Category: Article


7 RULES FOR FOREIGNERS – #3 & 4

#3 – USE TEXT WHEN YOU WANT TO CANCEL A MEETING
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Perhaps in your country it would be obvious that if you have to cancel a meeting that you would call the person to let them know, and in the interest of efficiency and time-management, use the same call to reschedule. Since, in Ireland, making sense is not on the radar (along with efficiency or time-management), you do not want to do this. Instead, you should send a cryptic text message to cancel, something along these lines: Sorry. Something unexpected and important has come up. Will be in touch. This statement is full of ambiguity and open to various interpretations. The receiver will probably think that you are implying that you’re meeting with them is not important. They’ll think twice about arranging any further meetings with you. Score! You’ll have more time to put effort where it is needed – pretending that you are working. In Ireland, this is known as Win-Win!
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#4 – ONLY & ALWAYS TAKE CALLS WHEN YOU ARE IN A MEETING
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  • You make the caller feel especially loathsome and irreconcilably inferior by first responding in the manner discussed in the next rule. Although, in this case, the line of question should go like this
    • Who’s calling? (just as they’re in the middle of introducing themselves)
    • Do I know you? (before they’ve answered your first question)
    • Why are you disturbing me – calling me when I’m in the middle of an important meeting?! (then, without giving time to respond, either slam down the receiver, or disconnect them)
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  • Those in the meeting with you will be impressed and intimidated (with your show of mock importance and power) and believe that you are a person who knows how to cut the legs out from under another – especially when they do not deserve it. This will garner you large amounts of feigned admiration and kudos with those colleagues and associates. And they’ll do anything they can to avoid calling you – ever! Again, you claw back more time to collect more meaningless ‘friends’ on Facebook, skive off to play golf or go to the pub, or simply sit in your office staring at the ceiling, picking your nose, thinking nothing. R&R is critical to your overall state and effectiveness in your super-important position
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(To be continued…)

#1 – NEVER TAKE PHONE CALLS!

This is a general rule of thumb. Whatever you do, never answer the phone yourself. As everyone in business in Ireland knows – the phone is your enemy. Other countries see it differently and think the phone is a great time-saving communication device. Bloody foreigners!

#2 – HIRE A YOUNG WOMAN TO ANSWER THE PHONE FOR YOU 

  • Do not train her or pay her fairly. Just throw her in at the deep end and let her sink or swim as she turns herself into a human shield for you and attempts to deal with the abuse she gets from the people you should be dealing with. Don’t worry, she’s expendable. When she finally quits, which will probably be very soon, you can easily find a replacement, because young women trying to get a foot on the career-ladder know that they are lucky to have a job!
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  • Ensure she has an incomprehendable accent  or way of speaking, if considering hiring her,. This will make the caller give up easier and go away sooner.
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  • Questions to ask include:
    • Do you like filing? If she looks at her fingernails, you probably got yourself a good one there.
    • What is your favourite reading material? If she says its Hello! magazine, even better, as she will probably be too absorbed in flicking the pages to look at the full-color glossy pics of the latest batch of celebs as she files. Her nails, I mean.
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  • Role-play a typical call with her. See if she follows the time-proven Irish business way of receiving calls. The closer she comes to the following example, the more likely it is that she’s the girl for you.
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Girl: Hello, XYZ company, Mary speaking, how can I help you?

Caller: Hello Mary. My name is Bob Smith from ABC company. I was looking to arrange an appointment with Richard Cranium (that’s you!) and I was wondering if you could put me through please.

Girl: Sorry, who’s calling?

Caller: Bob Smith.

Girl: Where are you calling from?

Caller: Well… I’m calling from my car right now, but that’s okay – I’m on hands-free, no need to worry. Thanks for your concern.

Girl: What? No. I mean what company are you calling from.

Caller: Oh, I’m the managing director of ABC company, didn’t I say? Apologies.

Girl: And what’s it regarding?

Caller: I’d like to arrange an appointment with –

Girl: He’s not in right now.

Caller: Fair enough.

Girl: Do you want to leave a message on his voicemail?

Caller: No thanks. I –

Girl: Do you want to send him an email? Here’s his email address –

Caller: No, thanks, that’s fine. Maybe you could just let me know when he’ll be in next and I could call him then.

Girl: He’s not in right now.

Caller: Yes, I understand.

Girl: Okay, then. Bye –

Caller: Wait! I was wondering if you could tell me when he will be in and I’ll just give him a call then, if that’s okay with you.

Girl: Well, he won’t be in at all today.

Caller: All right. Do you by any chance know when… how can I put this?… when the next time he’ll be in will be?

Girl: Well, he won’t be in at all this week.

Caller: Oh, I see. Great. So, do you have any idea when he will – and I do stress the word ‘will’ – be – in – the – office – next?!

Girl: He won’t be in until next week.
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That’s as far as you need to go because at this stage, if not a whole lot sooner, the caller will have given up – either because he dropped the receiver and got down on his knees to find his suddenly lost sanity, or will have committed suicide by driving a ball-point pen into his brain via his eyeball socket! (And if you didn’t already know that – that’s why they call it a ball-point pen.)

(To be continued…)

What’s that old saying? When in Rome, behave like a gypsy, right? Well, the same applies when you’re in Ireland, especially when it comes to doing business. 

An area for immediate attention is the telephone, and in this section, we will learn the 7 Golden Rules of  ‘doing phone’ in Ireland. Do not try to make sense of what follows for nothing makes sense in this country, just do your best to get the gist and behave in ways that run counter to your common-sense. At times, when you feel like you are losing your mind, cheer yourself by telling yourself: Of course it makes no sense! If it did, I wouldn’t be in Ireland, would I?

Through a process of trial and error, I have compiled the most useful list of rules ever, designed to make your job a cinch and free you up to enjoy some of the unique pleasures living in this wonderful country offers those who have a misguided sense of entitlement, a pocketful of cash and loads of spare time on their hands.

Here is the basic mindset you need to understand before embarking on the rules:

Callers are unwanted gate-crashers at your party who’ll spoil the fun, zap your energy and waste your valuable time.

Therefore, feel no guilt as you treat them with the condescension and contempt they rightly deserve. Be suspicious of all callers – particularly those offering solutions or help – because the paranoia you will come to feel (as it is highly contagious in this land of 40-shades of ‘green’ – secret code for ‘jealousy’ and begrudgeriment) will be well founded.
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Since it is true  that everyone is out to get you, stitch you up, shop you to your superiors, stab you in the back, and take your job, does it not stand to reason to keep everyone at arm’s length by acting like an all-knowing, uncompassionate, impossibly arrogant and impervious asshole? Of course it does!
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Once you begin to master this attitude, you’ll blend into the herd of sheep surrounding you. Hidden in that crowd of baying wool, you’ll make your journey to the top more smoothly. A wolf in sheep’s clothing, as the saying goes.

In a nutshell: Callers are intruders, and intruders are trouble-makers! Steer clear at all costs.

This list of #7 Rules will prove especially invaluable to you if you find yourself in any of the following positions:

  • Director (of any company / charity / organisation)
  • CEO
  • Manager
  • HR person
  • Executive
  • sales person
  • politician
  • celebrity (an absolute must if you are with RTE)
  • bank manager
  • magazine or newspaper editor
  • customer conflict person
  • or any other kind of self-important stuffed-shirt or trumped-up git!

 (To be continued… if I get around to it! I’m really busy, you know.)

THOU SHALT NOT 7

This is right to the point. Don’t do adultery, right?

Simple, no?

Yes. As you know, and I don’t need to tell you, and you knew I was going to say that anyway… What, specifically do you mean by adultery?

Why don’t you look up that book of yours and stop bothering me with your silliness!

Dic says: Adultery [uhduhl-tuh-ree]   –noun, plural -ter·ies. voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than his or her lawful spouse. Does that about sum it up for you?

I have no qualms with that.

Good. So, I’m wondering… if the sex is voluntary, then why do you call it a sin and command us never to do it?

Because the married person would be cheating on his wife.

Cheating, eh? And what’s that when it’s at home for the evening?

Cheating is being untrue, unfaithful, breaking your word, your promise! That’s not allowed!

Well, don’t raise your voice at me, Mr God! – how in your name was I supposed to know that being untrue, unfaithful, breaking your word, your promise was not allowed? You haven’t said a word about any of those in your commandments so far!

Have I not? Well, even so – you should know that anyway.

Why? Your followers tend to think that we get our morals from you and nowhere else.

That’s true. You get everything from me. I am the Beginning and the End. I am the Giver and the Taketh awayer!

Okay, so you give us everything – including the desire to want to jump some hot chick even when we’re married…

Mmmm Latina hot?

Sure. Whatever you like. And while you’re thinking about that one, Mr God, perhaps you’d say whether it would still be a sin to break this commandment if the man’s wife was, let’s say, a voyeur and got her rocks off acting like a peeping Tom and actually instructed her husband to commit adultery… then, I mean, he wouldn’t be cheating then, right?

As my son said –

Which one?

Oh, yes, quite. My number one son – Jesus of Nazareth.

He’s your favourite then is he, dad? That’s not the nicest thing to hear you know, if you put yourself in my position. It kinda sucks really, if you wanna know the truth.

Come on, son. He was special because he… well, he was actually me!

That’s right. And the Holy Ghost – was he part of it too, part of the long, drawn out torture scene?

It’s hard to tell with the Ghost, but yes, I felt his presence. Anyway, as I said once, or maybe twice, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That should clear this up. Just get into the vibe of that, son, and you’ll gain wisdom.

I don’t think so. It’s more like you’ve just thrown a Spaniard in the works!

Mmmm Spanish hot!

I mean, what if the man’s wife, as well as being a voyeur, is also into S&M, bondage, and all that whips and chains, leather and rubber stuff, you know?

Yes. Go on…

What if she were to take your last instruction to heart? She likes being whipped and beaten, spanked and fisted, so what you’re saying is, and correct me if I’m wrong, that she should do (those things) unto others because that is what she’d have them do unto her?

Ah Jesus, come on now, you’re twisting my words!

Thomas, actually! And I’m not – I’m simply testing the meaning and validity of the words by putting them into a context. In this context, they don’t really hold up, do they? I mean, you of all supreme beings – not that there are any others, but if there were – you of all should be able to see how us stupid humans who can never understand you anyway often find your utterances to be ambiguous and absurd.

I put it the best way I could at the time I thought it up. It sounded really good then… but, yes, if I could change it, I would, but to what?

Try this on for size: Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.

Interesting. Let me digest that momentarily. Okay, I think I get it… but how would one human know how another human wanted to be done unto? As you rightly point out, you are all basically stupid.

That’s the cool part. They’d have to find out instead of assume. They’d have to get to know each other for who they really are and not through the blood-tinted glasses with the broken frames of bigoted religious beliefs that by their very nature are exclusive and divisive. Instead of wishing and praying, we could be learning and enjoying, accepting and exploring, getting a deeper understanding.

Like I said, stupid. You presuppose that humans know what’s good for them and can choose accordingly. They cannot. That’s why they need a Big Baddy to lay down the law wearing a glove of steel and velvet. They need my intervention from time to time.

What happened to free-will, daddy-o?!

(God shuffled his feet.)

© 2010 Wordwurst

THOU SHALT NOT 5

5. Honor thy father and thy mother.

That’s pretty sweeping, isn’t it? I mean, when, where, how, why, and for how long?

All the time. Anywhere. By showing them the respect and giving them the dignity they deserve. Because they created you – you owe them everything, including your life. Forever. Amen.

I see. That sounds like a fairly tall order, don’t you think? You also presuppose that a person should be grateful for being brought into this world, that it’s simply a given. But, did it ever occur to you that maybe some people don’t want to be sucked onto this planet and held down by gravity for a human lifetime? You make it sound as though the child is automatically responsible for its parents – their sense of respect and dignity – and somehow owes them its life. I don’t get that, Mr God. If it has to be that way at all, then why not the other way around?

What other way around?

Since the parents made a conscious decision (assuming that anyway) to have the child, and the child had no say in the matter, then doesn’t it stand to reason that it should be the parents who are responsible for the child and they, in fact, owe it their lives?

Do you have any children of your own?

Uhh – you got me there, Mr God. What do you mean?

I mean what I say!

I mean, is this a trick question or something?

What do you think I am, a magician or something?

Well, actually, yes, sort of. Aren’t you?

I am Everything and Nothing!

I won’t pretend to know what that means, but it sounds kind of cool. Anyway, what I was trying to say was that your question threw me a little because… well, you know… you know everything.

So?

Well, you do know how many children I have, don’t you?

Ridiculous and ludicrous! Since I know every hair on your head, how could I not know how many children you have?

Well, since you put it that way, yes, I guess it would be crazy… since you know everything and all. You don’t have to tell me, if you don’t want to.

You’re losing me, son. Can you hurry this up?

Okay, I’m ready to wrap this one up, I think. I just want to make sure that this commandment applies to all children – which is to say, every person of every age – at all times. Can you speak to that for a moment, Mr God?

Yes, for everyone, at all times. That’s the point of these commandments, son – don’t you get it yet? This is the law I have laid down for you to live by. I gave you life in the first place. I am the decider!

Hey, did you just quote George Dubya Bush? You joker! That’s funny. I’m kind of relieved somewhat to find you have a sense of humor. I like that. That’s a likeable trait.

Oh, well, yes. Thank you. Please, carry on…

I’m just talking about when you smile like that – yes, that’s it, just like that! – you lighten up and there seems to be a softer, more loving God that comes to the surface, you know… kinda like Dubya – the kind of guy I’d like to sit and have a beer with, shoot the breeze and chill coolin’ in the suds, if you get what I’m sayin’…

Gosh, I… I don’t know… what to say…

Wow – who’d ever have thunk it? God speechless! Far out! Hey, are you blushing? Is that a little pink under that white beard?

Naaahh…

Oh, Mr God, are you crying? Soaking that bushy beard? It’s all right, you just let it all out now… but what is it? What’s making you cry like a Little Miss Sunshine who’s just lost the competition?

Nobody’s ever… well, treated me like this. You said you’d like to chill with me, like a friend, just hang. All I ever get is people asking me for stuff. And you know what sucks? They do it all week long, but come Sunday – my one and only day off – they really blast me out of it. Even if they offer me something, it’s always with some hidden agenda, you know. Like, Dear God, o deargododeargododeargod, I want to show you my adoration by staying off of chocolate this Lent. I shall do it in your name! It is a tremendous sacrifice – but, of course, what am I saying? – you already know that, don’t you? Anyway, hope all is well with you… and your… you and the angels. I’m about 3 stone overweight right now and if you could see your way to helping me shed the pounds, I’d be eternally grateful and would owe you even more adoration and praise and worship, as we move forward, you and I, olord, on the ground… crawling over lines in the sand, getting tired sometimes, redoubling our efforts… as we go into the future, hand in hand, and, sometimes, you carrying me when I cannot bear to go on due to thirst, hunger and imminent death darkening everything in its vampire-like black shadow, leaving only your footsteps in the sand… ad nauseum.

Oh, come on now, Mr God… here, use this handkerchief. I promise you it’s clean.

I already knew that.

Of course you did. And you know how you’re saying in this commandment – your number 5 in your Top 10 – that all children should always honor their parents, right?

I do. I am saying that. It’s what it says on the tin, isn’t it? Why’s it so hard communicating with you people?

Only you know that.

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So, if a child was brought up by parents who were neglectful, abusive, and without a shred of compassion or love in their bones, that child should honor them anyway – to hell with what they did, the way they acted, just honor them anyway, whether they deserve it or not – is that what you are actually saying… I mean literally?

I keep telling you, my son, I gave you free-will. People get to choose. And that’s more than what some of us get, if you get my meaning. Anyway, what kind of tyrant would I be if I didn’t give you free-will? You’d be like brain

dead zombies or robots or something. And what fun would that be?

That’s an interesting way of looking at it, I’ll give you that. And, on that very point, free-will… tell me, Mr God, when you think of the defenceless, small doll-like child being abused by some grown up human being, I’m just wondering, you know… where’s that child’s free-will?

It’s not that simple. I have a divine plan, you’ll just have to trust me on that. And even if I tried to explain it to you, you wouldn’t understand.

But, I thought you were omnific – that you could do anything you wanted to do.

I can. But, it gets complicated, you know?

I see that it does. You are all powerful and all mighty and yet you cannot explain to us humans in a way we’d understand what your divine plan is. Surely, the fact that you cannot do something negates the claim to be able to do anything, right? Anyway, am I to understand that your divine plan, the one that you dreamed up, designed and are right now manifesting into existence includes innocent children being raped and tortured by some of the human beings that… well, dare I say it?

Say it!

That you created. Since that’s what’s happening, then we can conclude that its part of your divine plan.

I work in mysterious ways! You cannot know my divine plan!

Why not?

Why not?! What? Preposterous and red-boiled lobsterous! We covered this, didn’t we? Do you have Alzheimer’s son?

Do I?

If I reveal my cunning plan and prove my existence then you would no longer have the wonderful gift – the gift I saw fit to bestow on you – of free-will. And look at the thanks I get! Ingrate!

So, I take it that you’re not going to answer my question about the little children… the little children who have to suffer to come unto you. What in the hell does that mean anyway? There’s so many things wrong with that sentence. Firstly, you decree that all the children must suffer? Why? Did you suffer? Are you just sharing the suffering? Trying to get us to carry the cross for your sins the way you made your (as far as we know) only son be tortured to death on two planks of wood stuck together?

I Am The Son! And The Holy Ghost, too! We are the Holy Trinity. We are three, yet we are one!

And I am the walrus, goo googa joob! So, to change the subject  here for a brief moment, and get back to it in even less time, isn’t suicide a sin? A whopper sized sin?

You can count on it!

So, if you are your son, then didn’t you kill yourself? Commit suicide, as it were?

You are my son, and you shalt honor me as you shalt your mother and father, but even more, and you shalt not try to be a smartass with me!

Gotcha, Big Guy! Guess you’re not going to touch that one – and I don’t blame you. I know I couldn’t defend it myself… but then again, you’re God, right. The Big G! You don’t have to explain anything to us. And we wouldn’t get it even if you did. Not because you failed to communicate effectively, but that we failed to understand you, stupid us!? So, before we go around in circles here, like dogs chasing their own tails –

Or licking their own balls –

Yes, okay, then, it could be like that too. Tell me, Mr God, what’s your number 6 in the Top 10 of All Time?… (Next blog: Thou Shalt Not Kill!)

© 2010 Owen Pardue

THOU SHALT NOT 4

Remember the Sabbath day to keep it Holy.

Well put. How simple can you get?

Right! That’s what I’m saying.

I guess, you could say it this way, too – Keep the Sabbath Day Holy?

Certainly.

Forgive my ignorance, but what is the Sabbath Day? And why should I remember to keep it Holy? And what is Holy anyway?

Go on, then, look it up in you dictionary book thingy!

It says: noun

1. the seventh day of the week, Saturday, as the day of rest and religious observance among Jews and some Christians. Ex. 20:8–11.

2. the first day of the week, Sunday, similarly observed by most Christians in commemoration of the Resurrection of Christ.

3. any special day of prayer or rest resembling the Sabbath: Friday is the Muslim Sabbath.

I’m just confused. Which one is it? Is it Saturday? Is it Sunday? Is it any old day at all? And if so, does that mean I have to keep every day Holy? And if not, why do I only have to keep one day Holy? I suppose it might help if I were to really understand the word Holy, eh?

Let’s check the Dic. As an adjective, it tells us, 1.  specially recognized as or declared sacred by religious use or authority; consecrated: holy ground.

2. dedicated or devoted to the service of god, the church, or religion: a holy man.

3.saintly; godly; pious; devout:a holy life.

4. having a spiritually pure quality: a holy love.

5. entitled to worship or veneration as or as if sacred: a holy relic.

6. religious: holy rites.

7. inspiring fear, awe, or grave distress: The director, when angry, is a holy terror.

You know, I still don’t really know what it is. I could pretend to, if you want, but –

I Am Holy! Holy is God, God is me, I am He, and we are all together. You’ve heard of the Holy Trinity, haven’t you?

No, but I’ve heard of the Fab 4! Ta-Dah! Maybe I should worship the Beatles? Maybe when John said they were bigger than Jesus, he meant that they were also greater and more god-like. If I asked him to prove he was god, he’d tell me not to tempt him. But no, knowing John (as I didn’t), he’d most likely have said: God is a concept by which we measure our pain. And then, he’d say it again. And he’d say, I don’t believe in Jesus, I don’t believe in Elvis, I don’t believe in Kings, I don’t believe in Beatles… I just believe in me.

He was a blasphemer! Everyone knows what happens to those who blaspheme!

Is that, like, to take your name in vain?

Yes. And I already warned you about that. Now, look at the time! You really want to get your skates on, son!

You know how you made us and all, right?

Sure.

Well, you know how you deliberately made us forgetful because if you hadn’t done it deliberately then it would have been a mistake and since you are omnific and therefore by definition cannot make any mistakes, you made us forgetful sometimes, right?

Yes, humans are forgetful creatures all right. Elephants have better memories than you lot…

Well, if you made us to be forgetful sometimes, and sometimes that forgetfulness falls upon the Sabbath Day – whatever day that is – why don’t you simply forgive us and get on with more important things, like, ending world hunger, or creating a plan for peace and love?

Don’t blame me! You have free-will – I gave that to you, a gift from my heart – and what thanks do I get? I just get it thrown back in my face all the time! I will not be held responsible for my children!

Mr God, I have to warn you – if you’re going to mingle with the people on this planet, you better not say that! You’d be locked up, if not stoned to death by an angry, religious mob first.

I will not be held responsible for my children! I gave you free-will!

Sssshh…. Keep it down! You’d be the first to agree that parents are responsible for the children they create and bring into this world helpless, dependent, in need of love and understanding, hugs and kisses. What age were we when you kicked us out of your house and washed your hands of us? Were we over 18?

Your man-made laws hold no sway over me. They are beneath me. You can never understand me!

Then why do you bother trying to communicate with us at all? What’s the point? You made us too stupid to conceive of you, to understand you in any meaningful way, so why bother?

Sometimes I ask myself that very question. Why do I bother? It’s a good one all right.

Did you ever consider giving up?

Oh, no, never. I have a dream. A vision. I am compelled and driven to realise it.

I get that. Really, I do. But, what’s the problem? You’re God with a capital G, dude! If you want it to be that way, and you are the supreme ruler, the be all and end all, the alpha and the omega, omni-everything, then why don’t you just make it like that? You could just fold your arms, wink your eyes and crinkle your nose like Jeannie on that old TV show called I Dream of Jeannie, and – Pooft! – your dream made manifest. So, I just don’t get what’s the problem.

Yeah, well, that’s because you cannot conceive of me or the world I live in, and who my masters are, and so on and so forth. So, let’s just move on, shalt you!

I shall. Just tell me this. Which day should I keep Holy?

That’d be telling! You are free to make your own decision, son. I just hope, for your sake, it’s the right one. And there’s only one right one!

Okay. I don’t have to choose right now, do I? Oh, cool. Because I really do want to think about that one a bit more before making any rash decisions. You know what I’m saying, big Guy?

Now you’re getting the hang of it!

Thanks, dad!

God! Call me God!

God!

Good. Now onto my 5th favourite commandment. Honor thy father and thy mother…

© 2010 ORPS6

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord they God in vain.

So, you’re saying that I should not take your name in vain?

Absolutely!

At first, I think I understand this sentence, but then, the word vain starts waving a flag at me. Let’s look it up so we can agree that we are speaking of the same thing, fair enough?

Continue.

Okay. Basically, the Dic says:

1. excessively proud of or concerned about one’s own appearance, qualities, achievements, etc.; conceited: a vain dandy.

2. proceeding from or showing personal vanity: vain remarks.

3. ineffectual or unsuccessful; futile: a vain effort.

4. without real significance, value, or importance; baseless or worthless:vain pageantry; vain display.

5. Archaic . senseless or foolish.

And?

Well, when you say not to say your name in vain, what do you mean? For example: Do you mean to say that if I am an excessively proud person, concerned about my own appearance, qualities, achievements, that I shouldn’t speak your name?

Exactly.

Are you saying that most Christians are breaking this commandment? I mean, what if I was a proud person, but I was also proud of you, and went around trying to witness to people about your glory… what then? Would I be allowed to say your name under that set of circumstances?

Sounds reasonable.

Great! Thanks. This is working wonderfully. Do you see how really useful it is to understand what you’re trying to say?

Good. Shall we move on?

Yes, we shall. And, I hope you don’t mind, just before we do, I just want to tie up the loose ends here before we move forward to your next favourite, number 4. It’s just this: If my friend, Bob, told me not to take his name in vain, I honestly wouldn’t have a clue what he was talking about. What do you mean, Mr God?

Obviously I’m going to have to dumb this down for you… but, here goes: if you say good things about me, things that give me thanks and praise, that’s cool, you can say my name then. But if you’re talkin’ trash, you know, dissing me, as you’d probably say, that’s a no-no. Big time. I won’t stand for that –

Okay. It’s cool. You’re cool. Calm down. Breathe. Why not we move to number 4.

I thought you’d never ask!

(Next blog: Remember the Sabbath day to keep it Holy.)

© 2010 ORPS6

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images.

Yeah, I hear what you mean. You’re simply saying that I shouldn’t have any graven images in front of me. It does sound straightforward and unambiguous. At a surface listen. First, I think we need to understand the meaning of graven, I mean, it’s not a word you hear a lot thesedays. On earth, as you know, most humans agree what words mean, you know, so they can communicate effectively with each other. We can look up words and their meanings in the dictionary. The Dic say: grav·en –verb 1.a pp. of grave3 . –adjective 2. deeply impressed; firmly fixed. 3. carved; sculptured: a graven idol. Now, Mr God, is that what you mean when you say graven?

Can you give it to me in a sentence?

Certainly. They went up to the great graven tomb of the historic warrior, and stood for a few minutes staring at it.

Yes, I think that’s it.

So, we know what graven is – but images of what? What can we not have graven images of?

Oh, I thought that was self-explanatory. I meant before me, not before you. Did it come across that I meant you? Sorry about that. I see what you mean now that you point it out. I’m glad we cleared that up.

And what might these images be?

Well, you know. Look – if you’d understood the first Commandment, you’d know exactly what I mean? Come on now, son, didn’t you do your homework?

Thomas.

No. I’m God! I thought we’d just cleared that up! Aren’t you paying attention?!

As long as one of us is… So, to sum up, you don’t want me to imagine anyone in my head, or make a graven image of anyone that may take some of the love and worship and thanks and praise that you feel is your due, and that you need to get a certain amount of each day or else you’d just burst into dust? Is that it?

Wrong! I do not need it. I cannot turn into dust. I am immortal, like your soul, and I and only I make the final judgement as to where your soul is going to go for eternity. So, you’d better show some respect, son.

Okay, dad. But seriously, I just really want to know. How can I get your meaning if I don’t understand what you’re saying? That’s fair enough, isn’t it?

Go on.

Just tell me who cannot appear in the graven images of my mind or the graven images on paper or cloth or TV or my computer screen. Surely you don’t mean all images, period? That would be impossible. So, to be specific, which ones do you mean? Or shouldn’t I know?

Of course you should know. I just thought it was obvious. No other images of gods.

But there are no gods, you said, just you.

I did. That’s right. But, as you said, people have imaginations and might get images of what they imagine to be other gods and that image may get in between them and Me. They might get confused along the line and think that the graven image they have created and worshiped is god.

Well, since you are god, they’d be mistaken then. So what?

So, a lot! They’d stop believing in me.

I hear you. But why’s that a problem? You say you won’t burst into dust like a ‘take-all-the-credit’ vampire, so what –

No, no, no. You’ve got it backwards. It’ll be their problem, not mine.

And why is that?

Because they’ll be cast upon the lake of fire for eternity – you know, writhing in agony, gnashing of teeth – and that’ll be a big problem for them. And that’s why they need to obey this commandment. They can obey it or not, their choice. Free will, you know. I’m fair about it. I believe in choices and all that individuality stuff and all. Up with people and all that jazz.

I see. Okay, then. Before we move onto number 3, can I just clarify? You say that there isn’t a problem for you when a person doesn’t believe in you, correct?

Correctomundo!

Since it’s not a problem for you, why do you make it a problem for them? If I knew that the joke I just told was funny, as a matter of plain fact, and the person I’d told it to didn’t get it and laugh, like you, I wouldn’t have a problem with that. But, unlike you, I wouldn’t want them to be tortured for eternity. Even if it was only for a limited period, I could kind of get my head around it. I mean, we all make mistakes and feel we should have the right to learn from them. If you just sent them to hell for, I don’t know, lets say a trillion years, then, when they get out on parole, you’d keep a watch on them and see if they had been truly rehabilitated and worthy of your forgiveness, no?

You speak and do not hear that you only sound off your ignorance. You say you’ve read the bible three times, but I doubt you’ve read it even once listening to the nonsense you come out with. You’re supposed to be a language and communication expert! Ha! You know what the definition of expert is, don’t you?

No. Go ahead, tell me.

An ex-spurt is a has-been-drip!

Who said you didn’t have a sense of humor?

I don’t know. Who? Tell me. I’ll –

Come on, dude, you’re freaking me out with your eyes bulging out and your skin turning purple – chillax! Take a chill-pill. Breathe! Remember: You want me to bring these commandments into the world, to share them amongst my fellow human-beings, with, I might add, no credible proof that you are who you say you are, and no evidence of these commandments being good ideas to live by… I’m just trying to get clarification… understanding. I’m going to have to answer their questions, and I need to know what you’d say. You can see that, can’t you, Mr God?

I see everything. What are you asking? I invented vision. I made your eyeballs – and aren’t they just amazing and mind-boggling?

Yes, I like to see. If it took you six days to create the whole world, how long did it take you to create the eye?

What does it matter?

It probably doesn’t. You’re right. I was just wondering if you were omnific. I thought you were everywhere, all the time, with unlimited powers of creation.

Congratulations, son. That’s the first thing you’ve got right so far!

Well, then why did it take you six whole days to create the whole wide world… and then, why did you have to take a day to rest and relax?

I’m not sure I follow –

If you are all powerful everywhere all the time, why would you need to, like us human beings, recharge your batteries, so to speak? And if so, where’s that power coming from? And is it not a greater power than you?

How so?

Well, you need it, it doesn’t need you. A bit like the way you’re describing your relationship with me to me.

What is this? I thought you were going to question me about my Top 10 Favorite Commandments?

That’s what I’m doing…

Well, get on with it, then! Ready or not, here’s Number 3…

(Next blog: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord they God in vain.)

© 2010 ORPS6

Having watched Christopher Hitchens talk about the 10 Commandments, I found myself wondering:

What if, instead of giving his top ten orders to Moses way back when, he turned up last week, and gave his orders to, say, Derren Brown, or Richard Bandler, or Noam Chomsky – someone who had a firm grasp of linguistics? The way I imagine it, I don’t think any of the above would have been as credulous and sycophantic as poor old Moses appears to have been.

No doubt, they’d have had questions, and lots of them, for this being pronouncing himself not simply a god, but to be the one and only true God with a capital G!

And I wonder how he’d have faired… the Big Guy, I mean. God, with a capital G…

I Am The Lord Thy God, thou shalt have no other gods before me.

That’s a big claim, Mr God. Your sentence is filled with many presuppositions, but the main one seems to be that you are the lord, that you are my god, is that what you’re saying?

Yes.

Fair enough. As you know, since you claim to have created everything, that any poor schmuck can come along and say he’s god – we’ve had plenty of them – how do we know that what you claim is true? Can you give us any proof, any evidence?

Thou shalt not tempt thy Lord thy God!

Is that another commandment?

Mmmmyes, I guess. But it’s not in my top 10.

Okay, so understanding that we humans on planet earth have heard people make this claim – that they are god – since the beginning of time right up to this very day, you still assert that we should only believe you and not them? Did you know that when they were asked for proof that they say virtually the same thing you do… and do you see how that makes it difficult for us to know just who the real god is… supposing that there’s even one in the first place?

That’s easy. That’s what faith is all about. Believing without proof. If I gave you empirical evidence, then you’d know – just as you know the world revolves around the sun – and that would nullify faith. You see that, don’t you, my son?

Okay. Well, let’s get back to your Number 1 commandment, shall we?

All right.

For the sake of continuing this conversation and hearing the rest of your favorites, we’ll skip over the proof part and pretend that we accept you are the one and only god and that you lord it over us, okay?

Well, I wouldn’t quite put it that way… but, for expedience, all right.

Thank you. Now, you go on to say that I shall have no other gods before me. Is that right?

Correct.

And you are the only god, right?

Right.

Does that mean that you could just as easily have said: thou shalt have no other unicorns before me?

That’s ridiculous! What do you mean?

Hey, chill! I just meant that since you claim that you are the one and only capital G, there cannot be any other gods. Not one. Just like there’s no bogeyman or Santa Claus. Why would you instruct me to do something that I cannot possibly do anyway? How can I hold any gods before you when they don’t exist and only you do? Can you see how that’s a tad confusing?

Mmmmyes. I understand. I understand everything. Of course there are no other gods. I was suggesting that you shalt not imagine or make-believe any other gods.

Oh, I get it. You don’t want me to use my creative mind in this particular territory. Got it. But why? Why would it matter to you if, like some children do, it pleased me to invent an invisible friend, and love it and care for it and think of it as my best friend in the whole wide world? If it made me happy and didn’t hurt anyone, why would you deprive me of that pleasant pastime?

Haven’t you read the bible, my son?

Yes. A couple of times. And, by the way, my name is Thomas.

Then you should know that I am a jealous God.

Do you mean to say the jealous god… since there are no other gods and all?

Listen, young man, I’ve got to be at a worship ceremony at 6:00, so if you want to ask me about the other 9 commandments, I command you to move on!

Yeah, I suppose, you wouldn’t want to be late for that. I’m curious – are you like a vampire in as much as you have a certain ‘worship’ quota you must satisfy or you’ll turn into dust? Is it like your food, your nutrition, or something? Oh, come on, don’t look at me that way. I’m just asking, just want to be clear. Wouldn’t want to assume and pretend to be able to read the mind of god… so I’m asking, okay?

Thou shalt not question the Lord thy God!

Oh, is that the next commandment? Where are we now… Commandment number 2 –

No. It is a commandment, but, yeah, I think I should’ve put it in the top 10. Maybe it should be the second one. It would fit pretty good right there, wouldn’t it?

So, you could just rewrite them, couldn’t you?

Until being interrogated by you I simply had no idea just how stupid humans could be. The commandments are simple, straightforward and pretty doable if you ask me. It’s not like I’m asking you to fly or anything. There just supposed to be good ideas to live by. Why are they so difficult to understand? I mean, check this one out – and tell me, what’s not to get?

I’m listening.

Next blog: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images. (Beware all artists!)

© 2010 Wordwurst