Tuesday, June 12, 2007


A fine thing to be on a Tuesday evening. (Irony there, by the way; there's no particular fineness in either Tuesday or being tired.) Spent the last two days importing data for a client, drinking lots of tea and eating cookies by the barrel-load. Feeling correspondingly oversaturated in sugar and fat and a certain consequent general blahness.

To bed with a glass of Campari and water to continue and possibly finish reading The Gospel according to Jesus Christ by José Saramago, one of the Lioness' recommendations. It's a familiar story (one might say) retold from an unusual point of view, with JC as an all-too-human accidental hero*. Saramago invents a delightful minor miracle:
A voice rose from the back of the crowd, Prove to us that you're the Son of God and I shall follow you... Come here Thomas, Jesus said, accompany me to the water's edge, come and watch me make some birds with handfuls of clay... and once this is done I make eleven more... we could even, if you like, give them names, this is Simon, this one James, this one Andrew, this one John, and this one, if you don't mind, will be called Thomas... and now watch me, I throw the net over the little birds to prevent them from escaping, for escape they will unless we're careful, Are you trying to tell me that if this net were to be lifted the birds would escape, Thomas asked in disbelief, Yes, if the net were lifted the birds would certainly escape, Is this the proof you hoped would convince me, Yes and no, What do you mean, yes and no, The best proof, although it doesn't depend on me, would be for you not to lift the net and to believe that the birds would escape if you were to lift it, But birds made of clay cannot possibly escape, Try, even Adam, our first father, was made of clay and you're one of his descendants, It was God who gave Adam life, Doubt no more, Thomas, and lift the net, for I am the Son of God, Well if you say so, here goes, but I promise you these birds won't fly, and without further ado Thomas lifted the net and, once free, the birds took flight. Twittering with excitement, they circled twice above the astonished crowd before disappearing into space. Jesus said, Look, Thomas, your bird has gone, whereupon Thomas replied, No, Lord, I'm the bird, kneeling at your feet.

I've enjoyed reading this and would recommend it, despite the annoyance of Saramago's snooty refusal to use quotation marks. One comes to terms with this surprisingly quickly, and it is only seldom unclear who has said what to whom.

As if that weren't enough here's a funny cartoon. And with that: good night.

* "The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else." Umberto Eco

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Blogger zhoen said...

Now, see, I always figured Thomas as the smart one, who finally gave in to peer pressure.

June 13, 2007 at 2:49:00 a.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Udge said...

... which makes him smart but insecure?

June 13, 2007 at 9:38:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Blogger brooksba said...

That's a wonderful passage. I do enjoy it when you share such gems.

June 14, 2007 at 10:57:00 a.m. GMT+2  

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