Lost Letters of the Old Testament
Noah’s Arc, Day 20
I had an interesting conversation with Joe today.
We were mucking out the Deck Eight elephant stalls like usual when out of nowhere he asks me this really odd question: what if, he says, we were all supposed to die in that flood? What if water is the earth’s form of popula- tion control and we’re all just holes in the condom?
I told him he’s crazy; I told him what Noah says, that we were spared from the Great Holy Flood of Divine Retribution and afforded the great privilege of repopulating the earth. I thought that would satisfy him, but Joe just shook his head. He said: what if Noah was wrong? What if he made the whole God thing up? What if, somewhere between the jug whiskey bend- ers and the tea parties he has with the albino donkey in his room, Noah has lost his grip on reality?
I reminded him that the albino donkey helps Noah to pray. Everyone knows that.
Yet still, Joe persisted. What kind of a God, he asked, would leave the fate of every living creature on earth in fallible human hands? For it is we, and not God (says Joe) who force-feed partially masticated caterpillars to the bald eagle hatchlings so they don’t starve to death; we who train the border collies to keep the sheep flock from stampeding, thus ensuring the future fate of the wool production industry; we who teach the gorillas sign language so they can request pet kittens.
Before I could comment, Noah’s reedy voice rang out through the fetid semi-darkness, ordering us back to work. Joe picked up his broom and resumed his sweeping, and he hasn’t asked a question since.
Poor Joe. He’ll feel better once we’re back on dry land. I think we all will.