The joke's on God

At a recent family gathering in North Carolina, I asked my sister in law what she had been up to. Her response, “Getting closer to God every day!” struck me as funny. So, I responded while laughing out loud “What, have you moved to the second floor?”  I might as well have just strangled a puppy based on the reaction of the room. I can’t blame her, really. God is not a laughing matter in North Carolina.


I know this because I grew up there and still have scars on my arms from my mother’s talon like grip whenever my brothers and I would fall into a laughing jag at Sunday mass. But I happen to think that God has an awesome sense of humor as evidenced by the little jokes he plays on me from day to day.

Take today for instance. On travel days I worry inordinately about having overhead room for my carry-on luggage. I was relieved when my boarding pass said zone 2, seat 5D. Surely, my duffel bag would find a home ahead of the steamer trunks most of the passengers were lugging through the airport. But then God spoke through a ticketing agent named Consuela: “Today we will be a-boarding by rrrow, not zone number! First class passengers seated in rrrows one through four may a-board first. Then we will a-board from the back of the plane!” God was slapping his knee and laughing hard at that one. As payback, I make a mental note to move some of the bibles at my local Barnes and Noble into the fiction section.

I picture God sitting sideways on his throne saying to St. Peter and St. Paul “Remember how I put Bill and Paul in Mongolia in that last life?” and trying to stifle a laugh “And they froze their…” and St. Peter interrupts in a monotone “I’ve heard it a thousand times before voice”, “Yes sir, they froze their asses off.” And God starts laughing so hard that he is crying and says “Yeah, yeah, they froze their asses off! But men, this time I’ve got to up the ante. So” and God giggles “This time I’m putting Paul in Massachusetts and Bill in North Carolina and when the war starts” and because God has lived forever, his timing is a little off, so St. Peter looks at St. Paul with one of those It’s your turn to tell him looks and St. Paul says “Sir that war ended over one hundred years ago.” God looks at both of them incredulously and says “Jesus Christ, time flies! Well, it will still be funny, because they’re both going to be men and gay and get this, it’s the 1960’s and both of their families are Catholic!” He laughs as he slaps St. Peter and St. Paul on the back. St. Peter whispers to St. Paul, “He’s got to get some new material.”

But the joke’s on God. While he was waiting for the punch line, Paul and I managed to have five wonderful children, find each other, fall in love, get married and get this, the majority of Catholics now support same sex marriage.

So God is sitting there saying “Well I’ll be a son of a monkey! They turned the joke around on me. But stop me boys if you’ve heard this one. A Mormon, a beauty pageant contestant, a New York billionaire with a bad comb-over and an African American enter a presidential election….

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