To Levi bar Alphaeus called “Biff”
Three songs! That is all I could remember out of the atleast two dozen singles I sat through those four afternoons at Barnes & Noble. Three songs. Song number one “Mountain sound” by “Of Monsters and Men”. Song number two, “Lovely girl won’t you stay” [aka “Big Parade”], by “The Lumineers”. And the third, “I don’t need no doctor” by somebody with a thick “Joe-The-Plumber” voice who probably hunts deers for a sport on beer-for-breakfast Sunday mornings and has a hillbilly family back-home [before he moved to Alaska, and started (a) voting (b) republican].
These songs were playing at the background when I was reading your memoire. Then I came to the final page, or atleast the page before the final chapter [which was before the real last chapter: the sucky “afterward”, which I can’t still imagine why the writer included, or even bothered to write]. I read how you stepped off a cliff and jumped to your death. My throat thickened. Tears welled-up in my eyes. My chest tightened, as it does every time I think of the last time I heard the last guy who broke my heart laugh, and/or the song “you will never find” by Lou Rawls – the ultimate tear-jerker for me. If it wasn’t a book store, and you weren’t a fictional person [more fictional than your average fictional person, perhaps, for you could have never lived, not in the way you are anyway] I would have broken down into tears right then and there. And shoes would have been shuffled, alarmed looks would have been exchanged, a security guy would have hovered over my chair [or the bottom of the escalator] the way he did when he found me sitted on the floor a few month previously: seeming not quite sure how to “handle” “this” without letting the racist-alarm-bell go off in my head. But I didn’t. I swallowed it. I might even have done a short-hand emotional equivalent of it: an “awww?!” – which is like “Lol”, but less annoying. I flipped to the next page, found out that you were resurrected and have even managed to get the girl.
But to me, you were dead [you see?!]. You died when you stepped off that cliff and jumped to your death. It was the “logical” ending. That was the kind of man, the kind of friend, you were. You died. And I took three songs, Three!, home. Then I sat on the edge of my bed. Thought of you. Remembered your jokes, your “theories”, your sass, and started crying. I cried, chocking over and singing/whispering:
“Hold your horses now
(We sleep until the sun goes down)
Through the woods we ran
(Deep into the mountain sound)”
I cried for you. For Him. And for the things I have been losing, in heaps, lately. Of the “suns” that shinned unto my life, to be snatched away, of their own free-will, before they managed to leave any sort of warmth.
[Must be the weather.]
Before you go all “uh-huh”; I will have you know that this wasn’t the first bible-inspired fictional work I came across. As recently as last month, I have read The Last Testament: A Memoir by God, by David Javerbaum, who was funny, and original and gay. A man seeming intent on making fun of God, using His voice against Him. I felt every bit of the sarcasm. I related to the confusion and the sheer contradiction. I laughed at the “updated” modern-versions to some of the parables [“If a man strikes thee on the cheek, turn to him the other. Then, having shown thyself impregnable to cheeck-attack, beat the crap out of him”], and applauded the answer to the most off-setting question when it comes to the idea a “Loving Omni-Potent” God. [Why does He allow bad things to happen to good people?! To balance out the good things that happen to bad people. Makes sense, right?!].
It was the kind of book I, and a million other agnostics whose teenager-persona comes alive when pissed, would have written had we rolled with the “The daily show with Jon Stewart” crowd, or watched Bill Maher’s “Religulous” more than, say, twice. The voice was smart, modern, and -true to it’s “Comedy Central” roots- irreverent. So what if the punches were kindda lame and predictable?! What if Eve doesn’t feel like she evolved from Steve?! What if the writer seems to have confused his own voice with that of God?! Hasn’t God been asking for cheap, lame shots to be taken at him for centuries?!
Until you came along, that book would have ascended to the top of my absurdist-work-of-fiction shelf, a little above David Plotz’ “Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible”; and next to Camus’ “The Stranger” and Mark Twain’s “The Dairy of Adam and Eve” and stayed there.
Yet, you came along. And, by coming along, showed me how it’s done. How you can “humanize” a diety without utterly disrespecting it and those that believed in him/her. You, Levi Bar Alpheaus called “Biff”, made me see friendship in a new light. A friendship that can only exist between men; or a man and a woman the man hangs around in the hope of someday getting lucky with but never could. You reminded me, gently, of heroes whose praise goes unsung. Of the countless men and women whom history “sticks down the arm of the sofa and forgets about”. Of how you can’t read a good book and never go empty-handed, even were it based on the bible, the most written-about book on the planet perhaps.
I miss him. But I will miss you more.
Stuck bar Duck (called “Abesheet”)
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