Thursday, April 19, 2012

I Didn't Sign Up for This

I know, I know ... I posted yesterday and two days before that too.  But some weeks are like ... this one.

You see, today has not been a good day so far.  Tomorrow is not shaping up to be a good day either.  Apparently God has decided that I am in need of patience, charity, and humility, because fate has arranged it such that I am frustrated, infuriated, and humiliated.  It stings.  To make matters worse, nature is decidedly out of harmony with my feelings.  Spring has Sprung.  Grass is greening, buds are budding, birds are nesting, and couples are mothing (as we would say at my college) like they're onto a good thing with no time to waste.  And I—I just want to crawl into bed with the new Rex Stout novel my brother gave me.  Murderrrrrrr, eeeyes; that's more like it.

Come to think of it, Rex Stout provides a good analogy for my state of mind at the moment.  Most days I feel like Ariche Goodwin (if Archie's state of mind can be separated from his masculinity, which seems dubious—but I digress).  Today, I feel more like Nero Wolfe.  Ring for the orchids and beer, put a hold on the sob stories, and don't expect me to get up out of my chair or shake hands.  Pfui.

I am not accustomed—as Wolfe is not—to being dealt problems which I cannot solve.  When I agreed to be holy, I didn't sign up for this.  In fact, I recall the Man with the contract murmuring something about his yoke being easy and his burden light.  We got side-tracked into a theological discussion about how that meshed with the existence of concentration camps and all, and he waved his hand and said "That is not the future you are looking for," and I signed.  Forgetting to read the fine print, wherein (my angelic advocate informs me) there's some phrase about being "perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect."  Huh.  I asked him how he thought I was supposed to achieve that one, and he said he didn't know any humans who'd made it on their own so far.

"Whaddaya mean, 'so far'?" I said.

"Since the beginning," said the advocate.

"Oh," I said.

"But," he added quickly, "I can still help you out."

"Oh?  How?"

"You start by returning the ticket."

"Come again?" I said.

"You start by returning the ticket.  The contract.  You know ..."  He shrugged, and his face crinkled amiably.

I looked down at the yellow paper in my hand.  "I don't know ...  Does he really take them back?"

"Always," said the advocate.

"Hm."  I looked at the paper again, and the lines swum before my eyes.  He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh at them ...  I am a worm and no man ...  At nightfall, weeping enters in ...  I trod them down in my anger ...  Thou shalt not ...  He chastiseth ... Let not your hearts be troubled ...

I folded up the contract and slipped in back into my breast pocket.  "I think I'll hang onto this a little longer."

His finger started to tremble a little, and he jabbed it towards the place where the contract lay.  "Really?  You saw that last line, didn't you?"

I didn't have to pull the paper out again; that section I knew by heart.  "Oh yeah—'Let not your hearts be troubled.'  What about it?"

"Don't you think that's rather absurd, commanding people not to be upset, not to worry?  Upset and worry are—"  He paused for thought— "normal parts of human life.  He's demanding the impossible."

"Demanding?" I said.  "I thought he was, er, giving something."

The advocate inhaled through his nose, raised his eyes towards heaven, shrugged, and turned on his heel, muttering something about "fools" and "one born every minute."

There was a slight pulse next to me, as if something very large and heavy had just come to light at my side.  "I see your friend is leaving, mon frere."

"Y-es," I said.  "We had a little disagreement about a ... er, legal matter."

"I see."  I couldn't make out his expression, but there was a twinkle in his voice—if you know what I mean.  "Well," he said, "my only recommendation is that next time you need a lawyer, you find yourself an originalist.  You know—someone who acknowledges a word won't always change to mean what he would like it to mean."

"Like 'fool'," I said, with a touch of sarcasm.  Not that it was exactly relevant, but it stung.

"Oh, you heard him say that?  Weeeell ... I won't deny there's some truth in the label.  But, as I say, 'fool' means something different for us.  I think the Man has a particular affection for fools."

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