell me you can read thoughts too!”
            “Listen, snot nose, I was the mother of six,” she snorted. “I can tell what you’re thinking even before you think it.”
            Sara, who was nearby, chuckled quietly. “My boy, one of the things you’ll have to get used to here in heaven is the fact of equality. Women here are NOT subservient to men (or the other way around). We are not people here as you remember them in the physical world. We are spirits of no particular gender – or species for that matter. We are just spirits. Our purpose on earth was to enrich ourselves and improve the depth of our character for the glorification of our Lord.
            “This world is unlike anything you’ve ever seen since you were sent out into the body of Schwartz. What you learned there and what you did with that knowledge determined the depth of your spirit. That is what you’ll be judged on.
            “So you’ll have to make up your mind where you want to be, either here or in hell. If I can give you one more little suggestion, you will also be judged one day when the time comes, so it bears thinking about and coming to a decision.”
            “But, I’ve done what I’ve done on earth, How can I possibly avoid going to hell, I’m afraid I’m doomed. In the end, he won’t let me in. What can I do?”
            “Ask God – and don’t even think about negotiating,”



Saturday, June 17, 2017

Oh God - Part Twenty Two

Oh God – Part Twenty-two
            “You know,” said God almost reflectively in a conversation that just seemed to come up, “most people that end up goin’ to hell are those who can’t let go of their past. Some mourn over losin’ their possessions, some the loss of power and authority, and still others who can’t get over the guilt of whatever they’ve done wrong in their earthly life. They haven’t learned to forgive themselves. They just haven’t learned to let go of their earthly existence.”
            “That’s the trouble,” lamented Schwartz, “I can’t get over my earthly life. There are so many accomplishments I’ve made and at the same time so many people I’ve cheated and – oh my – so many things I have to account for – “ He sounded totally pathetic.
            “You sound totally pathetic,” commented God. “As long as you hold on to these things, you’ll never get to heaven.”
            “So nothing I accomplished or accumulated on earth has any meaning here?”
            “Diddley squat” replied God.
            “So what was I so busy doin’ there then?”
            “Basically, you were wastin’ everybody’s time – includin’ your own.”
            “Well then. What was the point of my bein there?”
            “It was to test the resolve of your spirit. You see, everybody has two spirits – a good one and an evil one. You seem to have been governed by the latter for most of your life. Yet you never really abandoned the good one. Look at what you did for Tony Bennet. It came quite naturally to you. You possess many talents that can be helpful here in heaven, but you can’t do anything for anybody as long as you hold on to memories of your earthly life. They just get in the way.”
            “But I worked my whole life to accumulate those things. I can’t just let all that go!”
            “Think of it this way,” said God, “it’s like going to school and learning algebra and geometry and quantum physics, and then when you graduate, you get a job as a shoe-shine boy. You never needed any o’ that mathematical crap in the first place. That’s how it is with earthly life.”

            “Mmm,” mused Schwartz. It somehow didn’t seem right to him, but who was he to argue with God?

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Oh God - Part Twenty

Oh God – Part Twenty
            “Hello my little Sunshine. How nice it is to see you again.” Schwartz’ neck hair suddenly stood up on end. Grandma Sara Lieberman gently sat down beside him and patted his head affectionately. “You’ve been dead a longtime. What took you so long to get here?”
            Stammering for words, Schwartz was going to say ‘lifestyle’ but somehow it didn’t seem appropriate. He was after all, no longer alive.  In the end, he simply said, “lost my way a little”, which in many ways was closer to the truth.
            “No matter,” Sara chimed in happily, “you’re here now. This is such a happy place. Come and meet the others!”
            Instantly he was surrounded by a whole host of Schwartzes and Liebermans all vying for his attention. They greeted him with such affection he had trouble remembering the extent to which he had cheated them in his other life and how much he had embezzled from them for his own gain. Yet there was no acknowledgement of his misdeeds. Schwartz couldn’t understand that. It was as though they didn’t remember.
            He spoke softly to Sara, “I can’t believe you’d take me up this way, after all I did to your savings and investments,” he said. Now his guilt was pressing down on him.
            “Look around you,” answered Sara sweetly. “We have our whole family here now that you’ve arrived. We have a never ending feast at this endless table, and we have friends we haven’t seen in a long time. You know how I loved to have guests over for dinner and the happy discussions we used to have. This now is just as good, if not better. There is nothing here but happiness and love of one another. What more can one want?”
            Schwartz suddenly realized it was true. Indeed, there was everything here one could want and he was slipping into that mode of grateful acceptance, except for the nagging feeling that his family was holding back a grudge against him. He tried to get it out of Sara, hinting at his misdeeds and transgressions in the real world.
            Guessing what was on her grandson’s mind Sara said, “When Jesus taught us to pray, he said; ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’. We have done that, and it feels so good.”
            “But grandma,” blurted Schwartz. “We’re Jewish – not Christian!”
            Sara laughed out loud, “So was Jesus – same as you and me, silly. Ask him if you don’t believe me. He’s right over there.”
            “I don’t get it,” exclaimed Schwartz. “Then what’s with this Christianity business anyways?”
            “Exactly – it’s a business. Well really it’s a government, just like Judaism. Actually Paul started that government about thirty years after Jesus was crucified. Well it was a catchy name after all the turmoil that had gone on, so he went around preachin’ the gospel. It caught on big time. They made rules to live by, rituals they had to do and credos to follow, all of which were ignored by the people and in particular the hierarchy, just like the Jews. But don’t kid yourself, Jesus had nothin’ to do with it an’ neither did God.”
            “HOLY – “He was goin’ to say Holy Crap but caught himself in time before that woman in the kitchen chimed in on him again.

            “This is a place of forgiveness and tolerance” Sara continued, “It’s a beautiful place where everything is provided for. No one here can want or want for anything. It’s – well, it’s heaven.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Oh God - Part Nineteen

Oh God – Part Nineteen
            “Intel? That’s information you gather about somebody you’re snoopin’ on.”
            “Would that be like intelligence?”
            “Ya, somethin’ like that.”
            “You talk funny, Schwartz.”
            “That’s how everybody talks these days.”
            “Why? What’s wrong with sayin’ the word ‘intelligence’?”
            “It’s too long! Nobody’s got time for that.”
            “What? You got that much to talk about, or too much to do?”
            “Both,” said Schwartz. “Life gets busier and busier. That’s why we have to rely on acronyms in order to get everything said and done.”
            “Schwartz,” said God, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. “You’re sittin’ here at our dinner table, havin’ a conversation an’ I don’t see anythin’ that’s so busy we haven’t got time to talk about it.”
            “Ah, time. That was probably one of the dumbest things you people ever thought up. I gave you time. I gave you daylight and darkness. Your ancestors used it well and wisely. They lived according to its law and did so very well. So what’s your problem?” asked God.
            “Well there are so many things to do and to discover about our world, we just don’t have the time to do it all!”
            “Well. LOL with that!”
            Schwartz was trying very hard to control his frustration. “That’s not even the right acronym,” he snorted.
            “I know,” laughed God, “but it works either way, doesn’t it?”

            Schwartz couldn’t say anything.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Oh God - Part Eighteen

Oh God – Part Eighteen
            “I hear you’ve got Alf Loewen up here to fix Tony’s harp,” commented God casually, sitting suddenly beside Schwartz. “Good move.”
            “If I can make St. Peter happy, it’ll be a relief,” replied Schwartz. “Loewen’s pretty good at what he does.”
            “No question. Professionally he’s the best. Personally – well that’s another matter. But I’ll leave you with him.”
            Schwartz left Tony washing and straightening his wings, humming a haunting little tune, and went looking for old acquaintances he might encounter. There were so many people here he found it hard to focus. Oddly enough they seemed to all know one another. He didn’t know anybody.
            Loewen, having finished with Tony’s harp, commented to Schwartz, “Nice place you got here.”
            “Thanks, I like it.”

            “How’d you get here anyways?”
            “I don’t really know. I was workin’ on makin’ a new language for people to use universally when I suddenly ended up here talkin’ to God. It seems he gets a little crotchety when people are tryin’ to figure out is world.  They keep tryin’ an’ he keeps catchin’ them. Since I was workin’ on that project, I guess he figured we needed to have a chat.”
            “Strange,” said Loewen. “After what I done in my ‘alive’ world, I never thought I’d end up here.”
            “You sound remorseful Loewen.”
            “Of course I’m remorseful. Who wouldn’t be? When you’re alive in the real world you do such stupid things that ya can’t take back. There should be a set of instructions that come with bein’ born,” Loewen lamented.
            “I think there is,” noted Schwartz. “I’m gonna find out, get some intel from my grandma. She’s gotta be up here somewhere’s.”

            “What’s an ‘intel’,” Loewen wanted to know.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Oh God - Part Seventeen

Oh God – Part Seventeen
“Schwartz, you haven’t even met any of your contemporaries yet. I would suggest you spend some time getting to know some people. It’s surprising what and who you may find here. First thing you know, you’ll be busier than you’ve ever been,” God smiled.
            Well, good idea thought Schwartz and started to look around. Low and behold, the first person he met was Tony Bennett. He didn’t even know Tony was dead, but here he was, singing away sadly while washing his face in a little hand bowl. His angel wings were all crooked and dirty and an old harp with several broken strings lay at his feet.
            “Holy Hannah!” exclaimed Schwartz, “If it isn’t Tony Bennett! What are you doing here? You look a total mess!”
            “I am a mess,” whimpered Tony, “it’s awful.”
            “What happened, Tony?”
            “The thing is that during my lifetime, I grew up with my boyhood buddy Sam Frank. We made a solemn promise that when the last one of us died, we’d meet up. Turns out he was designated to hell. So I begged my way into going down to see him for an hour or so. Turns out he’d never mended his ways and he had a little Bistro down there- wild place. We had a blast, just like in the good old days but when I realized what time it was I ripped outa there with my wings all bent and of all things, I left my harp in Sam Frank’s Bistro. I finally got it back, but look at the shape it’s in.”
            “A sad story for sure Tony, but maybe I can help. I remember seein’ Alf Loewen, the piano man down there a while back. I imagine he can fix up your harp. I’ll see if I can get him to help.”
            “Oh that would be amazing! I just don’t want St. Peter to be mad at me anymore.”
            “Aw relax Tony. Why don’t ya write a song about it. That’s what ya do ain’t it?”
            “Ya, that’s what I do. . . . ‘I left my harp . . . in Sam Frank’s Bistro . . .catchy first line Tony admitted.” He was happy.
            And Schwartz was happy too. The thrill of accomplishment rippled through his soul. He’d get Tony’s harp fixed an’ at the same time have a new recruit for God’s endless dinner table (maybe).


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Oh God - Part Sixteen

Oh God – Part Sixteen
Thinking there must be a downside to living in heaven with God and the multitude gathered around his table, Schwartz tried to analyze the pros and cons of it all. Not that he had any great attachment to Satan, but there was the excitement of the art of the con that he was used to and good at. He’d never be able to practice that here. He’d have to find a new discipline to practice so he didn’t get bored. First thing he’d better do was to make some friends if he was to stay here.
            The thing that worried him about staying in hell was what God had said about judgment day was that Satan would be released and he would turn the heat up in hell to fry all its residents in an eternal fire. That was not cool (to coin a phrase), unless there was some truth to the story about the Toronto Maple Leafs winning the Stanley cup. But he was doubtful about that. He just didn’t fancy bein’ fried into eternity.
            On the heaven side, he had the pleasantries of conversation at the family dinner table which was nice and comfortable. It would expand as he made friends and met new people. Mind you, there was Petronela and her iron-fisted discipline about cussin’ an’ civility. But that was a minor irritant he’d likely get over in time. The only question was if he could stay here after being judged as he surely would be.
            Things were weighing heavily in favor of heaven for Schwartz. Surely he would be able to incorporate his freewheeling ways up here to one degree or another. Surely God must give him some degree of latitude in this. It was one of the few talents he had and without the ability to make a deal, what else would he do? Schwartz had almost decided for certain he would take his chances and stay in heaven. There were too many good things here to go back to that potential fire pit. If he had to learn something new, he’d do it. God would certainly have some suggestions. Well, they were at the family table after all where you could discuss things and come out with a compromise of sorts. ‘Okay, that’s it! I’ll mend my ways and stay,’ he muttered under his breath.
            Magically, God was again sitting at the table next to Schwartz and the latter suddenly realized the power of this guy. This was not somebody you wanted to fool around with. “It’s something you have to follow through on yourself,” God continued, as though he had never left.         “The thing you want to do Schwartz,” God said, “is to focus on your path from here on in, once you have determined what that path is.”
            “That’s just what I wanted to discuss with you God,” replied Schwartz.
“Good thing Schwartz. That’s why we have this lovely dinner table.”
            “The thing is, that I’m in a bit of a dilemma. Down in hell I’ve got all kinds of latitude to do my thing – exercise my talents as it were. If I give that up, exactly what will I have to do here?”

            “Good question,” God replied.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Oh God - Part Fifteen

Oh God – Part Fifteen
            “It seems that out of all the creatures I created, mankind was about the only failure I had. Not a bad average I would say. Mankind was not really a failure as such, but I made him more complicated than I needed to. If only I hadn’t given him dominion over all the other creatures, he may well have been satisfied.”
            “Do you really think that was the thing that caused all this expansion?” asked Schwartz.
            He really wasn’t thinking about the time of creation, but more about the chaos that was going on in hell right now and what that would be like in the future when Satan was finally released and turned up the heat, and did he want to be part of that.  He was in a real turmoil about it. Here there was no shouting goin’ on. There were no insults bein’ flung back an’ forth an’ no screamin’ for first place. Oh, there was all kind of banter an’ discussion about every subject under the sun around the seemingly endless table, but it was all discreet an’ friendly like.
            “I kind o’ think I like it better here,” said Schwartz hopefully. “Do you think I might have a chance to stay?”
God laughed out loud. “That Schwartz, is entirely up to you. It’s not something I can determine ahead of time. I’ve told you that I will judge every soul within the universe. By the look of things it will be sooner than later. When I examine your very inner soul, I will decide.”
            “Aw crumb,” muttered Schwartz.
            “I don’t know what you’re fussin’ about Schwartz,” God commented, “you’ve known what’s right or wrong since you were a youngster, so it’s all on your head. I can’t help you with that. Well, I could, but I won’t.”
            Schwartz had nowhere to turn but inward. He wasn’t used to that. Up to now there was always somebody else to blame for his shortcomings, but now he’d have to face himself. It didn’t seem fair somehow. But he quickly realized that that’s how it was, so he’d better button down to reality. The one thing in his favor was his tenacity.

            Schwartz grew quiet. God, realizing what was going through his mind, moved on to address some of the others.
 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Oh God - Part Fourteen

Oh God – Part Fourteen
“They are so set in their ways and so attached to their ideas that they are prepared to overcome judgment day altogether. Their opinions are set to overrule anything I might confer upon them. It’s the usual; ‘We’ll deal with it when it comes up’ attitude’.
“You’ll judge them too?” asked Schwartz
“Absolutely. Every last one o’ them.”
“How about me?”
“Yep, you too.”
“HOLY CRAP!” Schwartz yelled suddenly, realizing that he too was under scrutiny. “How’m I doin’ so far?”
“Don’t push it Schwartz. You know very well what the rules of life are. You have to choose what course you want to pursue. I won’t do that for you.”
“Figures,” grumbled Schwartz.
“In fact”, continued God, “I was a bit worried about people taking over the universe, but I see now that they’ll never get there, so I won’t even put my plans into action. Let the chips fall where they may.”
“Maybe you could explain that to me,” said Schwartz.
“Easy,” answered God. “Firstly, they’re so busy makin’ up a new language using acronyms, they themselves don’t understand the language, not that it makes any difference since they’re so busy yellin’ at one another, nobody’s got time to listen to anybody but themselves. Secondly and more importantly, they’re busy tryin’ new things an’ doin’ new stuff with every aspect of my green earth an’ they don’t take account of how it was made in the first place.”
“How does that affect anythin’” Schwartz asked.
“Manipulation of one part directly affects the reaction of another,” God explained patiently. “It’s like cause and effect – well in fact, it is cause and effect. You know, if a man speaks in the middle of a forest where no one can hear – is he still wrong?” God chuckled at his own joke. “Of course he is. Just ask his wife.”
“Huh?”

“Well that’s a bad example, but it serves to highlight what really happens. If I tell a funny story, you smile.  If a man drives his car, the carbon emissions create clouds of carbon monoxide in the sky and pollute the atmosphere. If you clear cut a forest, the ground becomes unstable, causin’ landslides. Misuse of water supplies causes the dryin’ – up o’ lakes an’ rivers. I could go on an’ on.”

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Oh God - Part Thirteen

Oh God = Part Thirteen
“It is really nice Schwartz,” commented God rather deliberately, “that you and I can sit here at the dinner table and casually discuss all the world’s problems in a friendly and relaxed manner without rancor or blame. Best thing I ever did was to make this family dinner table. It’s a good job Jesus was such a good carpenter. He put a lot more in it than just wood.”
Schwartz could feel it too. There was a genuine warmth around the table, inviting friendship and a sense of belonging. He’d never felt that at Satan’s place. Oh, there was lots of partying, screaming and yelling going on but somehow it felt cold. It was like everyone was trumpeting their own importance, trying to outdo the others. Well you couldn’t blame them. It was the only way to get ahead. You had to trumpet your own importance louder and more often than anybody else. What was that saying: ‘The squeaky wheel gets the grease’? Of course, they didn’t have to do that any more but they were so accustomed to it, they couldn’t quit. The noise and chaos was enough to give even Schwartz a supreme headache.  Sitting here with God and the others was enough to cause him to want to abandon his former boss. “Whatever happened to Purgatory for those people in hell? Aren’t they supposed to be asleep?” said Schwartz.
“They had a choice. They could either go to sleep until judgment day, or carry on with their antics. They are obviously beyond redemption, come judgment day.”
“Oh,” commented Schwartz. “How did I get here then?
“You’ll notice that this is a pretty big table. It’s almost endless. There are some pretty big sinners sitting at it who thought they’d try out our side of things and have come to prefer it. But you are a special project of Satan’s. He sent you here to disrupt my concerns about human behaviour. He’s such a jackass that it never occurred to him you might prefer the sanctity of a dinner table where family and reason prevail, much as some of the others.”
Schwartz looked around and sure enough the table seemed almost endless. The multitude of people around it was varied. They certainly weren’t all angels, that was for sure. Yet they were all comfortably conversing with one another, thoroughly at home in this environment. “So, what’s with the people partying an’ dancin’ an’ yellin’ their stupid heads off in hell? What about them?” he pondered almost absently.
“Oh, those are people who sold their souls to the devil. They bypassed purgatory altogether and went straight to hell. There’s not much chance for them to be ransomed outa there.”

“Hm,” said Schwartz.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Oh God - Part 12

Oh God – Part Twelve

“It gets right back to humans tryin’ to figure out the secrets of my universe so they can go do it themselves. I know exactly what they’re up to. Once they think they’ve completed the task, they’ll proclaim themselves as masters of the universe having dominion over me as well, which means you and Satan too.”
“Oh my God, I never thought o’ that!”, exclaimed Schwartz.
“Well you see what will happen if it gets into the wrong hands,” continued God. “Them lawyers an’ engineers an’ architects are all on the same page, it seems. Some economics professor talked them into believin’ that they must operate on an adversarial system; said it was the best way to get the most outa the least. What do you think o’ that?”
“I think that’s a good theory. That way everybody gets to submit their arguments and the one that can be best defended wins the day.”
“When you think about it, one wins the day an’ all the others lose it. How good do you think that’ll go over? If you ask me, it’ll still be adversarial.”
“But they’ll have to live with it, won’t they?” said Schwartz.
“Ha ha ha,” laughed God in a loud guffaw.

Schwartz had to smile. He knew that God was right. He was always right. He was after all. . . . God.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Oh God - Part Eleven

Oh God – Part Eleven
“I think it started with Noah buildin’ that big boat. There was so much fuss an’ bother with it, everybody squealin’ this an’ that, advisin’ him this way an the other, I guess it somehow stuck with the people on board. Them daughters o’ his was no angels neither ya know. They probably took them sounds an’ started yappin’ away until it became a language. Well once ya get that far, their ain’t no end in site.”
“I heard that!” boomed  the alto voice from the kitchen.
“See what I mean?” commented God.
“Mm,” grunted Schwartz.
“What would you think,” asked God, “if I took them right back to the time when they were all mute, couldn’t make a sound?”
“Human kind would never survive!”
“Oh, they could – they did in fact. Only they got lazy when they found they could make noises, an have been workin on it ever since. That’s not how I intended it. I thought I made it clear in the Tower of Babel incident. But obviously, they were so fixated on sayin’ words, they just wouldn’t shut up. Now they’ve run outa words so they start makin’ stuff up, like acronyms. That won’t do Schwartz, it just won’t do!”
“I wouldn’t worry about it God,” said Schwartz casually, “they’ll figure it out. If anything, people are pretty smart at getting’ to where they want.”
“Now you’ve hit the nail on the head Schwartz!” replied God. “They’ll keep at it ‘til they can get back to figurin’ out the universe.”

What’s wrong with that?” Schwartz wanted to know.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Oh God - Part Ten

Oh God – Part Ten
“Basically,” said God in a friendly manner, “one of the reasons I invited you into the family was over communication. It’s a very important function of humanity as you see here. I mean. How wonderful has it been to have you among us at our dinner table? We talked and joked and had a wonderful time, didn’t we?”
“I’ve got to admit, that’s true,” said Schwartz, still somewhat hesitant. “I feel totally at home an’ welcome here. I don’t even mind that old lady that keeps barkin’ at us if we cuss a little. Where’d you get her from anyways?”
“She’s kind of an accident like you are to Satan,” smiled God. “Its her ornery husband that keeps passin’ up an’ down between here an’ there ‘cause nobody wants him around to make trouble. So, she stays here an’ keeps Mary company.
“Actually, that leads me to the topic I wanted to discuss – language.” Said God. “It’s language that has lead humans into trouble every time. They’re either inventin’ new words an’ givin’ them new meanings, or sayin’ them in such a way as to mean somethin’ else. It’s an endless litany of excuses they use to justify the words they say an it’s drivin’ me nuts! My original idea was the best one. When the world was new, every one understood the other, yet there wasn’t a sound made. It was so quiet an’ peaceful then. A family could gather around the diner table an’ communicate in complete silence. Even the animals that came around signalled their needs with their body language an’ the humans all understood. It was so peaceful an’ quiet then when every body lived in harmony.”
“Well so how did the people learn to make noise an’ speak?” Schwartz wanted to know.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Oh God = Part Nine

Oh God - Part Nine
“Did ya ever hear of a place called Purgatory” asked God, half joking.
“That’s a hotel ain’t it? It’s a place where you can sleep quietly for as long as ya want an’ nobody will bother ya. Sounds like a good spot after a busy life.”
“That’s only a temporary respite. After all, my souls need a good nap after havin’ lived their lives, before I judge their performance while they were on earth.”
“WHAT? Are you kiddin’ me? YOU get to judge them all?” The total shock of this caused Schwartz’ outburst.
“I do.”
“What does Satan have to say about that?”
God smiled knowingly. “There’s not much he can say is there? After all, I’m the one who created heaven and earth. Oh, he does a lot of screamin’ an’ yellin’ but really, it amounts to a hill o’ beans. He just does that to be a thorn in my side.”
“Holy crap!” Schwartz exploded. “That’s not what he said to me!” He was waiting for the voice in the kitchen but she obviously didn’t hear him or that didn’t count as a cuss word because it never came. Well, the news was out now – no question. Schwartz had got so excited that he just blurted out that he was an agent of the devil, so he figured the jig was up now.
Quite the contrary, God smiled warmly and told him how happy he was to have Schwartz in the family. It gave them the opportunity to get to know one another more intimately and air each other’s concerns.  

“You first,” said Schwartz, anxious to find what direction this was goin’ before commitin’ hisself.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Oh God - Part Eight

Oh God - Part Eight
Dinner proceeded jovially enough with casual conversation between mouthfuls. To all intents and purposes, it was a friendly family dinner. Well, except I noticed that Schwartz was a little more than uneasy. I knew he recognized the voice from the kitchen and that was cause for concern for him. That was the wife of old Nard Harks who was swinging between Hell an’ here like a yoyo because nobody wanted to deal with him. I was reluctantly feelin’ a little easier havin’ her on my team for once. If nothing else, she was bringing civility to the conversation. It was a perfect segue into my intended talk.
“If we aren’t goin’ to be civil in our language up here, how is anyone in the real world down there goin to learn civility?” I wanted to know. “Don’t you practice it down there in hell?”
“Oh, hell no,” was the reply.
“I heard that!” said the alto voice.
“Down there we say whatever we want, however it comes out. It’s called free speech. It’s everyone’s right!”
“That’s an interestin’ concept. Doesn’t that lead to hateful attitudes and conflict?”
“Of course, it does! That’s the whole idea! Let the offended parties defend themselves. Whoever is strongest will survive.” Schwartz was feeling confident now. He was makin’ some pretty good points in his (the devil’s) arguments. “It’d been like that ever since there was enough people around to be livin’ apart from one another. Not only that, but it was good business for hell, we was crankin’ them in like nobody’s business. It’s sort of like natural evolution, you know - survival of the fittest.” Schwartz realized too late that he’d overplayed his hand.
“Do the math,” said God, ignoring Schwartz’ mistake. “You’ll find it’s counter productive.”
“How so?” Schwartz wanted to know.
“Instead of supportin’ one another in their quest, they’re competin’ until there is only one left standin’.” Said God. “How’re ya gonna keep the population goin’ with only one person left? Ha - that reminds me of a human joke that wouldn’t be civil to repeat here.”

“Yeah, I know that one. I’m the one who made it up.”

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Oh God - Part Seven

Part Seven
Oh, don’t kid yourself, there will be a final disaster, and it won’t be a kind one neither, or one that anybody can survive. But I’m not tellin’ what it is just yet ‘cause I ain’t gonna’ be the one to bring it about. One lousy slip up on my part an’ the whole business goes to hell in a handbasket - literally. It seems the “them” of ‘us an’ them’ have allowed their greed to get the best o’ them an’ now there’s an “Us an’ them” within the “Them” department fightin’ for supremacy. It’s a tussle between oil an’ money. Well, ya can’t drink oil an’ ya can’t eat money as they’ll find out sooner or later. Before ya know it, these ‘us an’ thems’ will split again until they’re all standin’ as individuals – isolated and alone. It’ll take ‘em a while to realize that but by then it’ll be too late. Well I suppose I’m alludin’ to where all this is gonna end, but suffice it to say it will surely come up for discussion at the next dinner meetin’.
Dinner was exceptionally tasty this time, delicious and fillin’, and the mood was no less exuberant. Schwartz, who I knew had been anticipatin’ this dinner so he could argue his points durin’ the discussion, had come a little early in anticipation of this “family” dinner.
“HOLY SHIT!” he started to exclaim, seein’ the delicious fare on the table, when a deep alto voice drifted authoritatively out of the kitchen.
“No cussin’,” it said. “This is a family dinner an’ we don’t allow that kind o’ language at the table.”

What the . . . they had spies all over, Schwartz thought. This wasn’t goin’ to be that easy. In the meantime, St. Peter rolled is eyes in disgust. How could that woman who was stone deaf hear what was goin on in the dinin’ room? He wouldn’t pursue it ‘cause he didn’t want to know. Well, Schwartz wanted to know, It was all he could do to keep from crawlin’ under the table to see what was hidden there. He’d have to be very careful if he was to win God over to the devil’s side.
 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Oh God Part Six

Part Six
Well we laughed out loud indeed at my interpretation of the acronym.as did all the others around the table. It kind of served to break the ice a bit because after that and there was a lot of conversation and good humour. We sat long into the night in friendly conversation. When we finally packed it in for the night, we all had a feeling of satisfaction and comradery. I wasn’t sure whether Schwartz had bought into our family plan or found himself as a double agent. Either way, it didn’t matter a bit. The ‘Us and Them’ problem would likely persist until there was a total demise of all life forms on earth. It would of course be caused by humans in their insatiable desire to take over MY domain.
If I’da been smart, I’da left the wolf in charge. At least he knew how to keep an even keel in the life cycle. Well, let’s face it, I can make another one anyways. In fact, I can do a lot o’ things different, like adjust the brain size o’ mankind. In fact, what I’d do is to give him dominion over his own family dinner table an’ nothin’ else. I could’a done a lot o’ things better but it was the first world I’d built in a long time so I guess I can allow myself some room for error. The other ones turned out much better.

At the next meetin’ we’ll have to get into the business of the ‘us an’ them’ again. I noticed a number o’ people down on earth talkin’ about it already so it must have some degree of importance in somebody’s mind. Look at that! It’s playin out exactly like I said. It must be about time to send Jesus down there to straighten them knuckle heads out once an’ for all. If anybody can convince them to abandon their predatory ways, it’s him. A thousand years of love an’ peace on earth ought’a be enough time for people to get used to the idea. Then we’ll see whether I’ll need to invoke my third an’ final disaster.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Oh God - Part Five

Part Five
Well you can bet you’re bottom dollar that Schwartz would be surprised by the invitation. He saw it as an opportunity to lord it over us (forgettin’ that I AM the Lord in the first place), so he accepted the invitation. He even joined us in askin’ a blessin’ for the food at the table although he balked a little at the “fellowship o’ those around it”. We soon dispelled that with the laughter and banter around the table, a lot of it includin’ him as a new family member.
About the time dessert was finished an’ everyone was feelin’ well satisfied I decided to start the purpose of the meetin’ off. “Schwartz,” I said, “the world has gotten itself into a very dangerous situation. It’s on the brink of destroyin’ itself, an’ I don’t think anybody wants that. We got one chance to rectify that. One chance! ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’. With that I want to say welcome to our family. You are one of us as we also are of you. That way we can discuss all our differing opinions and by the end of our discussions we can come to a consensus. If that’s not possible, we can hold it over until the next meeting.”
“It seems a little iffy to me,” said Schwartz suspiciously.
“In your vernacular, LOL to us with that,” I said
“WHAT?” said Schwartz.
“LOL – Lots of Luck!”

“Oy,” said Schwartz. “You don’t understand the acronyms. LOL means ‘laughed out loud.’”

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Fantasy in a Wine Glass

Fantasy in a Wine Glass
Is it old age creeping up? Is it perhaps an over-active imagination, or is it perhaps the magic of the wine glass? I don’t know, but something strange is going on. Whatever it is gives me the shivers.
Well, I was thinking of doing some clay modelling, something I hadn’t done in a while and since the Missus’ birthday was coming up, I thought I’d make her a wine glass to celebrate her birthday with. So I put together a number of little Styrofoam balls for a stem and a bigger one at the top for the bowl and a medium one at the bottom for the base. Well I’d done some experimenting with the Styrofoam and found that it melted right down when I baked the clay, so it would be perfect.
Wrapping just the right amount of clay around the Styrofoam and smoothing it around until it was just about right I set it in the oven to bake. When it finally came out of the oven and cooled off - it was crooked! Not only that, but the stem was too fat. Nothing in the world would straighten the stem out. It was just not going to be a wine glass - - - - but - - - - it could be a trophy cup – a loving cup. Yeah, that’s it – a loving cup! So I carefully measured and made two identical handles and baked them too, gluing them onto the (now) loving cup. Well it wasn’t too neat, but I can sand them down I guess.
Once everything dries properly, I take it in hand to begin the sanding process and suddenly I can’t believe my eyes. This is no loving cup! What I’m holding in my hand is a statue of an indigenous woman carrying a basket of something on her head for heaven’s sake! The Missus agrees. That’s exactly what it looks like! (she says).
So now I’m wondering what spirit is behind all this. Is it the wine missing from the original goblet, or the glass complaining that it turned out crooked. By the time I get finished painting the blessed thing, who knows what it will be? I guess I’ll just call it creative art and let it go at that, but it begs the question: am I the artist who created the piece, or just the messenger of what the piece wanted to say? You often hear that from stone cutters and wood carvers.

Interesting.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Oh God - Part Four

Part Four
Well, there ain’t no use cryin over spilt milk. I can think of a lot o’ things I could’a done better. When I made man’s brain bigger, I didn’t take his predatory nature into account. Him an’ the wolf used to walk around the world namin’ all the animals. They was friends at the time. Next thing I know, man is goin’ around killin’ all the wolves ‘cause he figures they’re pests. Go figure. An’ then he gets in there an’ kills all the other critters. That was different of course ‘cause they needed the food. But they didn’t know when to stop! They went way overboard until it became nothin’ more’n sport. It wasn’t long before everything was more or less hunted to extinction an’ people began to realize that once it was done, hunters would no longer come an’ pay big money to hunt no more ‘cause there wasn’t nothin’ left to hunt.
Well, would you believe it, but it was Schwartz who put together a promotional package to bring it tourists to come an’ just look at these unique and giant animals instead o’ killin them. They got together to sit around a table like the one I just smashed to smithereens an’ he pitched them the benefits of a sustaining tourism business. It was a good idea at the time an’ they all bought in. Of course, humans bein’ what they are were soon competin’ with one another for the tourism dollars. They should’a kept up their family dinners, but they got on their feet a bit an’ first thing ya know they was back at the ‘us an’ them’ business.

The thing I wanna emphasise is that Schwartz, even though he was moonlightin’ from his job at Satan’s place, set an example of how humanity should behave. So even though he’s on the other side, he’s not all that different from us. An’ that’s why we should welcome him to our table an’ treat him as part of our family. Remember when you asked me to, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”? That was no joke. That’s exactly what we gotta do an’ I’ll do it too. I strongly suggest you adopt that same philosophy. I know he’ll be suspicious to start but if we demonstrate to him that we are sincerely serious, he’ll come around to the idea that we are all the same. It’s the only way to eliminate the “Us and Them” an’ replace it with we, the family.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Oh God - Part Three

Part Three
“First of all, we need to clean up the mess I made. It really needs to be spotless. Jesus, you used to be a pretty classy carpenter. You can make a new table – but none outa cedar or gopher wood. I want that black ironwood from Vietnam. It’s gotta be smooth an’ shiny an’ black so you can see yer face in it. But don’t say nothin’ to yer mother. She gets hold o’ that Nellie Van de Goor an you’ll have them complainin’ about nepotism. I don’t need another lecture on how to conduct my business right now. Just keep it under yer hat ‘til it gets done.”
It seemed that God was regaining his dignified demeanor somewhat. Not that he apologized for the mess he’d made in the room, but he seemed to be developin’ a plan of action, judgin’ by the determined glint in his eye. “Family,” he said. “That’s where it all starts. I sure screwed that up right from the start. Well, what’s done is done, but we can fix that.  That’s why we gotta clean up this room in pristine fashion. From now on, this room will no longer be the boardroom, but a family /dinin’ room. This is where we’ll sit and share a meal an’ talk about things important to each of us. What we will do here is say what we gotta say, an’ listen to what others got to say. Then we’ll discuss ways we can come together on our differences – respectfully.

“The first thing we’ll do is to pull off that Tower of Babel stunt as soon as we meet again. If they didn’t learn the lesson first time, they’ll maybe get it the second turn around. That’ll take care of the acronym business once an’ for all. It should provide some good entertainment while we’re at it. Secondly, we’ll invite Schwartz to dinner an’ make him welcome as part of our family. I know that’ll be hard for you folks cause you’re as bull headed as he is, but you gotta try – no, not try but actually succeed. Remember, I said “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us”. I wasn’t kiddin’ about that. Of course, it ain’t gonna be easy, but we gotta somehow et rid o’ that “us an’ them” attitude. That started right back there in the Garden of Eden an it’s high time it got sorted out. I should’a never kicked them out’s the garden where I could’a kept a closer eye on ‘em. Maybe I should’a provided a dinner table for ‘em to sit an’ eat an’ discuss things. They was so combative right from the get go, we could’a had a better outcome if we’d had a reasonable conversation ahead o’ events rather than after the fact.