If you turn to page 38 of a Bible you'll see blah-blah-blah....Submitted by Tom Sorrell at 2013-08-30 04:54:23 EDT
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Lately I’ve been seeing the number 38 everywhere, the way I saw 69 all the time once I learned what it meant when I was a kid. It’s been total Baader-Meinhof, even though 38 is just a random number. I’m sure there’s nothing to it, just like there's nothing to The Number 23 (the movie, not the number). The point is I haven’t written a single word today until I typed “Lately” … and it’s 3:00 AM right now, so it’s technically tomorrow. Fine. I didn't write anything yesterday.
This is bad. I’ve been writing a book, see? It’s about 25,000 words so far and there are 20,000 more that need to be edited and polished. The son of a bitch is driving me insane. It's killing me. I'm dying inside a little, page after bloody page. I also have a touch of writer’s block. I’ve been doing character history and background. I want to go-go-go with the story (and I should have), but instead I foolishly edited and polished until I burned myself out. I need something to break the blockage in the creative part of my brain so I can get moving again. This may be it. It may not. It's something, at least.
I’ve developed an odd habit of opening books to random pages and reading whatever I find. A few moments ago I closed my eyes and pulled a book called The Year of Living Biblically off my shelf. I’ve never read it before, but I opened it to page 38 and scanned the text. At the bottom there were two numbers that looked out of place: 2 and 8 instead of two and eight. I flipped to page 28 and saw a quote from Leviticus about seven days, so I flipped to page seven and saw the word “Bible” three times in the first paragraph and four times in the last.
(Seven times. That's odd, huh? Isn't there something important about that number in the Bible? By the way, I'm sure it's nothing, but I rented a black and white Bergman flick starring Max von Sydow the other day and watched a documentary about seals and a variety of water-loving mammals earlier this evening. Better duck, motherfuckers. The end may be nigh.)
Anyway, I’m not really a big Bible reader. Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve never even read the book about living biblically. I read other things, usually classics, one random page at a time. Still, something seems to be saying, “Hey dumbass. Use the Bible for your whole stream of consciousness idea.”
Good idea, but I don’t really want to talk about religion. There’s nothing I can say or think or feel that’s not wrong to someone. I know this, because Jesus knows this. (That was a joke, and a poor one at that.) Still, I’m sure I can find something to write about that won’t have anything to do with personal beliefs or offend anyone. Right? Of course. People are rational and intelligent, especially if a person presents the religious content respectfully. That probably won’t be the case here, but I’m sure it would be if it was.
Ready? Like to hear it, here it go.
The Bible: Page 38
“Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her.”
No clue who said that. It just jumps right into it, like a really well-written porno flick. What I mean is the dialogue would be written like biblical verse, not that a good … you know what? Let’s just forget it.
29:22 " Laban gathered together the men of the place and made a feast.
After this the story goes a bit blue, so hide the children. I think. I’m not sure I’m reading this right, but The Bible says, “And it came to pass in the evening that he took his daughter Le’ah …”
(… to Governor Tarkin and held her in place while the Grand Moff used THE DEATH STAR to destroy her home. " This is the PG version, in case you didn’t hide the children. And if you didn’t, seriously, man … what is wrong with you? Send them away at once.)
“… and brought her to him, and he went in unto her.”
Shortly after that Laban gives someone a handmaid.
What the hell is happening in this book? I need to go back and find out the story. There’s no way I’m reading this correctly. This dude Laban did not just nail his daughter. Not even Vader did that. He left it to a probe droid. There’s no way incestuous debauchery is in The Bible, right? Of course.
I flip back to page 37…
(… and immediately think of Dante Hicks’s former girlfriend Veronica and a guy named snowball. I can’t help it. I’ve seen that movie so many times it’s involuntary at this point.)
Here’s what happened to get us to where we got earlier, beginning at the beginning of Chapter 29:
Jacob went east to “the land of the east” and saw a well in the field surrounded by three flocks of sheep. There was a big rock over the opening of the well and two dudes, who would move the rock to water the sheep, then put the rock back in place. Jacob walks up to them. This is how it goes:
Jacob: “Yo ... dudes."
(A quick note: these people have to speak English so you can understand them. They may not speak it well, but they’re still smarter than you are. Oh no? Can you speak Aramaic? Didn’t think so. One more question: Can you almost speak Aramaic? No? Well they can almost speak English. Watch.)
Two guys: “Hey, dude.”
Jacob: “At what place do you dudes live at?”
Guy 1: “Our spot is in Haran, dude. It is the dopest."
Jacob: “Ice cold, dude. Do either of you dudes know a dude named Laban?”
Guy 2: “Yeah, dude. For sure. He owns all these sheep."
Guy 1: "Here comes his super sexy daughter Rachel with them.”
Right then Rachel walked up. Like Guy 1 said, she was Laban’s daughter. That means Laban was Jacob’s uncle. Jacob and Rachel are basically the biblical version of Mary Corleone and Vincent Mancini from Godfather 3.
Strangely, the Bible goes to great effect to tell you they were related, by the way. They pound that shit home, over and over. This is a paraphrase of the actual passage:
“When Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother...
...and the sheep of Laban, his mother’s brother...
...Jacob went near and watered the flock of Laban, his mother’s brother.
(Coincidentally, Idiocracy is on in the background and a Secret Service Agent just asked Luke Wilson if they could go “family style” on Maya Rudolph. He said no, you fiends.)
In case you’ve forgotten, Laban is Jacob’s mother’s brother. In case you have the same type of amnesia Leonard had in Memento, the Bible will remind you in a moment.
“Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.”
“Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s brother…”
I don’t completely understand this, but ok. He’s his nephew, right? Whatever, they’re related. If they’re brothers that makes Rachel his niece. Niece, cousin. It’s all the same, meaning it’s all fair game in the Bible. Anyway, she ran and told her father, Laban, that Jacob was there. Off to the right is a reference chapter: Genesis 13:8. See what I mean about 38? It just shows up. I know ... I know ... there's nothing to it. Whatever. I need a break from Jacob anyway.
I just looked up at Idiocracy as Luke Wilson was yanked down a flight of stairs by a big ass rock and I laughed. A moment later a guy ran up and kicked another guy in the crotch while he was singing the Star Spangled Banner. I laughed again. In my defense I feel terrible about it. Also, as I typed all that I heard the word “Dilldozer” come from the TV and almost spit soda on the computer screen. Mike Judge would probably hate me, but I love his movies ... usually for the right reasons.
Anyway, I flip back a few pages to the reference and read:
“And Abraham said unto Lot, let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen for we be brethren. “
- Genesis 13:8
Cool. Herdmen is tough to type. Feels weird. By the way, the verse above reminds me of one I know by heart.
“Oh God said to Abraham, ‘Kill me a son.’ Abe say, ‘Man, you must be puttin’ me on.’ God say ‘No,’ Abe say ‘What?’ God say ‘You can do what you want Abe but the next time you see me comin’ you’d better run.’ Well Abe said, ‘Where you want this killin’ done?’ God said ‘Out on Highway 61.’”
- Bob Dylan
Really quick: Did you ever seen Dragnet with Tom Hanks and Dan Ackroyd? It's a decent movie. Funny parts, funny people, but meh. Still, I imitate Hanks’s goat dance sometimes for my fair lady friend, but I don’t do it nearly as well as Hanks does in his leggings, hairnet and fake rapist mustache. He hilarious! Remember when Tom Hanks was funny all the time? He's still funny, but the point is at one point he and Ackroyd are in the car (this is before the goat dance) and Hanks is giving directions because Ackroyd ALWAYS drives. Hanks is shouting out street names and he yells “Highway 61” the way Bob sings it. It's great, and yes, that’s the whole point of the story. There’s some useless and pointless knowledge for you.
Back to the Bible.
Jacob just told Rachel he’s related to her and she ran inside to tell Laban, who runs out and hugs and kisses Jacob hello. Then he brings Jacob inside and talks to him. Laban mentions (again) that they are related, when he says “Surely thou art my bone and my flesh.”
“I am your bone and flesh. And don’t call me Shirley,” Jacob replies.
(And that was the first recorded version of that joke. Ever. Take THAT, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Michael Scott and at least ten million other people.)
Right. So Jacob stays with his uncle for a month, which in Bible years is what? A day? A year? A month? Is a month a month in The Bible? Whatever. He stays there for a month and Laban asks Jacob what he believes he should be paid for the work he might do for Laban … I think. That might not be right, but the point is, Laban had two daughters. We met Rachel earlier. Now the book tells us about Leah, who was “tender-eyed” and older than her prettier sister. Jacob liked Rachel and told Laban he’d serve him for seven years if he could have Rachel.
“It is better that I give her to thee, than I should give her to another man,” Laban replied.
(Awesome logic, here. What were the other options? Throw her to the wolverines? Stone her to death with big fucking rocks??)
Jacob serves seven years, but it says it only seemed like a few days because of the love he had for her. And then we’re back to where we began, which is incestuous debauchery, only with Jacob and Laban's other daughter. Not quite a Devil's Threeway, but almost.
I think I need to read another book, and to be honest I'm a bit let down. I have a feeling that like Pat Bateman’s confession, this has ultimately accomplished nothing.
One quick question before I go: Do you like Huey Lewis and the News? In case you don’t, check out Fore. Some say it’s their most accomplished album. It contains the hit single Hip to Be Square, “a song so catchy, most people probably don't listen to the lyrics…”
But they should, because it's not just about the pleasures of conformity, and the importance of trends, it's also a personal statement about the band itself ... HEY PAUL!!.jpg