CONFESSIONS OF A DISCONTENTED DIETY
IN THE BEGINNING
For a long time I didn't face up to the fact that I wasn't happy. I ignored what I was feeling which, now that I look back on it, was downright discontentment. I made do and buried Myself in work. I distracted Myself by creating things – which is what I enjoy most. It's what defines Me.
In fact, when the events I am reconstructing finally came to a head, I was working on My biggest project since I created the Universe. I was creating another Universe – cool or what?
When I did My first Universe I was a complete beginner. The tools and techniques I developed to fill and expand it came along all higgledy-piggledy. I managed to work up lots of stuff that entertains Me, but it's also very untidy. So I got the idea to use My experience and make a new Universe. A nice tidy little one where, no matter what planet you looked into the sky from, it was clear that I had a whole design concept in mind from the Beginning.
When I started I made it vacuum clear throughout Heaven that I was not to be disturbed. And I was making good progress.
But then there was a knock on the Creation Chamber door. I was surprised. And not pleased.
I pressed Pause and turned. "What?" I thundered. There was a colossal electrical storm over the Amazon.
St Peter shuffled in, his head bowed. "I am stricken to interrupt You, Lord. But You have been away for so long. I know it's only a blink of Your eye, but a situation has arisen on Earth and we in the Host simply don't know how to resolve it."
"Earth is about to blow up?"
"A meteor the size of 8sjjjx'^r42 is about to crash into it?"
"Nothing like that, Lord."
"Well, what is it like?" I was not happy. I tossed My hair. There was a sandstorm in the Sahara.
"Well, Lord," Peter said, "there is this place…" He consulted his clipboard. "They call it Texas."
I hadn't really been incommunicado for as long as all that. Maybe a hundred years as they measure it on Earth. And, it's true, I'd lost track of time – that happens when You're engrossed in Your work. But it seemed that one of the Angels assigned to Prayer Delivery was in jail in a city called Houston.
Aisha from the Angel Bureau led Me to where Angel Olaf was waiting, his head in his hands. When he saw Me he fell to his knees. "I'm so sorry, Lord. For I have screwed up."
"Olaf," I said, "you were sent unto…" Aisha whispered in My ear. "…unto Bobbi-Lou to answer her prayer."
"And I did try, Lord." Olaf hung his head. "My very utmost. But… But…"
In the early days of Heavenly admin when Angels went to Earth on missions they would find themselves among the kind of people they had lived with when they were alive. They'd understand how those people felt and thought and behaved and they could help accordingly.
But nowadays we don't get many Angels from modern humanity. Olaf had lived and died in Norway in the 14th Century.
I whispered to Aisha, "Is this the same Olaf who was at the center of that debacle in Salem?"
"I thought he was supposed to be retired."
"We had no one to replace him, Lord. Souls are not the only thing there's a shortage of."
The soul-supply shortage… One of the areas of hassle I'd buried Myself in work to avoid being nagged about. I was suddenly weary. There were doldrums in the South China Sea.
However this day Eternal Life had brought Me to a Houston jail cell because of a problem about a prayer. And poor old Olaf: how could he be expected to understand the likes of a Twenty-First Century Bobbi-Lou, who lived on Pink Flamingo Boulevard in the fifth Airstream on the left? Whatever an "Airstream" was.
Olaf still might have been all right if Bobbi-Lou's prayer had been something specific like, "Let my cat Cuddles find her way home today," or, "Let my boyfriend be run over by a bus." But Bobbi-Lou had prayed for her life to be made "better". Well, how's an Olaf supposed to get to grips with that when "better" in his lifetime amounted to an extra reindeer?
Prayers are answered on a lottery basis. Back when the Heaven thing was in its infancy I did try out a few merit systems, but they were hopeless as soon as a typical prayer stopped being, "Lord, please strike down this saber-toothed tiger so I can get back to my cave-rats." Ranking the comparative value of vaguely expressed human yearnings and wantings was just too hard.
So now all heartfelt prayers go into a metaphorical Heavenly hat. The – few – lucky winners are assigned an Angel of Mercy from the pool. It ought to be straight-forward. It ought to keep Me out of it.
But sometimes it's an Olaf who goes to a Bobbi-Lou. With the best will in the world he says, "Come unto me, child. For I am here to answer your prayer."
But his intentions are misunderstood – maybe it's the accent – because Bobbi-Lou says, "You can come unto me any way that answers your prayer, pal, for forty bucks, but you gotta use a condom."
One misunderstanding leads to another and Olaf isn't carrying any money – Bobbi-Lou checks. So before he knows it he's in a jail cell, accused of attempted rape. Maybe they're even going to execute him. It is Texas, after all.
And that's the big issue for Peter and the Host. For an Angel to be "executed" in front of a bloodthirsty audience could disrupt the whole balance of belief and reality on Earth. As in, "Where did the body go?"
Hence Peter at My door. Hence My materializing in a Houston jail.
"I'm so sorry, Lord," Olaf said unto Me, "for I know not what I did."
When I arrived at Bobbi-Lou's, she was in the shower. But I didn't appear before her immediately. I was distracted by her Airstream, and what I found in it.
I saw at a glance that mankind had made technological strides since I'd last dropped in on Earth. The Airstream itself was a huge advance on a Conestoga wagon, though Bobbi-Lou's seemed to have lost its wheels somewhere along the way. And they'd made imaginative use of metals and, especially, electricity. Everywhere I turned there were machines I hadn't seen on Earth before. Not only forms of light, toaster ovens and little computers, they now
The screen was the size of a window and displayed some people sitting on a stage with the caption, "He had sex with his sister after she became a man."
But there were other channels too and I flicked through them. Most of the women were unlike any I'd seen in Heaven or on previous visits to Earth – pale-haired and top-heavy. And the men were shades of copper, and top-
heavy. Everyone was ivory-toothed.
"Who the hell are you?" Bobbi-Lou screamed from a doorway. "And what the hell do you think you're doing? I was watching that." She held a small machine between her face and Mine as if it were a weapon.
I raised My hand to stop her where she was. I examined the device. It was a multi-functional transceiver – telephone, camera, computer, news gatherer, epistle writer and epistle receiver all in one container lighter than a wren and as small as a shrew. Earth people had a long way to go, technologically speaking, but they'd certainly been busy since I was last among them.
But I'd catch up with all that another time. I was on a mission.
To keep us from being interrupted I lifted Bobbi-Lou from her wagon and from her preparations to give a formal statement to the policeman who'd come in response to her 911 call about Olaf. I took her to Another Place.
"Wha? Wha? Wha?" she said.
But I silenced her again.
Because I was astounded. Apart from what was growing on her head, she was hairless. That's not the way I'd made women. Was it a side-effect of electrification? Or a bizarre evolutionary step?
I didn't like it. It made Me think of children and that's never been how I've wanted to think of women.
"Oooh… my… God," she said when I let her speak again.
"Don't tell me! This is one of them alien abductions, right? I just knew they was true. You want to breed with me, right? It's pointless for me to resist, right?"
I'd been on My own in the Creation Chamber for quite a while. But although Bobbi-Lou was plump, glistening and eager, I just didn't want to.
It wasn't that I didn't want "it". I didn't want her.
At first I thought it was just because of her freakish hairlessness.
I spun Bobbi-Lou around a few times to dizzy her up. Then I explained that if she played her cards right, the policeman who was about to interview her would be the man of her dreams.
"Of mah dreams?" The light in her eye was almost Heavenly.
I told her to tell him that she was dropping the charges against Olaf. To say she'd only filed them because she was shocked from having led such a pure life heretofore.
I don't tell lies Myself, but Bobbis-Lou are not bound by such constraints.
I told her to say that from the moment she saw him she knew he was the policeman for her.
If she did all this, he would marry her, and together they would move to Alaska where, even if the marriage didn't work out, there were so few women that she'd be considered pretty and smart and her life would be "better"
forever. "For I have come to Earth to answer your prayer, Bobbi-Lou. Have you got all that? Or shall I go through it again, more slowly?"
When I got back to Heaven I was still annoyed about having been interrupted. Big projects have a momentum and You can't just pick them up again once You've put them down. So I wrote off the rest of the day and dealt with a few of the smaller Heavenly admin tasks that had accumulated on Peter's clipboard.
I didn't reflect on My experience with Bobbi-Lou until I was back in My Celestial Bed.
It was there that I realized that I wouldn't have wanted her even if she had been as I'd thought I'd made her.
This was a breakthrough in My Self-awareness, though at the time I certainly didn't recognize how big its ramifications would become.
I'd known for ages that something wasn't right. I just hadn't faced it. And My encounter with Bobbi-Lou helped Me to identify what it was: I'd become bored with the way I was getting laid.
They say God is immutable. That He is unchanging. A constant. Well, that's just not true.
I change and that ought to be obvious, if you think about it. I made man in My own image – and why not, for I am truly awesome. But that means if you want to know about Me, you should look at man. Men, actually. And men change. Well, some of them.
It may take awhile, even an inexplicably long time. But if men can change then so can I. And this change caught Me by surprise.
Ever since I created women I'd just taken My pick from the tottie On High and on Earth. Every one of them would do anything for Me, anytime – because it was Me. Until the period I'm reconstructing I was perfectly content with things.
But now I faced that women had been doing it with a concept, not with Me. And – along with her juvenilizing lack of fur – that was what had put Me off doing it with Bobbi-Lou. Even if she'd thought I was an "alien" rather than the Almighty, she behaved as if she had no choice.
As I reflected on what had happened, I realized that what I wanted now was more than "it".
I wanted women – wherever – to be doing it because of who I was, not what I was.
That was new for Me. And confusing. Because for a very long time what I'd wanted had been clear and simple. The only complications were ones I put in for My own entertainment, like snagging some of Earth's special beauties by coming to them as a bull, the holy spirit, or Lord Byron.
It wasn't that I no longer wanted women. I fancied and fantasized about them as powerfully as ever. But as I visualized them, the women were wanting me. Not Me.
But… how could that work?
I couldn't be anonymous in Heaven.
So I would have to go to Earth and take some inconspicuous form.
Changing My appearance would be no problem. But what then? How did one speak to a human woman other than to command her? I knew no more about the social skills used for mating in 21st Century societies than I knew about Bobbi-Lou's multi-purpose transceiver. In all My existence I'd never needed social skills. What was a "social skill"?
A tremor beneath a polar ice cap broke off a hundred icebergs.
But the dissatisfaction I'd identified about being with women was a real one. I was clear about that, even if I didn't yet know how to solve the problem.
However solving problems was something I did regularly. It was an intrinsic part of Creating. So I would solve this one.
I'd spent eons on My own before I thought up man and woman. I had no intention of going back to flying solo.
The next morning was misty, like so many Up Here. I awoke resolved to address My newly identified problem.
My plan was to begin by running through the logbook that Peter keeps at his gate. That would allow Me to catch up on what had been happening on Earth, technologically and otherwise. Movers and shakers might not make it into Heaven very often, but they all came to the gate.
Then I'd go Down There to check the lay of the land. And depending on what I found… Well, who knew? I didn't expect it to take all that long. How hard could it be, compared to making a Universe?
I breakfasted on milk and honey. Ever notice how pure honeys never grow mold? A nice touch, I've always thought.
I did not plan to have My breakfast interrupted. But it wasn't Peter. It was Jesus.
Whenever the Boy shows up at My door Peter lets Him in. No doubt that's because they were buddies back on Earth.
I turned toward Him but I held up My hand to prevent His talking or coming forward. I hadn't seen Him since I began work on the new Universe. Even so, I knew what He wanted. It was what He always wanted.
I lowered My hand and said, "I'm busy but if You'd like some breakfast, have a seat and chow down."
He didn't sit, preferring to stand in His long robes. Maybe He thought they made Him look taller. And thinner.
"This won't take long, Lord," He said. "I am here to ask Your permission to return to Earth."
What they did to Him the last time He was on Earth doesn't bear thinking about, so I try not to. After it I felt such a wave of guilt that I assembled all His Earthly pals Up Here and gave them permanent roles. I thought they'd hang out in their spare time, talk about the old days and play cribbage. I thought that would make Jesus content.
But it hadn't worked out that way.
I said, "You sure You won't try the honey? It's very good. Or a little milk?"
He shook His head. "I want to do My part to resolve the soul shortage." There was a pause before He added, "Mom thinks it's a good idea too."
It's His mother who Jesus seems to hang out with most. Well, He did live at home for most of his years on Earth. And she's forever telling Him how important He is because He's My only begotten Son.
"From what I hear of Earth," He said, "there has never been more suffering and more waywardness."
"Jesus, if I sent You down to be born again where You were born the last time, chances are You'd be sliced and diced before You were potty-trained."
"But if You send Me as I am, Lord, then—"
I held up My hand again. My mind was occupied with other things. And I did not care to rush into an experiment with Him.
"Request denied, Jesus."
His face curled up in a pout. He looked like He was about to stamp his foot.
"This audience is over."
When Jesus left I found Myself wondering why He was so fixed on saving souls on Earth. Didn't He ever change?
Because the period I'm reconstructing was not the first time I'd become discontented. One earlier dissatisfaction was even what led Me to create man in the first place. And woman…
I'd been bulking up the Universe for quite a while. I'd created masses of fun space bric-a-brac. And I'd already invented Life – which came about when I got the idea to make stuff that would duplicate itself so I didn't have to do repetitive work – always a plus. And Life in many variations had entertained Me for a good long time.
But I began to feel something was missing.
I was making this great stuff, but I was the only one who appreciated it. Even the most sophisticated Life, up to that point, could only grunt or squeak. Where was the applause when My creatures had no hands?
I came to realize that a Creative Guy likes acknowledgement when He's done good work. He likes to hear a laugh when He's made a good joke. He likes to hear lips smacking when He's cooked a great meal. I was missing company. Knowledgeable, appreciative company…
So I made some.
How to go about it wasn't immediately obvious. Or easy. During the development phase I tried out several versions, in various places. But most of them just didn't fly. Even the ones with wings. And the metal ones rusted. And the silicon ones turned out to be all head and no heart.
Eventually I focused on carbon Life and the breakthrough came when I got the idea to use Myself as the model. Once I had that, I worked hard and made Human Beings and I launched them on sweet blue and green Earth.
They were sentient – aware of themselves – but I'd made other Life forms like that, on Earth and elsewhere. But to man I gave a little extra component – the "soul." That gave him free will – because there was no point inventing Life that had to appreciate Me. That would just have been appreciating Myself which, arguably, was what I'd been doing in the first place.
And I found I wasn't dissatisfied anymore.
Because, yes, there were now creatures who could look around them and say, Wow! But also because at the same time I made man I made woman.
Man was modeled on Me but when I made the variant he'd need to mate with I used a form that came to Me in a dream.
And as soon as I made flesh and blood woman – all soft and shaped, and not hairless – I knew that she was something I'd been missing too. I knew that she was exactly what I'd like to get My personal rocks off with.
So I did.
Like a teenager, for a long time I didn't think much about anything else.
And maybe that's why I didn't give man-the-Life-form the finishing touches that might have made him more sustainable in the long run. I rushed him into production without addressing his competitiveness, aggression and self-regard.
Later on I did try to introduce some corrective measures. I thought the odd Ice Age might encourage men to work together. Or that discovering how to use metals might allow time for gentleness since feeding themselves wasn't so hard anymore. But instead they moved from being humbly grateful for food and fertility to being murderously possessive about place and space.
So I tried more direct interventions, like inspiring some prophets. But they went loopy with the power and even made stuff up that they claimed came from Me, like the guys who cobbled together the so-called Bible, the Qur'an and other "sacred" texts. Eventually I even sent poor, sensitive Jesus Down among them to pass on simple principles of basic moral decency – treat people as you'd want to be treated, stuff like that. Nothing difficult to understand. But not only did Jesus's time Down There end in tears, the self-servers immediately began to twist the story to their own ends.
Man's capacity to choose to misinterpret what he sees and hears was a shock, one that's continued. And before the end of the time I am reconstructing My tolerance for My creation was wearing thin, what with his greed, blindness, intolerance and destructiveness.
But ditching human man would mean ditching human woman. And I certainly didn't want to rush into that, especially when I'd just recognized that I no longer enjoyed Paradisial Pussy.
So at first I let the bigger issues alone. I concentrated on the fact that I was no longer satisfied with any woman whose only interest was to comply with My wishes. Doing "it" with reverent women now felt an utterly joyless prospect.
To find irreverent women I'd have to go to Earth.
But what then? Did women hang out together in groups when they were in the mood? Or did they wander the forests alone looking for a mate? I had no idea how to find women who might share My inclinations.
And once I found a woman who might be agreeable, what should I do? Asking her made sense, but I had no experience of asking anybody for anything. It was a whole new prospect for Me.
But I'd had no idea how to make stars at first either. I learned that by trying. So all I could think of to solve this new problem was to try.
0First, though, I examined Peter's logbooks. That caught Me up not only with Earthly technological developments but with the way the human population had exploded. No wonder the old boy was so preoccupied by soul production.
But more people meant more women. That had to improve My odds. So I headed to Earth to try to find agreeable women in the mood to mate, and see what happened.
It didn't happen.
My first visits to Earth did not go well. Not even after I identified which cultures allowed women the kind of autonomy I needed them to have. Not even after I found some of the places where autonomous women went to relax.
I did manage to talk to some of them, but the conversations did not progress as I wished.
Sylvie in Paris told Me to stop talking about Myself.
Hildegard in Berlin said I wasn't going to get anywhere with her if I just sat there silent all the time.
Sunita in Puna said I struck her as emotionally undeveloped.
Jewel in Cape Town said she didn't like men who cried all the time.
Constanza in Rio complained that I was pushy.
Sheila in Melbourne couldn't cope with My passivity.
Maya in Manila complained that I didn't listen.
Li in Beijing said I only had one thing on My mind.
Carla in Bangkok wasn't what she appeared to be.
Irena in Minsk said it seemed like I was trying to buy her.
Sherri in Tampa complained that I was cheap.
Brynhildur at the penguin research station in Antarctica said she wouldn't be interested if I were the last man on Earth.
Elsie from Bath said she knew guys like Me: we bruise the peaches but then won't buy them.
Jane in Toronto said I acted like I was God's gift.
Time and again I returned to Heaven confused. And frustrated. Storms covered the Earth and persisted, puzzling
I'd modeled man on Myself. Women were almost the same – though cuter. Why was it so hard? I just didn't understand what I was doing wrong.
There were lots of things about mankind that already struck Me as unfathomable: tattoos; high heels; string theory; bullying; Brazilians; the color mauve… But My failure to grasp why a woman might want "it" with one man but not another was a total mystery.
I'd created woman but I couldn't for a moment claim to understand her.