Some of you may know that a bit more than two months ago, I read that a kabbalah scholar had predicted divine retribution would fall upon Madonna for inserting a reference to Yitzhak Luria (the deceased kabbalah scholar) into a song, and then selling the song. The scholar asserted his belief that in using the name of Yitzhak Luria for profit, Madonna had offended the almighty — and that the almighty’s all-mighty was coming down soon, all-righty.
I decided to empirically test this scholar’s theory by opening up an online shop in which shirts, magnets, buttons and the like bearing the name of Yitzhak Luria are offered. If the almighty was going to get his tighty whities in a mighty mighty bunch about my offense, I’d get divine retribution as a result.
It’s been over two months now, and I’ve gotten no divine retribution. However, I did get a phone call yesterday from none other than Yitzhak Luria himself. The following is a transcript.
Yitzhak Luria: Yes, is this Jim from Irregular Times?
Me: No, I’m Jim from Irregular Times, not you. Who are you?
YL: Why, I’m Yitzhak Luria, and I’m glad I’ve called at the right time. You have no idea how often your line is busy. I’ve been trying to get in touch with you.
Me: Well, this is a surprise. What gives?
YL: Usually, a hand. Sometimes, a nephew if you give him a cookie. But I’m calling to let you know I’d really like it if you called this whole “testing Yitzhak Luria” thing off.
YL: Well, it has to do with…
Me: Wait a minute, you’re dead. How are you giving me a phone call?
YL: I’m not. It’s a literary device. Stop breaking the believability here, will you?
Me: Sorry. Go ahead.
YL: The thing is, I’ve gotten tired of divine retribution being sent in my name. It takes a lot of attention. In the decades after I died, men and women all over Eastern Europe would take my name in vain when they burned their hand baking or accidentally hit their knee with a hammer. I’d have to get the almighty’s attention day and night — “Sir, could you send a plague of locusts here, a year of drought there?” After a while, Al got really tired of…
YL: Yeah, it’s tacky, but he likes to be called Al. As in “Al Mighty.” Get it? You’d think an omniscient, all-powerful being could figure out a better way to get a laugh. But I digress. The thing is, Al found me annoying after a while and stopped taking my calls for retribution directly. He forwarded me on to his administrative assistant, Shirley.
YL: Yeah, Shirley. As in “Shirley you’ve got salvation form XM-346 filled out in triplicate, right?” More stupid God humor. Shirley isn’t amused either. Real temper on her, and she won’t lift a finger. The only thing she’d toss off for those who took my name in vain was a minor rash here, a bit of hemmorhoids there, and maybe a lingering headache if I brought her candy. A real waste of time, if you ask me. Take you, for instance.
YL: Yeah, you. Did you notice the strange little bumps on your forearm?
Me: No. Wait. Oh, you mean these?
YL: Yep. That’s me talking. See the Y above your wrist?
Me: Looks more like a tent to me.
YL: Turn it sideways.
Me: Oh, got it.
YL: You see my point? Nobody ever makes the connection, so how’s it going to change their behavior or anything? In the meantime, I have to deal with Shirley. So it’s just not worth my while any more. I have to keep it up for consistency’s sake, but idiots like you don’t make my work any easier by going around spreading word and stuff. So just knock it off, ok?
Me: Sure. Sorry to cause you so much trouble.
YL: You should be, youngster. Listen, you want to make it up to me?
YL: Let all those budding religious icons know they’ve got to stop making prophecies, especially specific ones. It’s loads of fun when you’re alive, but once you get up here and have to follow through, it’s just drudgery. Tell ‘em if they have to make a prediction about the future, it should be vague and weasly. Kind of like “there will be many trials and tribulations in the future, but also much joy.” Keep it simple, stupid!
Me: I’ll pass it on.
YL: Good. Hey, while I’m on the line, I’m curious. What is it with that George W. Bush and his… oh, crud, it says I’m running out of minutes here. Wait. Can you hear me? Can you — wait. Can you hear —