Pardon me while I shed a few layers of clothing. It’s getting hot in here. I’m taking some heat from a
troll reader regarding my interpretation of Intellectual Wellness as represented in my end-of-month work release posts. I’ve been challenged by this feedback to offer my trolls readers something more substantial in this arena. Apparently Peaco posts, working on my novel, and documentaries just don’t cut it as intellectual enough in the judgment-infested waters of wellness. This suggestion makes me laugh so hard I pee a little, because you people have no idea how much I leave out every month, especially in the intellectual aspect. And it’s not because the work doesn’t measure up to some mythical standard of intellectual enough, but because the things that stimulate me intellectually are unique to my intellect. The offerings that do make the cut for blog purposes are examples, not guidelines or suggestions.
I’m stimulated intellectually by a wide variety of creative and educational pursuits. Sometimes this includes having my intellect stimulated by someone else’s stupidity, laziness or bad judgment. I don’t include every activity I pursue because some spin-off results would come across as mean or insensitive, or would be questionably relatable for the general public. For people who are stimulated by Sudoku or baseball saber-metrics (my husband, for instance), the casual study of comparative religion probably doesn’t seem interesting at all. I consider this before I waste your time. However, internet trolls have so much time on their hands they write to me over stupid shit like this, so this is for all you blog-feasting parasites. Dig in and burp. Feel free to squander some more of your time on the revelations below and remember that you asked for it.
Heads up: you’re all going to think I’m a bitch for this, which is why I don’t include these things when I “show my work.” But I’ll be the bitch in the interest of transparency and authenticity, since both are being called into question. You’ll think you need to write in to inform me of my exorbitant levels of bitchitude after digesting the rest of this but let me save you the trouble. I already know.
I started writing a children’s book after reading a bad resume. It’s true. Last month I read a resume by a job seeker who listed her former employer as a daycare center named This Little Light of Mines. Judging by the amount of street slang used throughout the resume, I knew this was not a typo. This was a person who writes the way she speaks. So mines would seem correct to her. Obviously it doesn’t read correctly to me because I’m a GrammarZilla. That’s Grammar + Godzilla (Grammar Nazi is no longer appropriate); and because my sense of humor gets triggered by the opportunity to apply this statement more literally.
I immediately began to imagine a daycare center where everyone wears headlamps. You know, because those would be the little lights of mines. I imagined a coal mine with onsite daycare as a covered benefit to miners. I’m a writer, people. You know where this is going, right? I involuntarily jumped ahead to a storyline from the perspective of a child who goes to daycare at a coal mine, gets dropped off each morning by a clean mining parent and picked up in the afternoon by a parent covered with coal dust. And of course, everyone wears headlamps (even at nap time) and practices evacuation drills in case the mine collapses. It wouldn’t have to be a coal mine. It could be a silver mine, or a sulfur mine, or any kind of mine.
As I outlined a viable story I realized this might be a smidge too dark for a children’s book but you get my point. Language stimulates me so much I promptly began writing a children’s book due to a job seeker’s language usage. Things like this stimulate my intellect all the time but if I publish this stuff it would come across as mocking the job seeker, or just plain mean and bitchy. So I leave it out and offer the more benign activities.
And before you start building my cross, I looked up the daycare center. The business was This Little Light of Mine, not Mines, but one can’t be too careful when she reappropriates some else’s work (lack of work?) in the interest of intellectual wellness. It gets worse. Further down in the resume the job seeker left out a critical comma when describing her job duties as “cooking the paperwork and helping the kids.” Off my mind sped to cooking paperwork. This could be a mobster movie. You know, where they cook the books to launder cash. A daycare center that launders money for the Mafia? Dude, no one’s ever thought of that! Boing, boing, boing, down the rabbit trail I go.
Here’s another example. I read a chapter of a novel in which a woman is forced to marry a man because she accepted a buggy ride from him without a chaperone. Please note that in Mercyburg a buggy is a shopping cart. This was not a ride in a shopping cart, because d’uh, a chaperone wouldn’t have fit. In this piece of historical fiction a buggy was a carriage drawn by horses, and unmarried men and women couldn’t be alone together without a chaperone because it was assumed they’d have sex. If an unmarried woman accepted a buggy ride from a man it meant she’d accepted an invitation of marriage and the couple was engaged. Likewise, a single man couldn’t offer a buggy ride to a maiden or widow without a chaperone unless he intended to marry her imminently.
The two characters in question rode off together alone, so the scandal of premarital sex was established whether the actual sex happened or not. It didn’t happen, but a person’s word for it (male or female) was not satisfactory. The only way to make this grievous transgression right was to immediately get married. A buggy ride sealed the fate of both driver and passenger. And get this — the poor sap driving the buggy was a visitor from out of town.
The consequences of refusing to submit to marriage included being thrown out of the church and run out of town. This was an enormous deal for the woman because she lived in said town. It was a medium-sized deal for the man because he had relatives living in the town who would be held responsible for his behavior. The couple got married the next day.
Mr. Buggy Ride packed up his new bride and took her to his home in Missouri. She lived with him a week before finding out he doesn’t go to church. Had she known he didn’t attend church she swears she wouldn’t have married him no matter what the consequences. But of course, now it’s too late. The chapter continues with lots of Bible-thumping sermons and debate between the two, because he’s half Osage Indian (Native American) and his mother’s people believe in a different god. The chapter ends with the two of them bickering over how the world was created.
Before I continued to the next chapter I considered the lessons of my childhood in regard to the King James Bible. As a child I wondered who wrote the book of Genesis and the creation story. My father told me Moses wrote Genesis, which was an educated guess. No one knows for sure who wrote the book of Genesis though Moses continues to get the credit. It makes sense that Moses could have recorded the portions of the Old Testament of which he had direct knowledge or experience but it has always been the creation story that troubles me. I don’t believe Moses could have written it. Biblical timelines estimate that more than 4500 years passed between the birth of the world and the birth of Moses. 4500 years, y’all; and that’s just the stretch of time up to the birth of the alleged author, not the birth of the Bible.
The best guessors pin the writing of the original texts to right around the time of (presumably just after) the exodus from Egypt, and Moses is reported to have been 80 years old when that happened. If Moses wrote the creation story, somehow the information survived 4580 years in order for him to do so. Neither Adam nor Eve could read or write. Although human life had just been invented, historians tell us that written language and literacy had not yet developed. Cain and Abel also would have been illiterate. No one with direct knowledge of the creation story was still alive at the time humans are supposed to have begun creating symbols to represent information. And when they did start writing, no one would bother to write down the history of life on Earth for 4580 years.
In order for Moses to chronicle every detail between “in the beginning” and the end of his life, he surely had to rely on collaborators. These would have to be collaborators with the ability to fill in over 4000 years of oral history. And somehow these collaborators came to him, because all of this writing is supposed to have coincided with Moses and the Israelites wandering for 40 years in the wilderness en route to the Promised Land. Anyone who could have helped Moses would have needed a prompt to do so without the benefit of mass communication. They also would have needed to find Moses in the wilderness, fill in 4000 years worth of history, survive a nomadic existence along with him while someone writes it all down, and all while on the move. We are told that Moses died as soon as they arrived in the Promised Land, so it’s not like he spent his retirement years writing the world’s first memoir.
I invested the better part of three days researching Biblical timelines to hash this out for myself. In the end I concluded that of all the miracles ascribed to Moses, writing the Old Testament would be biggest and most impressive of them all. I doubt Moses wrote anything other than the Ten Commandments, but oh my stars, how the question did fascinate and stimulate me. The study and reflection of a legend I’ve taken for granted since I was in pigtails boosted my intellectual wellness significantly through the research process. But imagine the effect of putting all of that into my end-of-month post under intellectual wellness. You know good and well that debunking the theories of Biblical scholars is right up there with debunking the Bible. Woe unto me.
When I posed the question to The Chef he grinned knowingly and shook his head. “Let the trolls troll, my dear. You can question this stuff all you want in private but the public expects you to shut up and believe.” This was his way of warning me that publishing my private efforts to dispute the exploits of the Great-Great Grandfather of Christianity would expose me to an entirely different set of trolls. He’s probably right.
So welcome to the death of my blog, folks. Perhaps now you’ll understand why I previously opted for playing with dolls.
In six words or fewer write a concession speech.
Write about a confession you wish you’d never made.
Describe your characters as household items.