[Author’s note: sometime last week, in broad daylight, I saw myself turn into Mr. Hyde. I’m not quite sure what happened. Apparently there was lot’s of anger, and a few more-than-unkind words to my wife. When I regained my senses, I found myself in an old stamp store, and a gentleman was offering me some type of vintage foreign stamps, not your run of the mill stamps that I’m used to from the CVS near me. Well, since WF aims to include different perspectives, and for lack of better inspiration this week, I thought I could transcribe Mr. Hyde’s scribbles here.]
Are there not some moments when we wish we could get rid of God? C’mon, let’s be frank. Every now and then we need some privacy to commit our pet sin. Or just room to vent and be rude and mistreat people. A little condescension toward others comes so natural, doesn’t it? And oh, there is no aspirin for low self-esteem better than a tasty gossip in the library corner, while crumbs of mini-muffins fall on the rare books collection. It is annoying, if not disturbing, to have a presence of goodness by our side all the time; God would be more convenient if we could turn him off with a remote control. He would be more pleasing still if handed out power and money and wisdom, and stayed out of the way.
I’ve been cataloguing ways to get rid of God. The classic one is to deny his existence , of course. I did try that, but that is so tiring, more tiring than watching ants lift a massive leaf. It requires too many mental gymnastics, too heavy doses of nihilism, and the constant self-reminder that the fresh Saturday morning breeze is not meant to signify anything: it is just a product of chance. Sure, atheism sounds intelligent, but I would rather use my mind to guess how many pistachios George Clooney can stuff in his mouth.
Maybe it is more comfortable to remain uncertain about God. Is he there, or is he not? Uhm, good question, but why fold or bet all chips in? Can’t I make a blank face and stay in the game still? If I don’t choose, I don’t have to deal with fundamentalists of either side trying to convince me I’m wrong. I would rather watch the fight than get a bloody nose myself, so let them go at each other. Yeah, upper punch! Hit him! But agnosticism still requires a decision to not decide, and for a commitment-phobic like me, I still prefer to use less of my precious brain.
Ah, I can still not think at all! I like that. I can feed my brain with an iPod – I’ve heard these days you can upload songs enough to play throughout summer break – and I can get a few hobbies too. Gardening? No, I have a back problem, and it requires bowing down. Make-up collection? That would be nice, if I used make-up. What about fishing? I guess the hobby itself doesn’t matter, as long as it keeps me busy, so let’s go for fishing. There are so many coloured baits around I want to eat one myself. There are also fishing magazines to read, communities to join, junior, amateur, and pro championships to win, then fly-fishing, water-fishing, worm-fishing, world without end. Plus, you have to decide where to go, which bait to use, if you prefer to sit or stand, but then it is nonthinking heaven for a few hours.
Or I can collect stamps. My grandpa used to collect German stamps from the turn of the century, so I can start from there. He used to pick the stamps with all care. Then he would inspect them with a magnifier, pass a protector glue on top of them, and arrange them with an intricate logic. I can do that. I will expand his collection to include also Chilean stamps from the time of Pinochet, and maybe get a stamp or two from Indonesia to spice things up. I’ve heard they have one with a yellow bull looking at you.
But why are we talking about stamps? Uhm… Oh yeah, I wanted to avoid God. I got so into this new little project that I forgot about it. I like that! Bring on stamps on truckload!