Tuesday, May 5, 2009
God and Me
I had not intended to bring this topic up because of all the possible attendant media hoopla, but circumstances prevailed. So here's the revelation, I talk with God. It is not your standard, on your knees or at the dinner table, one-way communication either. In fact, it's a Jerry Falwellian type of connection. There is routine repartee. I didn't always have this communications channel; it presented itself when I changed cell phone carriers recently.
Somehow, the combination of AT&T on my office line, mixed with Sprint on the cell phone created this phenomenon. It only works when I use my cell phone within three feet of my office phone. I'm not sure whose network is responsible.
A few weeks back I misdialed my urologist's number (I can't say what that number is for obvious reasons). A pleasant and gender-neutral voice answered but it was not the receptionist at the doctor's office because she is definitely not gender-neutral, if you get my drift.
"Thank you for your call, it is very important to us. God is either away from the phone or on the line with another entity, please hold. Your expected wait time is less than 3 minutes." This was followed by music that sounded suspiciously like Jim Morrison and the Doors as covered by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Well, the "God" reference got my attention, so I hung on instead of up.
As you might expect, the actual wait time was less than three minutes but only by a hair. God apparently follows the dictum of, "If you can't be on time, be early." I like that.
"God speaking," came another pleasant and gender-neutral voice, except that this voice had a slight reverb, but less reverb than a Julio Eglesias recording.
"How can I help you, Bruce, or do you prefer 'Boots'?"
I was taken aback that the speaker knew who I was without introduction (probably caller I.D.) but the voice also knew that some in my family call me 'Boots' (caller I.D., not!). It was the first of several clues that eventually convinced me that I was really, actually, sure 'nuff, talking with God.
I explained that I hadn't been trying to call God and that it was an accident.
"That's often the way it works," said God. "In any case, you've reached me, so perhaps we can talk a bit and maybe learn some things. There are a number of things, for instance, that I would like to know about you."
Well, if there's something that I always spark to it's talking about myself, so I agreed.
"Why do you shave your head?" God asked. "After all, I arranged for you to have a full head of hair with only modest male pattern baldness occurring after you reached 40, but you razor it off every day or two."
I explained that the growth pattern--thin on top and back, thick on the sides--plus the aggressive graying, made me look a lot like Slobodan Milosevic, the unpopular Serb. I added that Slobodan wasn't with us anymore.
"He's not with me either." said God.
Well, anyway, I continued, now I look a lot like Ben Kingsley.
"Oh, he's the one who starred in "Gandhi", said God. " Great actor; loved him in 'Sexy Beast'. Speaking of Gandhi, now there's an interesting guy. He followed the Hindu path during his temporal years. I see him often. He tells great jokes; a real ham."
So, I observed, it is the Hindus who have the secret to eternal life.
"Well, they get lots of it right," said God, "but miss a few elements here and there. I can't fault them. They make a legit effort. And they certainly treat their cows better than most of the other earthly sects."
I asked God if this meant that there were other religions represented in heaven, or wherever God was.
"Oh sure,' God said. "We're an equal opportunity destination."
That begs the question, I continued, if it's not the specific religion that gets one there, what is the secret?
"That, I'm sure you will understand, is classified information," said God. "While this is our "Help Line" we don't offer that much help. You will have to determine the answer on your own. If we just gave out THE ANSWER willy-nilly, all of the heavy lifting of spirituality would be eliminated. After all, mental heavy lifting is the journey and the journey is the point."
This line of thought was getting a bit too circular for me so I changed the subject. I asked God if "God" was a real name or just something created by the King James translators.
"My real handle is a series of energy bursts, interspersed with dollops of space-time continuum but that doesn't translate well into any existing language. The Greeks tried but gave up and went back to nature worship," said God. "I've always been fond of 'Yahweh', 'Shaphat' and 'Jehovah' but don't care much for 'Elohim', 'El Shaddai' or 'Hupsistos'. Some of those early Jewish writers went a little overboard. 'God' works fine; I use it for autographs."
"Look," said God, "This has been instructive, Bruce, but I've got some other calls to take so let's have one more question each and pick it up another time."
I agreed and let God ask the next question.
"Why is it," asked God, "That your are so good at lag putts but miserable at anything between two and five feet?"
I said that if I knew the answer to that one that I would be a slightly wealthier man. I opined that it probably had to do with some repressed childhood trauma.
"Yeah, right," said God.
It was my turn. I asked God if the earth was really created in six days.
"I get this one all the time," said God. "Time is a relative notion. Look how far that simple concept took Einstein; Austria to Harvard with a visit to Oslo thrown in. By the way, he and Gandhi have become pals here but I, as I so often do, digress."
"Anyhow," God continued, "you have to bear in mind that eternity is really quite a long haul. Most humans have trouble with the concept. Some perspective helps. Imagine yourself sitting through an entire beginners' piano recital at Madame Eloise's School of Music. Eternity is longer than that."
For me, this was a "Wow" moment.
"Earth days," God continued, "Are merely a construct determined by the earth's rotation speed. While I was creating earth, you may recall, I was also putting the rest of universe together. Some of my other trillions of orbs rotate much faster and some much slower than earth, so the definition of 'day' gets all cockeyed once you venture out past your little patch of the Milky Way. Let's just say that the Old Testament writers did the best they could with the information that they had at the time."
"They aimed for the perfect metaphor but sometimes missed," God said. "That can be a problem, especially when interpreted too literally. For instance, I really need to spend some time resolving this snake handling business. The snakes are on my case big time."
"Well," God was obviously wrapping up the call, "It's been real, Boots. I hope you don't mind that I use the family nickname. I feel we've connected at a familial level, especially regarding the hair issue, which I fully understand. I think that you should re-evaluate the cause of the putting woes. Give my best to Mimi and the pets. Let's do this again."
I've decided not to take advantage of this communications coup by calling God weekly, although I do have many more questions. I don't want to be a pest. Even so, from time-to-time, I plan to ring God and schmooze a few minutes. When I do, I'll post a de-briefing on the blog and share it with my little corner of earth man and womankind.
Observoid of the Day: You can watch yourself wink but you cannot watch yourself blink.