In Which Noah Finishes the Story
“Forty days and forty nights of rough sailing in a damp menagerie is enough to put anyone off their sea legs for life… There was the inevitable sniping and moaning, and bitter accusations about whose turn it was to feed the Asiatic lion (who had somehow acquired rabies at some point along the journey)… But there is an end to every tunnel.”
~Noah, Diluvium 17
At long last! The many adventures of Noah and his animals are coming to an end. As I looked around my apartment this morning, I saw: a horse, a bear, a lizard, a beaver wearing a hat, and a platypus. No, I was not hallucinating. The individual with whom I live (who has asked me never to mention him by name, on pain of no longer living with him) loves animals of all kinds, except cats. (I love cats.) Despite my many protests, he collects them, and though admittedly most of them are made of wood, metal or clay, they still constitute a formidable menagerie to have in one’s living room. As I looked around at the wolf howling at our ceiling, the alligator leering from the top of the refrigerator, and the dark, stormy rain beating down on our windows from every side, I realized: I am living in Noah’s Ark.
No wonder I’ve been subconsciously channeling his history. I leave you with that unsettling realization, and the final installment of Diluvium.
In Which Noah Finishes the Story
My days on the earth were long and prosperous, and then eventually I died, and my sons took over. Things went mainly downhill from there. Looking back, was it all worth it? I don’t know. Sometimes people come up to me in Heaven and they ask, do I think the Flood really made that much difference? It all depends on whose point of view you look at it from. From a mastodon’s point of view, yes: it made a tremendous amount of difference, from which the mastodon population will almost definitely never recover. From a human point of view, though, I don’t know that it changed things that much. Do I see the world as necessarily less sinful? Not really. Granted, there are fewer of some types of sins in the world (almost no one fornicates with Nephilim anymore) but there are all kinds of new sins out there to take their place, such as nuclear weapons and reality television.
People also ask if I feel proud of myself, what with being personally selected as the best man on earth, and all, but I don’t, especially. It wasn’t that I was particularly good; it’s just that everyone else was awful. And in the end, it isn’t actually that gratifying to prove to the world that you were right, if the rest of the world is dead, subsequently not around to see that you were right. Throw in having to take care of a couple of mopey zebras and a sick giraffe, and the glamor of the thing really begins to wear thin.
My son Shem became the leader of Mesha, and the father of the future engineers of the world. My son Ham’s children settled in Canaan, where they became extremely superior athletes. My son Japheth’s children drifted about, wandering here and there on the face of the Earth, and then eventually they wrote the Bible, which of course caused all sorts of new problems. I often try to read the darn thing, but so far I’ve never made it past Genesis. It’s that part where they list all the names that gets to me; “And then Joktan became the father of Almodad, and Almodad became the father of Uz, and Uz settled in the land of Sephar, in the hill countries of the east, and became the father of Aram,” blah blah, yadda yadda. Um, how boring can you get, people? These are my own grandchildren we’re talking about here, and even I can’t get through all their names. No wonder other people have trouble.
I will admit that some parts have a certain ring to them; “All the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.”
That sounds a lot better than saying, “on Wednesday, it rained. Again,” which is the kind of thing you would have read if I’d been responsible for the record keeping. But the trouble with poets is, they’re too poetic. They like to make things sound complicated and metaphorical, and they just don’t think about the consequences. If they had simply put a helpful warning label on the Cover of that Thing (“not to be taken literally”) it would have saved the world a host of grief and confusion, also prevented the Crusades. But writers just don’t think. Actually, they don’t do much of anything, except moon about with a dreamy look on their faces, and heaven help you if you trust them with a hammer and a couple of nails, and ask them to patch a hole in the ceiling. Likely as not, you’ll have the whole Ark come tumbling down on your head. If it were up to me, all literary types would have been shot very early in the evolutionary process, and the world would have been saved from a multitude of trouble and vexation. But I was never consulted about anything.
As for assigning blame, let me remind you that I was not the one who caused the Flood; I was the one who saved mankind from it. If you happen to be alive today (that is to say, you) you owe me a debt of gratitude. There should be buildings and monuments named after me. I’ve heard of things like the Eiffel Tower and the Lincoln Monument. Where the heck is the Noah Tower? What about the Noah Monument? As far as I know, there isn’t even a significant roadway or thoroughfare named after me, whereas this guy Washington seems to be monopolizing major landmarks all over the place. (I mean, they named both a capital and a state after him, which is both unfair and confusing.) As far as I can tell, that fellow did nothing to save mankind (and actually shot a considerable percentage of it) whereas without me, fish would be the only people left on earth. Cripes, World, show a little respect!
I’ll conclude on the topic of the meaning of life: to tell you the truth, I don’t know what all this is for. But sometimes, I look up at the sky and I see my rainbow, soft and translucent against a silken, storm-grey sky, and sometimes, at the end of it, an autumn tree, all aflame with golden leaves. And I realize, I don’t need to know. Whatever it’s all about, I’m just grateful to have been a part of it. ♦