God began telling me about perhaps his most ardent admirer, a fellow named Job, who worshiped him like there was no tomorrow.
God and I were sitting in a bar in midtown Manhattan and waiting for our postprandial drinks when the bar’s computer crashed. So, in a way, did the bartender — he fainted after an apparently drunk patron informed him he was the spitting image of Barbara Bush.
While one or two of the bar’s patrons complained about the lengthy wait, several others complained about their jobs. One man said he was a 9-5 taster of pet food and another said he cooked Chicken McNuggets for a living. A third man had recently quit his job as a telemarketer and was now living in an adjacent alleyway.
Hearing these complaints, God began telling me about perhaps his most ardent admirer, a fellow named Job who worshiped him like there was no tomorrow.
“To Job, I could do no wrong,” God said, “so rather than reward him for his piety, I decided to bring that piety down a few notches.”
“I seem to recall that Satan was involved in your plan,” I observed.
“Satan gave up at a very early stage, saying he couldn’t deal with such a zealot.”
“I also recall that you covered Job with moles. The dark brown skin growth rather than the subterranean mammal.
“I started out by covering him with moles, and when that didn’t work, I covered him with scabs, warts, hives, eczema, psoriasis, and diaper rash. ‘Give me more, O Holy One!’ Job told me.”
At this point, bartender rose to his feet. “Sorry for the inconvenience,” he said. “Drinks are on the house.
“At least there’s some good in the world,” I remarked.
“Not good so much as bittersweet,” God told me, then he ordered a chococolate Negroni bittersweet cocktail.
He went on. “Job had three daughters, and I asked a Leviathan to swallow them. After the Leviathan performed this deed, Job said he was pleased the gals remained pure until the end. Then when I forced his sons to become grunts in Pharaoh’s army, he said, ‘At least they’re putting in a good day’s work.’”
“Somewhere I read that you gave Job a case of severe constipation.”
“Yes, and then I convinced his wife to give him an enema using the Dead Sea Scrolls. You wouldn’t think he’d appreciate this, would you? But he thanked me profusely, saying, ‘What a blessed pain!’”
“Sounds like Job had turned his piety into a psychosis.”
“I tried one last time to lower that piety. ‘If you like pain, then I’ll give you pain,’ I told him. And I struck him with a bolt of lightning while he was milking one of his camels. ‘Hit me again, Almighty One! Hit me again!” he shouted. “I’ve now become a burnt offering…’”
“A genuine loony!”
God nodded. He told me that there was no longer any way he could punish Job, so — like Satan — he gave up. Then he concluded his story with this revelation: Job has long since died, but his name lives on in the most punishing of all human activities — a job.
Part of a series detailing Lawrence Millman’s experiences with his drinking buddy God. Soon to be gathered together, assuming a publisher is interested, as a mini-memoir entitled “Drinks With God.”