Diluvium: In Which a Hyena Causes Problems
“Ham has never been the brightest. He is, for example, named after a hunk of meat. His first word, while staring at the dinner table from the viewpoint of his highchair as a child, was “Ham.” Which is not what we were eating. Everyone started babbling and cooing about the baby speaking his first word, and I was the only one concerned that his first word was a mistake. This concern increased after I realized that my three sons were going to be largely responsible for repopulating the planet, but maybe Ham will turn out to be sterile.”
~Noah, Diluvium 10
Happy Monday! I recently discovered that a minister has been reading my slightly altered and possibly somewhat irreverent version of Noah and the Ark, and I would like to ask that minister to forgive me for my sins. And not just for my past sins, but also my sins forthis Monday and the next four Mondays to come, because we have five installments to go. After that, my next story is extremely unobjectionable.
(I think. It’s hard to tell about these things, because the people following this blog include readers as diverse and wide-ranging as a minister, an atheist, my best friend from Sweden, and my grandfather. So I would like to ask ALL of you to pray for my sins, except the atheist. There. That should have me covered.)
◊ Installment 11 ◊
As for my daughter, she was, of course, wildly enthusiastic about the whole project. Between her and my wife, I was compelled to keep a number of animals I would otherwise have been secretly inclined to do away with. (Not that I’m criticizing God, but He makes mistakes just like the rest of us –otherwise what was the Flood for? -and in my opinion, a large percentage of His animals were just a terrible mistake from the get-go. Cats, for example. Who needs them? They don’t produce anything, they won’t pull anything, and you can’t eat them.) And the mastodon! Where and how my wife managed to track down a mastodon I can’t tell you, but I CAN tell you that one day I woke up and glanced out the window, and my entire view was blocked by something large, dark, and hairy. And my bedroom is on the second floor.
“What is this?” I panicked, racing down the stairs in my pajamas. “It’s the size of a house! It’ll take up half the ark!”
My wife smiled sweetly. (Though her lymph nodes were swollen.) “It’s a mastodon,” she said. “I noticed you forgot to put one on your list, so I went out and found it for you.”
“Absolutely not,” I said. “I’m putting my foot down. It’ll eat up all the corn.”
“But it will drown in the flood,” said my wife, her eyes filing up with tears. “And it’s our job to save the animals.”
“It’s a freaking mastodon,” I told her. “It’s huge. I hardly think God would expect us to-”
“God said ALL the animals,” she interrupted.
Have you ever tried to wrangle a mastodon up a narrow ramp onto an ark? I pulled from one side and Shem pushed from the other, but the stupid thing still got stuck in the doorway, and we had to chop it out with an axe. And then, the first thing the mastodon did when it got on the ark was trample all the lemurs, so I had to go out and find some more.
My daughter was even worse. I enlisted her help in tracking down the last few animals on my list, but I quickly realized this was a mistake when I opened my bedroom door one day and found seventeen cats, yowling on top of my bureau.
“God said a pair,” I shouted. “We already have enough cats! I told you to bring me a hyena!”
“Oh, I brought some hyenas too, Daddy,” my daughter said brightly, poking her head in from the hallway. “They’re trapped in the barn. I think the female is pregnant.”
The trouble with animal lovers is that, although excellent at finding animals, they find too many animals. Then there’s a terrible scene when you put your foot down and say the limit is two, and then the animal lover has to go through and decide WHICH two, and it’s even more difficult if she’s already given all of them names, and it frequently involves tears, and premature teenage rebellion, and angst. My daughter said that if God would really kill off fourteen innocent hyenas just because they didn’t meet His number specifications, then she didn’t believe in God. And I said that was ironic, since she hadn’t objected to God killing all the humans. And she said humans were more sinful than animals, and what had the poor animals ever done to deserve death? And I said well, for one thing, they had turned my house, barns, and life into a living nightmare, also several of them had murdered a large percentage of their neighbors, and if murdering your neighbor isn’t a sin, I don’t know what is. And she said that (a) it was mostly my fault they had murdered their neighbors, because I hadn’t tied them up properly, and (b) they were murdering each other for food, and that doesn’t really count as murder. And I said murder is murder, whether you’re planning to eat the murder victim later or not, and she said well then, what was it called when I slaughtered all the lambs? Then we both glared at each other for a while, and then we went back to sorting hyenas.
When she finally decided to start speaking to me again, my daughter announced that she had decided to become a vegetarian.
Hmph. Her and the mastodon. ♦
(To be continued…)