Hanging out with his New York drinking buddy, God, the author is treated to a tale about the Mother of God.
God and I were walking in the Herald Square area of New York, and half the people we saw on the street seemed to be homeless and looking for money.
“In a way, these people remind me of Mary,” my companion said, referring to the woman known by Christians as the Mother of God.
“Did she end up homeless on the streets of Nazareth?” I asked.
“No, but she was always asking me for child support. I told her my job was to provide spiritual rather than child support. Filthy lucre was outside my domain. This annoyed her, and she called me a deadbeat deity, a tightwad tutelary, holier than thou, etc, etc.”
“Couldn’t Joseph or the Holy Ghost, sorry, Goat have helped with Jesus’s upkeep?”
“Joseph’s carpentry business had hit a snag at the time, so all he could do was construct Jesus’s manger. As for the Holy Goat, he said that since I had asked him to (in his words) ‘knock up Mary,’ Jesus was my son, not his. Which meant I should be the one who supported the kid.”
We now entered a bar, and God ordered a pair of Tequilas for us, paying for them with actual money rather than offering spiritual advice to the bartender.
Sipping his Tequila Sunrise, God went on with his story. Once she realized God would never give her any shekels for Jesus’s upkeep, Mary took out a restraining order on him. He would not be allowed to see his son except on those occasions when he took Jesus to a leprosarium.
“So how did Mary end up supporting Jesus?” I asked, sipping my Tequila Sunrise.
“Several ways. She turned the stable where he was born into a tourist attraction called Birthplace of the Messiah. She also had Joseph construct a bunch of heirloom cribs, and she sold each one of them as the crib where Jesus lay as an infant.”
“Anything to make a buck, as the saying goes,” I said. “But do you think she might not have been the right person to raise your son?”
“Well, I interviewed a number of women beforehand, and she seemed to be the best. Her demand for financial support probably went with the territory.”
“Then you don’t hold any grudges against Mary?”
“None against her, but I do have a grudge against Joseph. For whatever the reason, he gave Mary Magdalene some linseed oil, and she anointed Jesus’s head and feet with it. The poor kid! His eyes were glued shut, and his feet ended up stuck together for quite a long time. ‘Please unstick me, dad,’ he called out to me, but I was busy with a plague and didn’t hear him.”
I had one last question. Could this aforementioned anointment have been an act of revenge of Joseph’s part? After all, Jesus was not really his son, but he was forced to look after the boy. Maybe, God replied, but it was more likely Joseph’s ignorance — if linseed oil helps to preserve wood, he probably felt it would help preserve Jesus, too.
We finished our drinks and left the bar. Right away a homeless woman jiggled a coffee cup at us and asked for change. “I have four children,” she said.
“That’s considerably worse than me,” God told her, putting some bills in her cup.
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.”