It started so gaily.
But the volleyball hit the floor before I could whack it upward.
That last comment in the cascade included the question
What made you the lucky poet whom God speaks through?
While the comment’s “you” is me and my claim to prophecy was indeed tongue-in-cheek (and perceived as such by the commenter), I could not get past the fact that many people do claim (seriously and stridently) to speak for God. Many of those who are serious and strident are also willing to coerce people they cannot convince. Many of those who are willing to coerce are also willing to kill people they cannot coerce.
Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
While I cannot just keep it tongue-in-cheek, I still see the wisdom in Oscar Wilde’s remark that life is too important to be taken seriously. So I will continue semiseriously.
Sometimes it is hard to distinguish literature from either literal truth or bogus claims to tell it. Now I will tweak the font as a gentle reminder that the rest of this post is just lit. A much-revised version with the title Satori from a Consulting Gig appears in an anthology of weird stories.
Management consultants are often hired by executives who want an outsider with “MBA” after their name to bless what they have already decided to do. While God could bless well enough on His own, He did want advice from a management consultant on how to get out of a procedural rut.
Aware that the complexity of the Real World (and how to thrive in it) was beyond immediate comprehension, He had endowed some otherwise unremarkable creatures with abilities to observe and learn, to imagine and reason, to build bridges and write poems. He had tried repeatedly to nudge them in good directions by inspiring a few of them, with a little success and a lot of failure.
As He told the consultant:
I keep it simple and age-appropriate, but they oversimplify half of what I tell them and obfuscate the rest. The Golden Rule gets thru as something to proclaim but not as something to practice. Absurdly much of what they think has been revealed to them is just their own bigotry and bullshit.
The consultant read over the case histories and concluded that there was a personnel issue:
U have been inspiring people who mean well but score high on credulity and low on humor. Maybe it would help to go outside the box. For example, U could inspire a nerdy atheist who digs sacred music and pushes the envelope of haiku poetry.
God was skeptical:
Does anybody like that exist?
The consultant smiled the enigmatic Mona Lisa smile that sometimes appeared when he was moonlighting as a Zen master. He leaned forward and spoke softly:
Does anybody like U exist?
At that moment, God attained enlightenment.