Crossmaglen, Ireland (Spring 2009)
When God appeared to me and ordained me as his prophet, I was rather disappointed. He was tall and rather overtly Aryan, with a long, white beard (no genuflection to the minorities), and worst of all, had a cultured English accent. He doesn’t sound one bit like Morgan Freeman, I thought, as He stepped up into a winged chariot that was piloted by an angel.
Whether the pilot was male or female, I couldn’t quite make out, but he or she was disconcertingly attractive.
“First of all” I said, a tad cheekily, “And let’s be quite clear on this point, I ain’t enduring years of hardship and persecution; I’ve already done my time in family practice.”
“Whatever,” He said, showing He is in touch with yoof culture, “It’s the materialistic thing, I thought I’d start with that. From now on, I’m banning i-Pods, microwaves, golf, mobile telephone and remote controls.”
“Remote controls?” I queried, “Isn’t that going too far? It is the object of ultimate desire, the faithful will rebel; we’ll have to prize them out of their cold dead hands. And on a purely personal and professional level, the remote control has been a lot of fun for family doctors, slipping it down the back of the sofa, or hiding it underneath a book (books are like kryptonite to remote control addicts).”
He ignored this.
“Then I’m getting rid of medical care,” He continued, an ominous drum roll filling the air, “Darwin was right, don’t ye know, I just chucked the balls in the air and let things evolve, all this Creationism and Intelligent Design stuff is shit. Medical care is anti-Darwinian, you are perpetuating maladaptive genetic codes by artificial methods, you are losing fitness; so I’m gonna give you a good lifestyle, enough food, not too much, plenty of exercise, clean water, etc and then everyone has to look after themselves. No more self-serving hospitals and health insurance companies, no more annoying doctor’s wives; it will be all about individual responsibility…….” There was a squeak of annoyance and the drum roll stopped abruptly as the angel who had been drumming dropped the drumstick over the edge of the chariot.
I watched the drumstick spiraling downwards into the clouds, nearly taking out an AWAC, and at last began to get up to speed with the whole prophet gestalt.
“Yea Lord,” I said, “Yet I would crave at least one boon…”
“OK, OK,” He said irritably, “You can keep antibiotics.”