How Well We Know the Bible, or Noah of Ark, as Vaguely Remembered by a Typical American

How Well We Know the Bible: Noah of Ark

“We’ve come across people who thought Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife, that Sodom and Gomorrah were married.”
— Mark Burnett, producer, “The Bible,” quoted in The New Yorker (March 2013)

And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham and Cheese. And Noah said unto Ham, Make me a sandwich. And Ham replied, Poof, you’re a sandwich; no, seriously, what’s a sandwich?

noah's arkAnd Noah said, Take two pieces of bread, smear them within and without with mustard. And this is the meat of which thou shalt make it: baloney. The length of the sandwich shall be one cubit, the breadth one-half cubit, and thou shalt build it two-slices-of-bread-plus-three-slices-of-baloney high.

And Ham did as his father commanded. And Noah ate of Ham’s Sandwich and saw it was good, though he thought it would be better with a slice of Swiss. But Noah decided to keep this to himself, given God’s odd dietary rules and harsh punishments.

And the three sons of Noah built them each a house. And the first son Shem built his house of straw. And Ham, son number two, built his house of gopher wood. And the third brother, also known as Curly, He of the Nyuck-nyucks, built his house of brick. Thence came a Big Bad Wolf. Or maybe angels of the Lord; yes, definitely, angels. And they said to Shem, Let me in, let me in. And Shem replied, Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin. But he spoke Hebrew, so it came out “khinny-khin-khin,” which roused cries of derision from the Hittites and Gymtites.

And the Lord saw that man’s wickedness was great in the earth, and repented that He made man, and said unto Noah, Verily it grieve Me that I made man, for he is evil and corrupt: he jaywalks, even when not in a hurry, and removes tags from pillows, even when clearly marked. And He continued, I will destroy man and beast, evil doers and jaywalkers, from the face of the earth.Thence He commanded Noah, Make thee an ark of gopher wood, and pitch it within and without with pitch. And use not cheap stuff, but a premium brand, like Super Elasto-Barrier adhesive coating, available at participating Ace Hardware Stores.

The Lord continued, Behold, I shall bring a flood upon the earth to destroy all flesh, and every living thing shall die. Then He added, But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark with thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives, Sadie and Gomorrah; and two of all kinds, male and female, of fowl, and cattle, and creeping things. But you can leave out dinosaurs and unicorns. And Noah asked, Ticks and mosquitoes, too? And the Lord replied, Yea, verily, schlep them along; and dont forget the fleas and dust mites. For the Lord is faithful and just, bringing mercy unto a thousand generations, though not above occasional mischief and a good laugh.

And Noah asked, How big an ark were You thinking? And the Lord answered, About 300 times longer than your Ham Sandwich — hold the Swiss. And Noah knew the Lord saw his most secret thoughts, so attempted to distract Him with a back-of-the-parchment calculation: You know, Lord, at most I’ll be able to save a few thousand species. And the Lord said, Don’t worry, I’ve invented something I call “Evolution.” It’s amazing. You’ll hardly believe it.

And Noah went home and told his wife, Joan of Arc, that God spoke unto him. And his wife, also called Jehanne, though sometimes Joanie, said, I too hear God’s voice. And Noah explained that God was going to destroy the earth, both man and beast, but they and their family, plus various creeping things, would be spared to replenish the earth. And Joanie said, Ah-ha, I knew God had a mission for me. Then she went off to lead the French against the English, or the English against the French, after which she took a cab back to the ark and arrived just before the deluge began. So despite the Flood Noah and his family lived happily ever after, until Joan was burned at the stake, or maybe guillotined, and became a Saint, or maybe The Walking Dead.

Howard Zaharoff