In This Time, Give It To Me Easy

Siobhan got a new phone recently that hates me.

Siobhan: Click click click barbecue at Hugh and fzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzth all fish pop pop pop with mango salsa.
Tata: Sounds …great…
Siobhan: Ecky ecky ecky ptang ptang ptang.
Tata: Does anyone else tell you they can’t hear a word on your goddam phone?
Siobhan: No. Just you.
Tata: What if you can’t hear them?

After dinner tonight, I went out walking in a pair of threadbare brown boxers, black sneakers and socks, a giant The Tick t-shirt and a scarf around my head. I am Italian. It’s humid. I fight frizz in vain. In any case, I looked so great I hoped it would suddenly get dark, or half the town would lose its eyesight for an hour. I don’t ask for much.

It’s hot but it’s also – shall we say? – moist. People on the street moved slowly in the late afternoon sunlight. The birds hopped along the sidewalks, too lazy to fly off. Self-conscious about my What Not To Wear Before Look, I considered avoiding the park. Picnickers were everywhere, and from the street above I could see parking spaces were sparse. Off in the distance, beyond a construction barrier, the crowd tapered off. I walked that way and stepped around the CONSTRUCTION – DO NOT PASS sign. Little gray birds fidgeted in puddles. A woman walked toward me and around the barrier. I stepped on a construction plate, leaned in and ran a ways. I passed the giant earthmovers, thinking I’d come this far before, then I picked other objects at modest distances and ran to them, then a little further, then to another construction barrier much farther than I thought I could run. Then I walked around town for another hour. Larry, the little black cat bent on stealing your soul, chose this moment to adore me. You know, where sweat drips off the body and cat fur clumps.

An hour and a half later, my face was still red. And speaking of red-faced, I surrender to circumstance. Weeks ago, Dad’s wife Darla recommended I read the books of Christopher Moore so I did what every modern woman would: I Googled him and found reviews of Lamb : The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal (Paperback)

From Publishers Weekly
A childhood pal of the savior is brought back from the dead to fill in the missing 30-year “gap” in the Gospels in Moore’s latest, an over-the-top festival of sophomoric humor that stretches a very thin though entertaining conceit far past the breaking point. The action starts in modern America, specifically in a room at the Hyatt in St. Louis, where the angel who shepherds “Levi who is called Biff” has to put Christ’s outrageous sidekick under de facto house arrest to get him to complete his task. Moore (Bloodsucking Fiends) gets style points for his wild imagination as Biff recalls his journey with Jesus dubbed Joshua here according to the Greek translation into and out of the clutches of Balthasar, then into a Buddhist monastery in China and finally off to India, where they dabble in the spiritual and erotic aspects of Hinduism. The author gets more serious in his climax, offering a relatively straightforward, heartfelt account of the Passion and Christ’s final days that includes an intriguing spin on how the Resurrection might have happened. The Buddhist and Hindu subplots seem designed to point out the absurdity and excesses of religious customs, but none of the characters are especially memorable, and eventually both plot and characters give way to Biff’s nightclub patter. As imaginative as some of this material is, the sacrilegious aspects are far less offensive than Moore’s inability to rein in his relentless desire to titillate, and his penchant for ribald, frat-boy humor becomes more annoying as the book progresses. Moore has tapped into organized religion for laughs before, but this isn’t one of his better efforts.

…So I looked at the pile of stuff I’m reading and said, “I’m swamped.” Meanwhile, I was happily absorbed in a book called The Stupidest Angel that made me laugh so well and so often I was calling Siobhan, who handed it to me, shouting, “You will read this book and like it, young lady!” to stutter lines. I’d recommend any book with the line –

“You can’t say nuh-uh to death. That’s sloppy debating.”

– and I turned the last page to find Christopher Moore wrote it. Color me embarrassed!

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