Note: Republished from November 24, 2019
SOMEWHERE IN THE FUTURE:
Grandpa, tell us again about the bad old days.
Well, Ismail, the 21st century started out really, really sad, but . . .
Did people really get run over by trucks, and people get shot in church?
I'm afraid so, Ismail.
Well, to get the context, you have to start at the beginning. Back in those days both the clergy and the Crown had to tell lies to stay in power, and the truth was irrelevant.
Do you mean "relative"?
That too, but the point is we must never tell lies anymore.
Will those terrible times ever come back?
Not a chance, boy. Not since the year a strange thing happened and our people found out the Truth.
What year was that?
Well, to be exact, it was the year the species homo sapiens almost lost the world to a curse.
What was that, Grandpa?
Well, the nations were united and they wanted to blow this one city off the map.
Ha! It just seemed, I guess, a good idea to them at the time. You have to understand, people were different back then, and jealousy and envy were all the "rage"! There was so much hate all over the world . . .
Do you mean "hatred"?
Yes, to be exact, but anyway . . .
Well it was funny, but the obvious solution came from a surprising direction. It was a paradox.
Do you mean "irony"?
Both! The results were unexpected, but they were also ironic, in the sense that we were saved by those we had always hated the most. And we should have known; the word was implied, and . . .
Do you mean "inferred"?
Actually both. There had been hints that something big was coming, and some people GOT IT. Work with me here, Ismail.
Sorry Grandpa. But what year was that?
It was the year all Hell was breaking out all over and this very strange thing happened. Well – you know the Rest of the Story!
Yes, Grandpa. Thank you.
You're welcome. Is there anything else you want to know?
Yes. Where do babies come from?
Well, I'm starting to get sleepy myself, so you'll have to ask your mother Hagar in the morning.
[His sister Sarah laughs.]
Okay kids; it's time to say our prayers and go to bed now.
Yea! Show us again Grandpa.
Okay – first you face true North and close your eyes. Try to remember if you've been good all day. If not, you pick up your right foot and kick yourself in the left leg. Then you turn right and face the East and say thanks. Then you turn right and face the South pole, the cold South pole, and say thanks. Then you turn right and face the prevailing Westerly wind and say thanks. Remember, thanksgiving is everything, seven times a day.
Then you turn right, face the North star, and call on the God of the Four Winds. You get off that high horse and put four on the floor, your two hands and your two knees, like the prophet Elijah, with your ankles crossed, your face on the floor, your hands on your head and your elbows on your knees. And if you want to look smaller, you just squeeze, like this. Then we say "Thank you Father!" And now you're ready to go to bed and get a good night's sleep.
Goodnight Ismail. Goodnight Sarah. Goodnight Grandma. And you too, Jon Boy.
– P.S. Back to the present: This is not entirely fictitious. The rest of the story is still being written, so here's the annual holiday classic, "Four diplomats walk into a bar":
In 2013, four diplomats walked into a bar. They sit down at a table and a waitress says, "Would you like menus?" and they say yes. "Would you like something to drink?" she says.
One said "Just water"; one said beer; one said "wine"; and the atheist ordered a mixed drink.
As she left them to get the drinks, in came a young man who had just escaped from an insane asylum. He sat down at a table nearby and listened to the four dips talk. One of them put down his menu and said, "Well, have you made up your minds?"
"Hold your horses," said one of them. "What's your hurry?"
The atheist said, "I'm getting a headache; I think I'll just have another drink."
One of them said, "You know what I really want? I want to bless the food before we eat. After all, it is Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah. That won't happen again for over 70,000 years."
"No way," said one. "I'm facing the wrong direction."
"No way," said another. "I'm facing the wrong direction too."
"No way," said the atheist. "You're all crazy!"
One of them said, "Well, in America we still have some rights to be crazy."
"I will overlook that demeaning remark," the boy from the asylum thought to himself.
The waitress came back, took their orders, and left with the menus, overlooking the boy in her haste.
One of the diplomats cleared his throat again and says, "Come on. How about it?"
One of the others said, "If you're going to bring up religion again, I'm leaving."
The boy from the asylum stood up and says, "Hey, just a minute here. I can help you solve your problem."
"All right," said the atheist. "Go ahead if you think you're so smart!" So the boy says:
"OK. Let us stand and thank the God of the Four Winds. Then you face the prevailing westerly wind and thank Him. Then you face the south pole and thank Him. Then you face the East and thank Him. Then you face the North Star and thank God – and if you're an atheist, just have a moment of silence and thank 'whatever'!
"Then you get down off your high horse and put four on the floor – your two hands and your two knees, like this. Then you cross your ankles, put your head on the floor with your elbows on your knees, and your hands on your head, like this, and if you want to look smaller, you just squeeze and make yourself look like a ball!
"And NOW you're ready to pray for peace. Who wants to go first?"
The kid got up off the floor, and looked around. The door was just closing and the four dips were gone. "Another miracle," he says. "Now I can finally eat in PEACE!"
The waitress came and put the four orders on the table, and looked around. The boy says, "I think they just went to the bathroom."
As soon as the waitress was gone, he says "Praise the Lord; the Lord provides." He drank the water and ate all the food that he could, and sat back down at his table. A waiter came by and said, "Oh, did you want to see a menu?" And the boy says:
"No thanks. I'm not hungry any more."
He limped out the door, and "Happy Thanksgiving" he cried. "God bless us every one!"
IT WAS A VERY DARK AND STORMY NIGHT.
PSS: Note to Tiny Tim: You can be too big for God to use, but you can never be too SMALL.© Curtis Dahlgren
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