Why guess when you can answer correctly?
19th August 2011
A MERCIFULLY BRIEF ONE-ACT PLAY (best read over breakfast)
(Note: "Gumshoe" is early 20th century slang for "detective".)
The phone rings.
A scruffy man in a wrinkled suit and a crumpled hat behind a cluttered desk in a dusty office answers it.
"Good morning, Deity Identification Services. How may I help you?"
After a moment, a hesitant, faltering, mousy male voice responds:
"Um, ah, ahem . . . Hi! . . . I, uh, wonder if you could help me?"
The man in the wrinkled suit, closely resembling Humphrey Bogart's legendary caricature of movie detective Sam Spade, stubs out his cigarette in a glass ashtray and chuckles like some friendly uncle.
"That's why we're here, my friend. What's the problem?"
After another delay, the voice stammers: "I-I . . . I . . . I just don't know what to believe anymore."
A slight pause. "Yes, there's a lot of that going around these days," said the wrinkled, avuncular man adjusting the brim of his crumpled hat and flipping his feet up onto the cluttered desk. "That's why our business is booming."
The voice on the phone sounded terrified.
"Y-Your ad I saw i-it in the phone book it says: Find eternal peace. Ch-choose the right G-God your i-i-i-inner child desires. And I thought . . . m-maybe that's what I need? M-maybe I chose the wrong god!"
Sam cleared a space on his cluttered desk. His voice suddenly became the essence of sincerity. "Well, we can help you find that out, my friend. No longer do you need to be uncertain. We can help you prove whatever you need to prove to yourself, just like real churches do, only we won't force the wrong god on you. We won't make you believe anything you don't want to believe, because even if you are totally delusional and simply cannot be repaired, we have a whole panoply of programs that are guaranteed to make you very happy, secure, and not afraid of anything."
Suddenly the mood of the man on the phone lightened, and he asked: "W-wow, how can you do that!?"
"By analyzing all the factors that make you choose a God in the first place," the man in the hat answered. "Almost everyone who ever lives chooses a god, whether they know it or not. But not everyone. There are alternatives, but few choose them. People can't think all the time, it seems. They need a place to rest, to know they're safe. That's what we help people find."
Noticeably perked up, the man on the phone spoke with confidence. "That sounds like a good program for me. What are my options?"
Suddenly Sam looked like a fisherman about to reel in his catch, mugging in a mirror while adjusting his tie and clearing his throat.
"Well, first we begin with whether you need a god or not. As I said, most people do, but not everybody. So we take down your family history, your schooling, your marital record and your job history, analyze this data with your answers on a brief and basic philosophical preferences test, do random interviews with some of your closest friends and associates, crosscheck that with appropriate demographic and sociological data, take note of what you've read and written over the years, and then meld that with a database of mental illnesses from the standard manuals (latest count: 379 different psychological diseases) and believe me, we ARE going to find something wrong with you. All of this will be used to prove you are completely crackers. This process costs a little under ten thousand dollars.
"However, if you are willing to admit to us at the outset that you are completely insane instead of making us prove it, we can get you into a nice comfortable religious program that will last a lifetime and beyond for somewhere between five or six hundred dollars. How does that sound?"
The voice on the phone, clearly revealing himself as bipolar, was suddenly ecstatic.
"That sounds great! Because I'm definitely completely insane! Sign me up! What a bargain!"
"Excellent choice my man," said the man in the hat, pushing some buttons on a computer and pulling some papers out of a drawer. "Your payment has been received. Now we can begin the work."
"Great," said the guy on the phone. "I'm ready."
"Are you. Then let's begin. As God made man in his own image, supposedly, your parents made you in their own image, definitely. Therefore, the God you choose, the God who is right for you, is always chosen to reflect the image of your parents in a futile yet successful attempt to regain that sublime feeling of oceanic security that you hopefully felt as a child under one year old controlled by the loving eyes of your parents, who were your universe, in the same way that God becomes your universe in your later years."
The man in the hat adjusted his legs and lit another cigarette as he continued his explanation.
"If your parents were stern and wrathful yet righteous, odds are you'll wind up a fundamentalist, chattering the same incantations that they did, perfectly happy in your life cycle. But if you live in a city, this is less likely to happen, as heterogeneity always leads to instability, and old traditions, like leaves in autumn, give way to new ones, or at least newfangled bastardizations of old ones. By the same token if your parents were groovy progressives, you might find the most comfort in Gaia worship, with the tangible objects of divinity endlessly parading before you, and God glistening in every shaft of sunlight.
"Or, if you're more of an introvert, the resonant corridors of introspective Buddhism may be for you, by making all your troubles disappear in a higher dimension of vaporous yet profound abstractions."
The man on the phone posed a question.
"But what if all these ancient traditions are just phony mythologies aimed at hoodwinking people into subservience, these religions that take your money and then send your sons to wars and your daughters to brothels? Even if my parents had a certain faith, how can I possibly follow this degrading dogma when I know how much of is fake, plagiarized, distorted and misused?"
The man in the wrinkled suit warmed to the plight of this distressed seeker.
"Well, then you are a pilgrim after the true light and it is a pleasure to speak with you, sir. Here's the real problem with that path. First, the resistance of the 'official' religions: I don't need to tell you the verdicts of the Salem witch trials, for instance, or the constant assassinations today of anybody who tries to blow the whistle on the shadowy characters who control the business world. And second, the quicksand of historical records, with which everybody uses everything to prove anything.
"The real secret they keep hidden from you is the the real God is inside your own heart, but it has been paralyzed and deactivated by religions, who crush the conscienceness of individuals and regiment it into barbarian savagery in the service of one lord or another. This expropriation of your soul by the imaginary godman prevents you from right action, because what you have been taught clearly does not gibe with what you see with your own eyes and know to be true.
"In every species of every living thing on every planet in the known and unknown universe, the only thing that ever resurrects is the next generation. The quest for immortality is a fool's chase. Get it out of your mind, no matter how skilled a scientist you happen to be, that you may ever achieve it, nor would you want it if you could.
"And yet this quest for immortality, from the time of Osiris and before, has always been the No. 1 priority of human beings, underlying all other areas of attention and endeavor. Quelling this insecurity is the sine qua non of human thought. The only way to put the devil to sleep is to believe in a lie, to pretend he isn't there through the magical powers of a being who is stronger. Making God stronger makes humanity weaker. Making humanity stronger makes God stronger. And through it all, the devil never sleeps.
"Plus, when you seek and find the absolute truth, it pretty much guarantees that you'll be penniless for the rest of your life . . . "
The man on the phone interrupted.
"What's the possibility of becoming a Jew and worshipping this G-d they have? They seem to be on top all the time. They've always been nice to me, and they're always talking about ethics and championing important social causes. They look like they've really figured out how to get ahead and be happy."
"That's a popular choice!" said the celestial salesman, calculating the extra price the Jewish conversion program at Deity Identification Services gouged from those who chose it. "It's all a matter of focus on who you want to be. In the case of Judaism, the 'why' really doesn't matter, but in all the other choices you could possibly make, it does."
The voice on the phone crackled with indecision. "I just want some relief from this constant worry."
"Well, for starters, why don't we just hustle you down the street to the Church of the Blessed Incarnation and get you some forgiveness? It sounds like you really need it."
"No, I can't go back there," the man on the phone lamented. "The priest is a gay Jew child molester."
"Well, then, how about a nice Presbyterian counseling session?"
The man responded: "I think I need hints, not someone hammering on me."
Sam shuffled papers on his cluttered desk. "So, you need most of this done for you, rather than having to do it yourself. I'm sensing that you want an easy comfortable program without too much stress, or rigorous ritual."
"Right on target. I just want this done, with as little muss and fuss as possible. I just want the worry to be gone."
"Well, one choice you have is to enter our FDA-approved Opiate of the Masses program in which our special cocktail of DMT-LSD-psilocybin-ibogaine-ayahuasca and passion fruit will produce inside what's left of your mind a guaranteed-to-please authority figure from whose tenets you will not deviate a whit for the rest of your life and beyond."
"Naw, I like my f-fantasies real," said the man with the occasional stutter on the phone.
"Well, if you don't follow an existing creed (which is always a sound idea) or don't have the inner drive to conjure up your own recipe, you're faced with a choice: saying your life doesn't matter, or saying that it does. Because if your life doesn't matter, than your death doesn't either, does it?
"And if you're saying that your life does matter, then you better get your ass in gear and figure out why you're here. A life of no use to anyone else is a life better not to have been lived.
"The only way you can be sure you're on the right track is when your idea is validated by the sparkle in someone else's eyes who didn't expect to be asked the question. That is the ONLY way to be sure your perception is actually real.
"Sometimes I think that if you really have to ask why you're here then there's really no chance of you ever knowing, because the answer is so obvious, like the air, or the ocean, or the way a baby looks at its mother. Like a tumbler clicking in the complex glittering amethyst and topaz crystal of gratitude, suddenly the door opens and the universe pours in. Learn to process it and identify the particles.
"All it takes is a simple thank you, and the choir of synchronicity that accompanies gratitude funnels you right out into the universal vibe, where everybody knows everything and the sun is always shining, except at night, of course.
"Faith is that little shaft of light you just put in someone's brain by an unexpected favor for which no debt is accrued, only the knowledge that light given is light acquired. The gift always returns to the giver. The lie they really told you was that there was ever any chance of losing. All you ever had to do was try."
At that exact moment, just like when people you have been talking to about the real 9/11 story say they can't hear any more of this because they have some very important matter to attend to, the man on the phone hung up.
He didn't wait to hear Sam say . . .
"Never forget that how we treat the beings below us is how we will be treated by the beings above us."
After a short pause, the phone rang again.
And a wry grin creased the face of the scruffy man in the wrinkled suit and crumpled hat behind the cluttered desk in the dusty office, as he said . . .
"Good morning, Deity Identification Services . . . "
John Kaminski is a writer who lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida, urging people to understand that no problem in the world can be authentically addressed without first analyzing tangents caused by Jewish perfidy, which has subverted and diminished every aspect of human endeavor throughout history. Support for his work is wholly derived from people who can understand what he’s saying and know what it means.
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