Thursday, November 22, 2012

Listen, People


I wear on a chain around my neck, and never take off, a silver amulet I bought at a second hand shop for two dollars just after I returned to the U.S. this year. Written on a scroll inside are a few words, roughly but accurately translated as:

Listen, people, you belong to me, and I am all there is.

This is God talking. He expects you to answer him, and the correct answer is:

I thank you, God, that I am not an idiot yet.

These words to be accompanied by the action of throwing your arms around the nearest fellow man, and resting your head in the shelter of his shoulder.

You see, God is speaking your language, the language of the people you live with. If you understand, so can they. And when they do, and you join together in understanding, you can for a brief moment escape from the world of stupidity, otherwise known as everyday human life.

Sometimes the world is as clear as that. A couple days ago at the hotel here in Budapest one of a group of young Russian guests stared hard and long at me as I came in. Or rather stared at the ornament around my neck. The manager of the hotel was suspicious of this group, and assigned me the task of staying up that night to keep a watch on them. When this young staring Russian left early the next morning, seeing me resting in the arm chair with eyes closed, his whispered softly, Jew, Jew, Jew, picked up his bag and went out the door.

Listen, people, the world is a stupid place. I would like to rest my head on your shoulders, throw my arms around all of you, all of you who are not idiots yet.