So, this is my life.

And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

for the Bible tells me so

i've wanted for several weeks now to share with you some parts of a fantastic non-fiction book i'm reading.
the book is
The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible.

okay, so you're bored already. but hang in there. it's actually a lot of fun. the author, A.J. Jacobs, gave up normal life for 365 days in order to practice what so many full-of-shit fundamentalists swear they stand for: following the commands of the Bible LITERALLY.

long story short, it severely alters the life of this atheist from Manhattan.

you see, when it comes right down to it, the Bible happens to be a very controlling book. big surprise, eh?
for an entire year, Jacobs couldn't cut his hair, work on the Sabbath, wear "normal" clothing, sleep in the same bed with his wife during certain times of the month, etc. etc. etc. the number of rules - both affirmative and prohibitive - that the Good Book commands us to follow is astounding.

but Jacobs made a serious effort to comply with them all.

soon this former cutie and writer for Esquire magazine turned into a terrorist look-a-like nutcase you'd avoid in the subway.

and lucky for us, he journaled every day of the year -- the ups, the downs, the disbelief, the disdain, the pain, the fun (as it turns out, the Bible commands us to celebrate and drink quite a bit. soo.... i'm probably going to heaven on that basis alone!).

one of my fave parts:

Day 62...
The most commonly mentioned punishment method in the Hebrew Bible is stoning. So I figure, at the very least, I should try to stone. But how?

I can't tell you the number of people who have suggested that I get adulterers and blasphemers stoned in the cannabis sense. Which is an interesting idea...

Instead I figured my loophole would be this: The Bible doesn't specify the size of the stones. So... pebbles.

A few days ago, I gathered a handful of small white pebbles from Central Park, which I stuffed in my back pants pocket. Now all I needed were some victims...

I am resting in a small public park on the Upper West Side, the kind where you see retirees eating tuna sandwiches on benches.

"Hey, you're dressed queer."

I look over. The speaker is an elderly man, mid-seventies, I'd guess. He is tall and thin and is wearing one of those caps that cabbies wore in movies from the forties.

"You're dressed queer," he snarls. "Why you dressed so queer?"

I have on my usual tassels, and, for good measure, have worn some sandals and am carrying a knotty maple walking stick I'd bought on the internet for twenty-five dollars.

"I'm trying to live by the rules of the Bible. The ten Commandments, stoning adulterers..."

"You're stoning adulterers?"

"Yeah, I'm stoning adulterers."

"I'm an adulterer."

"You're currently an adulterer?"

"Yeah. Tonight, tomorrow, yesterday, two weeks from now. You gonna stone me?"

"If I could, yes, that'd be great."

"I'll punch you in the face. I'll send you to the cemetery."

He is serious. This isn't a cutesy grumpy old man. This is an angry old man. This is a man with seven decades of hostility behind him.

I fish out my pebbles from my back pocket.

"I wouldn't stone you with big stones," I say. "Just these little guys."

I open my palm to show him the pebbles. He lunges at me, grabbing one out of my hand, then flinging it at my face. It whizzes by my cheek.
I am stunned for a second. I hadn't expected this grizzled old man to make the first move. But now there is nothing stopping me from retaliating. An eye for an eye.

I take one of the remaining pebbles and whip it at his chest. It bounces off.

"I'll punch you right in the kisser," he says.

"Well, you really shouldn't commit adultery," I say.

(((more - and more serious - excerpts to come.)))

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