There’s nothing worse than being misquoted.
What I Meant: A New Look at the Bible
as told to James Stafford
My name is God. It isn’t really, but you people seem to like that handle so I’ll go with it. If I thought you could roll with it I’d ask you to call me “Bandit,” like in the Burt Reynolds movie. That guy really understood the mustache.
You guys still like to give me a mustache, along with a beard and a Leon Russell hairdo. According to you I wear a lot of robes, too. This is because when it comes to yours truly you’re still in the Renaissance. Everybody was dressing like that back then. I guess I should consider myself lucky: If I peaked during the 1990s you’d picture me with a Kid ‘n Play fade and Hammer pants. Some of you think of me as The Goddess or the Lifeforce. I’m cool with all of it. Just don’t call me Bono.
I invented Legos. I’m not talking about those little plastic building blocks, though I like to think that I inspired them. No, I’m referring to the tiniest of tiny subatomic particles from which the whole shebang is built (do people still say shebang?). I saw recently that you found one of these building blocks and labeled it “Higgs boson,” which I think is just precious. It reminds me a bit of kids playing with the “other” Legos and doing an end zone dance for discovering the rectangular pieces. Seriously though, good job and keep looking – there’s a lot out there still to discover.
I have to admit that this thing got away from me a little bit. I mean, I knew that mathematically my particles could be combined in nearly infinite ways, but Jiminy Christmas I never imagined I’d end up with something the size of the Universe, which is the biggest thing there is as far as you know.
Come to think of it I never counted on you people knowing anything. You were just another combination of particles, but I’ll be jiggered if you didn’t somehow break out of pure instinct and become self-aware. I tell you, I blame wheat.
I can’t remember her name, but about 10,000 years ago over there in the Middle East a little gal lucked into the secrets of plant propagation. Maybe it wasn’t wheat, I don’t know. I have a terrible memory for details. My point is that once farming caught on in a big way you people thought you’d left the animal kingdom. No more foraging for us! That’s when the trouble started.
I guess once you’re no longer spending your days trying to find food and your nights trying not to be food you have time to start asking questions like “Why are we here? Where did we come from? What’s it all mean? Where do we go after we die?” Early on these were just after work time passers around the campfire, but eventually you codified symbols and called it “writing.” Next thing I know I’m being quoted out of context; no, people are making up sassafras and attributing it to me. Pure balderdash. Hokum.
The thing is you were learning so quickly. There’s only 10,000 years between that gal with the seeds and Peter Higgs. It takes me ten thousand years just to get out of bed in the morning. I figured as fast as you were learning you’d realize those early writings attributed to me were naïve campfire stories, but no. Many of you quote that hooey like it’s a textbook. Some of you have even doubled down and insisted that not only are the Bible’s stories completely and literally true, but that I dictated them.
Well, to paraphrase Cool Hand Luke if that’s the way you want it then that’s the way you’ll get it. Through James Stafford, my divinely inspired collaborator, I want to set the record straight once and for all on such topics as the beginning of everything, pork, and that ugly business with my son (love ya, kid).
I hope you enjoy this book and find it informative, and I apologize in advance that I’m not available for press and in-stores. Maybe you can get Kanye.
About my co-author: You’re probably wondering why I chose an unknown writer as my collaborator. That’s a valid question – I always wonder that myself when I pick up a celebrity bio. Well, I’ll tell you. I like working with people who have no self-esteem. You go tell somebody who thinks he’s hot stuff to build a giant boat or stab his own kid and see what happens.
Another thing that appealed to me about James is that he thinks he’s an atheist, so he calls me on my shenanigans. I remember one night it was pretty late and we were working on a scene and I whipped up a strong wind to blow my hair and was doing that booming “LOOK AT ME” voice – real Chuck Heston stuff – and James looked me straight in the eye and he said (and I’ll never forget this), “Really? That’s how you want to come off?” I knew right then that he was my guy.
Also, he has a killer futon in his office and I have sciatica.
– Bandit, Manhattan Beach, California
This piece originally appeared on Why It Matters