Thursday, February 11, 2010

Two Tales with a Twist

I now bring your attention to a pair of tales with surprise endings. They don't really have surprise endings, but because you probably haven't heard them in their correct forms, their endings might surprise you. I don’t know how they became so distorted, but because the Interesting Times Herald is the blog of record, I offer you some complimentary straightening.

1) The Story of Don Juan

When describing a triumphant ladykiller, people often use the terms Casanova and Don Juan interchangeably. The ladykiller in question will even link himself equally to Don Juan and Casanova. Not counting that Don Juan never existed and Casanova was a real person, these two are about as interchangeable as Kobe Bryant and Kwame Brown. You will soon figure out which is which.

A composite of the Don Juan legend (there are many versions) goes something like this:

Playboy extraordinaire Don Juan slays the father of a girl he has seduced. He then encounters the memorial statue of the father and invites it to dinner. The haunted statue extends its arm to Mr. Juan, who upon shaking the statue’s hand is dragged into Hell.

As is often the case with folks in Hell, Don gets some face time with the Devil. The Devil tells him everyone in Hell is cast in a role, and hands Don a Jester's suit, saying, "You'll make an excellent fool."

Don is indignant, so much so he accuses Satan of being a hata! "I am the man who made a thousand conquests!" he says before interrupting a Taylor Swift awards speech.

The Devil responds by saying that if Don can identify even one of his conquests, he will be spared the Jester threads. And so each woman Mr. Juan has ever seduced is paraded before him, and in every case, our hero draws a blank.

Eventually, one floozy shows up bawling. The Devil tells Don this is the one woman who actually loved him. Her sorrowful eyes do their work on Don, and he agrees to play the Jester.

While it is true that Mr. Juan dropped a lot of thongs in his day, his legend is an indictment of his lifestyle, not a celebration of it. So when a guy brags he's "a regular Don Juan," what he's effectively saying is, "Not only am I dumb enough to provide comic relief in Hell; I'm too stupid to keep it to myself."

Please, if you are going to womanize, call yourself a Casanova.

2) The Story of Job

The trials and tribulations of Job (of Holy Bible fame) have been so thoroughly defaced that the most famous line associated with them, "The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away," isn't even in the story. But that is a small quibble compared to how the ending is routinely maimed. This one is a sore spot for me, as I hear it misquoted often by Bill Hicks cover comedians and the rest of the fake rebel smorgasbord.

As most folks know, Job had a big family, lots of livestock, and was living large. Had "The Apprentice" existed back then, Job would have been the one saying, "Thou ist fired."

Typically what you hear about Job is that God, for no apparent reason, decides to kill Job's family and livestock; then for an encore, covers the poor guy with boils. Apparently, God is just a fan of slapstick. The mistelling concludes with a ruined Job saying, "The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away." The End. This of course invites the familiar refrain: "Soooooooo, he gets punished for being good? No wonder Christians are so backward! I'd better keep buying these $50 Che Guevara baby shirts to show I’m nobody’s fool!”

[Game show buzzer]

For starters, Job is also a prominent figure in Islam and Judaism, but because these "enlightened" drones are totally in the dark on all matters, they mistakenly portray him as a strictly Christian phenomenon. I’ve learned it is fanciful to expect these “truth-tellers” to possess even a rudimentary knowledge of the topics they’re "exposing."

Job's miseries are actually performed by Satan (with permission from God) in an attempt to show the Almighty that the only reason Job praises Him is because his life is so good. Satan's contention is that once Job's life is destroyed, he will sell out. So though Job does suffer mightily, his faith remains sturdy, and he is therefore rewarded by God, not ruined. Let’s go to the videotape:

And the LORD changed the fortune of Job, when he prayed for his friends; and the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Not only does Job get everything back, he doubles his fortune. And all because he keeps the faith in the wake of hardship, which is the story’s main message and the very reason it is told in the first place.

Unfortunately, the only way the "enlightened" will learn this is if they start printing Job's story on designer wristbands. And to honor the space between their cultivated ears, those wristbands will have to be sold at the Gap.

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