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Monday, March 16, 2009

Modern Plagues

"Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, "This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me, or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth.  For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth."'"
Exodus 9: 13-15

(Digression: Not for nothing, God, but what's with all the embedded quotes?  End of digression.)

The Eleventh Plague: Peanut Butter!

If God wanted to do some serious smiting, he could have given the Egyptians a pestilent two-fer by changing the waters of the Red Sea not to blood but to peanut butter.  Thus would he have not only produced unquenchable thirst, but also accomplished the killing of the first born.  At least it seems that way.  When did peanut butter become as big a threat to childhood survival as asthma and Michael Jackson?  If you're ever attacked by a slavering mob of toddlers, all you need to do is brandish a jar of JIF to escape unscathed (and probably take out a few of the tykes into the bargain).

Or so it was.  Scientists have developed a new kind of therapy, wherein children are slowly exposed to peanut butter.  They are first given near-microscopic amounts, and doctors slowly, carefully, increase the dosage as long as the child doesn't, like, die.  The ultimate goal is for the children to be able to eat fifteen (count 'em fifteen!) peanuts without suffering anaphylactic shock.

One can only imagine the disappointment of parents whose children can only swallow fourteen peanuts.  Talk about childhood trauma.

If you want to eat sixteen peanuts, you're on your own!

The Twelfth Plague: Night of the Living Volunteers!

A bit of silver around the edges of today's economic clouds: Many people are offering their services to non-profit agencies as a way to deal with being laid off.  They see these as networking opportunities, and/or as ways to keep themselves productively occupied while they look for work and/or as responses to our somewhat messianic president's call to national service.

It does seem to be a bit of a mixed blessing, though.

From today's Times:

"'Can you make them stop calling?' groused one nonprofit executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.  'Everybody's inspired by Obama,' he said, adding: 'They also don't have jobs.'"

Gosh-darn those unemployed!  Why can't they be out using the services of non-profit agencies instead of helping non-profit agencies complete their menial tasks?

Beware, though: Throngs of would-be samaritans were seen shambling around midtown, their eyes glazed over, drooling, mumbling, "Choooorrrees!  Us want choooorrrrress!"

1 comment:

  1. Why does your quoting the Old Testament (or "Torah" to those of the Jewish persuasion) send a delighted chill down my spine? All those years in Yeshiva may not have been in vain... Next you'll be telling us how much you love matzoh!

    How appropriate for you to ponder the 12 plagues with Passover coming up! FWIW, I think my favorite plague was frogs. I mean, apart from being arguably ugly, what's so bad about frogs? My son has a pet frog and he's really cute, particularly when he's eating teeny crickets. Maybe they freaked out the Mitzrim (Egyptians) by croaking too loudly.

    Speaking of Passover, I recall attending a Seder a few years ago where the kids had little finger puppets for each plague, to lighten up and kid-ify the celebration. I dunno, but seeing a finger puppet of "Death of the First Born" just seemed wrong. But for that matter, a lot of the Old Testament is pretty gruesome. Not sure if you realized this, but in the Megillah we read at Purim (which just passed, for those lapsed Jewish readers) the happy occasion of Mordechai defeating Haman is followed by Xerxes (Ahaseurus) giving the Jews a mandate to slaughter their enemies who were conspiring against them, with a massacre of evil Persians ensuing. In Hebrew school they tend to gloss over that fact. Clearly, Purim's not all grogers and hamentashen. Maybe Amadinejad should read his "book of history" like Xerxes did.

    Thus endeth the rant.

    Sol's Bud.