“In times like these it is difficult not to write satire”--Juvenal
Thursday, December 13, 2012
God Sells His Kingdom
By Jose Saramago
Translated from Portuguese by Ronaldo Jose Meister
When God, who, when he is roaming the Earth tasting all the important wines his only son Jesus, who died for your sins, so in the future could you please make your sins at least worth dying for, is in charge of making, goes by the name of Bob, sold his kingdom to three guys from Singapore, all God’s children were stunned. God didn’t care about his children. He hadn’t cared about his children for a very long time, not even the ones that came to worship at his virtual heaven where they would heap praise upon his wisdom like one heaps more shit on a pile of manure. You have to heap that crap somewhere, and God had a loathsome Squire to carefully monitor it, a simple mark who believed nearness to God gave him remarkable powers, though it didn’t, he had little skill, but God wanted him to believe he had those powers, and the Squire was more than happy to believe him. Three wise men had appeared to Bob just as they had wisely appeared at the birth of his only son Jesus, guided by one of Bob’s dying stars, as though following dying stars was the smart thing to do, a mistake similarly engaged in by all of those jackasses at Bob’s virtual heaven website. Two thousand years ago those three wise men had brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, though how myrrh could be considered a baby gift God could never figure out, so he sent that wise man straight to Hell, Hell being one eternal baby shower, but this time around those three wise men had brought their checkbooks, and not just any checkbooks, but sycophantic, sizeable, Singaporean checkbooks. Bob was pleased. God doesn’t need money, he simply loves taking it from his stupider children, who send him money regularly in the form of a subscription, with the result that because the stupider children have given him money, they tend to believe his proclamations and commandments. No one believes advice that they haven’t paid for, though those that give free advice, for example, God’s lonely bloggers who believe they will one day replace Bob, are convinced that if they just act like Bob, talk like Bob, rate like Bob and, ultimately, bore like Bob, their advice will replace Bob’s. Ah, God thinks to himself, that old Oedipal myth I made up a few thousand years ago has them wanting to kill their father and sleep with their mother, poor things, not knowing that their mother is a flatulent bulldog, though if I gave her a hundred points they’d gladly pay to stick their arrogant noses behind her docked tail.
The three Singaporean wise men bearing checkbooks humbly approached Bob, and the first one, the tallest one, though he was shorter than the subscriber list at Wine and Spirits, acted as spokesman for the three. Bob, he began, we worship you and love you and we want to buy your kingdom, all of it if you’ll let us, but if you only want us to give you money for a portion of your holy kingdom we are prepared to do that, we only want your poor children living in ignorance of your wisdom and guidance in these Bobforsaken Asian countries to have their eyes opened to your word, and that’s not a racial slur for we are of that race and we can say that just like it’s OK for essentially dead wine writers to declare wine writers dead. God was silent. Please don’t misunderstand, the suddenly nervous spokeSingaporean continued, we only want to give you money, and we want to be able to say who will be your Popes and Bishops, your mouthpieces and surrogates, your blessed scribes, who, after all, have already sold you their own names and honor for the privilege of living in your Light, and so are meaningless to you, as they are to everyone who loves your kingdom and the kingdom of the grape, for there is only one Bob from whom all glory and adjectives flow, the rest is all steaming Schildknecht.
When God spoke, the three wise men quaked, for they had only ever dreamed of being in the presence of Bob with their checkbooks, and never really believed that they would be granted an audience with the holy father, for they had never made wine like his only son Jesus and his adopted son Michel, who breathed the very oxygen God had created into his wines so as to make them more holy to his adopted father, and God was pleased with his adopted son, and not so much with Singaporeans, unless they had large checkbooks. Many people, God said, want to buy my kingdom, but they all live in the world I already command, the world most dedicated to loving Bob, a world where I am worshipped in the manner I deserve, my name on everyone’s lips, my lips on everyone’s wines, my words the best they ever hear or the last they ever hear, my commandments obeyed, Thou shalt not filter or fine, Thou shalt honor no other God before me, especially one answering to Marvin Satan, Thou shalt not enter my kingdom without a subscription, and my many other commandments. But you three wise young men come from a world where I long to be worshipped, where I long for my name to be uttered in the same hushed tones as those of Mohammed, Buddha and Wilfred Wong, where I want to spread my gospel of good living, gluttony, and the useless pursuit of perfection that doesn’t exist chasing false numbers that do, where I want to convince your kind, my lost children, to seek out what I tell them to seek out so that they will know truth and, to honor that truth, give me money, as you wise young men are willing to do, and so I will sell a portion of my kingdom to you, how’s a cool 20 mil sound?
We are humbled and honored to give you our money, holy Bob, money we have earned screwing so many of your little children in ways that would most impress you, we believe, and we thank you, and we promise to help spread your gospel, the gospel according to our wise and all-knowing father, to every corner of our land in order to make it your land, where your word is final, your Book of Numbers the holiest of books.
It is done, God said, but, my sons, may I inquire what it is you get out of this, aside from being forever associated with me, with all that is right and good about my kingdom?
Yes, Bob, replied the middle wise man, finally able to speak through his tears, tears generated by Bob’s very presence, his Light, or perhaps by his relentlessly slinging shit everywhere, I will tell you what is in it for us. We want to rule the kingdom with you as our God. With prior access to your bimonthly Book of Numbers we can invest more of our checkbooks in your wise proclamations, corner the market in all of the nineteen future perfect scores from the next great vintage in Bordeaux, accumulate even more money with these investments, reselling your perfect Bob wines to the stupid, cash-laden brothers in our land. It should be easy, the Singaporeans agreed, and we thank you, God, for all these blessings you have bestowed upon us.
After 19 years as a Sommelier in Los Angeles, twice named Sommelier of the Year by the Southern California Restaurant Writers' Association, I moved to Sonoma County to explore the other aspects of the wine business. I've spent, OK wasted, 35 years learning about and teaching about and swallowing wine. I am also a judge at the Sonoma Harvest Fair, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and the San Francisco International Wine Competition--so I can spit like a rabid llama. I know more about wine than David Sedaris and I'm funnier than James Laube. Stay tuned for an informed but jaded view of everything wine and everything else.
I'm living proof that alcohol kills brain cells.
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