I was in the checkout aisle of the supermarket today when I saw a magazine for sale, next to the M&Ms, titled The Bible: 50 New Ways It Can Change Your Life. Apparently, this magazine is sold often enough to merit a coveted spot right next to the cash register, where impulse purchases are made.
I had an epiphany at that moment. If this magazine, listing 50 new ways that the Bible can change a person’s life, sold well at the store, imagine how well another magazine, listing 51 ways, could do!
I’m going to compose a rough draft here. Please send your feedback to improve the book proposal, which I can then send to literary agents.
Here goes. 51 Ways The Bible Can Change Your Life!
1. You could leave the Bible on the floor after a late night session of reading the psalms, and then, when you get up to let the cat out of the closet in the middle of the night, trip over the Bible, falling over and giving yourself a concussion, after which you feel a seething rage every time you hear the national anthem.
2. When you buy a new copy of the King James Version of the Bible, annotated and everything, you might put it on the bookshelf right where you had just put a letter you received that afternoon from Warren Buffet, offering to fund a billion dollar foundation, with you as the President, for whatever purpose you desire. The letter could get smushed into the back of the bookshelf, and you can’t find it, and so, instead of becoming President of your own foundation, you remain unemployed, become homeless, and die on the street after being beaten by a gang of angry teenagers.
3. You could go to a hypnotherapist who trains you to have an automatic association between the Bible and Nachos, and afterwards, every time you hear someone talking about the Bible, you start to drool.
4. You could meet the girl of your dreams, right after eating a patty melt with lots of onion, and when you start to talk to her about the Bible, the “B” at the beginning of Bible carries a whiff of bad breath to her that drives her away from you forever.
5. The mass of the Bible in your library could add to the total mass of your home just enough to cause a slight alteration in the path of a meteorite falling from the sky, leading it to miss your apartment building by a fraction of an inch, hitting the neighboring high rise instead.
6. It could be in the Bible As Literature class you take at college that you meet your university’s biggest drug dealer, who takes you under her wing, leading you into a profitable, if risky career in narcotics.
7. Inspired by the story of Abraham and Isaac, you decide to tie up your son to be sacrificed on the top of the nearest hill. When no divine voice calls out for you to stop, you kill the boy and are later arrested for murder.
8. It could be that, after reading the warning of Isaiah that, “as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon,” you develop a habit of bird watching, trying to discover exactly the manner in which wandering birds are cast out of nests, because you can’t stop thinking that wandering birds don’t have nests.
9. The Song of Solomon’s erotic description of a male lover as like an antelope cavorting in green pastures might awaken your latent homosexual tendencies.
10. After reading the Bible for a couple of years, you could begin to insert words like “thee” and “ye” into conversation, leading to a series of escalating affectations that reach their height when you decide to integrate a pince nez into your wardrobe.
11. It might be that the copy of the Bible you choose is made out of particularly crisp paper, which gives you paper cuts at the ends of your fingers, causing you to wear gloves to bed at night, which makes your hands sweaty, and prone to fungal infection.
12. You could read from Proverbs that “As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honor to a fool,” and considering this advice, make a scene in the doorway of your local school’s special education classroom, telling the students there, “You’re all a bunch of losers!” Your reputation suffers afterwards.
13. Inspired by the Creationist vision of the Book of Genesis, you might choose the career of Dinosaur Herder, noting that no one else has applied for the job.
14. Reading the Bible, you might miss out on the Harry Potter book club, the members of which form a musical group that rises to fame and fortune, while you struggle to gather enough money to buy a ticket to one of their concerts.
15. Wishing to emulate Jesus, you could try experiments in multiplying fish and loaves, but only succeed in making toast that smells like old clams.
16. You could support the implementation of a Bible-based abstinence-only sex education class in your local school district, only to observe that teen pregnancies rise as a result.
17. You might make a replica of the Temple of Jerusalem in a field in central New Jersey, only to lose the property when you can’t pay the mortgage, so that the temple is bought by a developer who turns it into a waterpark.
18. After eating a camel steak barbecue style, you could read the 14th chapter of Deuteronomy, in which you see that the eating of camels is forbidden, and decide to join a monastery as a result.
19. You might find out that your copy of the Bible is just the right height and weight to prop up your grand piano, enabling you to practice extra long hours, building the foundation of a successful career as a professional musician.
20. As suggested in the 14th chapter of the House of Leviticus, you could become a specialist in curing diseases by removing stones from the walls of buildings, and by sprinkling bird blood.
21. You could read the Biblical proverb, “The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason,” and conclude that you’ll achieve wisdom more efficiently if you follow the path of laziness.
22. Reading in the 18th chapter of the Book of Revelation that there will be no cinnamon in the End Times, you might decide not to take that summer job at Cinnabon after all.
23. Perhaps, at the adult education fair, you might ask for directions to the Bible study class, but upon stuttering, get directed to the biplane piloting seminar, which eventually causes you to become a cropduster in the central valley of California where, one late afternoon, while returning to the local airport, you become the first person to observe a fleet of invading flying saucers from Mars.
24. As the Book of Numbers instructs, you might conclude that the first day of July is a sacred occasion during which you must hire trumpeters to blast their horns at you. The noise that results could lead to a complaint from the neighbors, which causes you to become evicted.
25. Given the proverb that declares, “where there is no talebearer, the strife ceases,” you might decide to organize a protest march against the Saturday morning story hour at your local library.
26. Having heard about the sun angel who will exhort birds to eat the flesh of human beings when the End Times come, you might invest in a roll of bird netting to staple over your windows, just in case.
27. You might just have your name legally changed to Habakkuk, because, besides in the Bible, have you ever heard of anyone named Habakkuk?
28. You could “introduce your babies and toddlers to God’s Word,” using Baby Bibles, directing them to spit up and soil their diapers according to the will of Jesus.
29. You might go to work at the Holy Land Theme Park in Orlando, Florida, where a Scriptorium contains Bibles dating all the way back to the 1800s, which actually makes them less venerable than the Constitution of the United States of America.
30. You might get a Bible Accessory Kit for your birthday, which contains “everything you need for your Bible study”, including “colorful non-bleeding highlighters” and “floral index tabs”. Who could study a book with plain old non-floral index tabs, after all?
31. While attempting to understand what exactly is meant by the proverb that advises, “Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross,” your mental exertions could lead you to suffer from an epileptic seizure that leaves you with a slight limp on your right side, preventing you from participating in the Olympics.
32. It might happen that, while looking for the Bible in the bookstore, you will hear about the cookies for sale in the neighboring cafe, and begin a habit that leads eventually to type 2 diabetes.
33. After reading about the prophet Daniel, you might seek to emulate his path of spirituality, and set up shop as a fortune teller, interpreting dreams for prominent politicians.
34. You could become inspired by the Bible’s ban on the consumption of shellfish to join a Christian fundamentalist protest group outside a local Red Lobster restaurant, where you meet a young man with whom you have a love affair, breaking up your marriage of 25 years.
35. Reading of the cure for blindness invented by Jesus, you might mix your spit with clay and go rub it around in the eyes of people with impaired vision.
36. Perhaps you will, inspired by the last lines of the Book of Habakkuk, “let all the earth keep silence before him”, decide to take a vow of silence.
37. Inspired by the Psalm that reads, “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it,” you could found a biblical construction company that promises to provide housing developments for communities of the faithful in a biblically-inspired manner, by waiting around for the Lord to build the houses.
38. Taking inspiration from medieval illumination, you could start drawing illustrations in the margins of the books in your local library.
39. You might encounter the Wizzy Gizmo Kids Bible Series, which claims to be “Bringing the Bible to Life”. Immagine that: A walking, talking Bible. Maybe it could walk the dog.
40. Hearing from Proverbs that “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend,” you could try sharpening the face of your friend by pounding it on an anvil.
41. You might, seeing that the Bible advises men not to lie with men as they do with women, advise your gay friends to try different positions when they have sex, like standing up, for example.
42. It’s possible that a Bible encounter might encourage you to re-open the Bible Superstore, a big box bookstore that basically sold only one book, along with accessories for it. For some reason, in spite of the clarity of its offerings, the Bible Superstore went bankrupt. You could be the person to bring that one book back, to stock the miles of aisles.
43. You could accept the example of the Bible-loving monks of medieval times, and devote your life to brewing beer.
44. Following the advice of the Bible, you might decide to stone an adulterer.
45. You could invent a new Bible Code – this one telling you how to win the lottery every single time.
46. You might follow the example of John Joe Thomas, who beat Murray Joseph Seidman to death with a rock wrapped in a sock as punishment for Seidman’s homosexuality. Thomas said that stoning homosexuals to death was allowed, according to the rules of the Bible.
47. Seeing the divine advice for warfare from the Book of Numbers: “Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him,” you might petition to have the Geneva Conventions abolished.
48. You might, after reading the warning in Proverbs that “he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him,” you decide against joining your local curling team.
49. After reading magazines listing the different impacts the Bible could make in your life, you could become obsessed with lists, triggering an expanding obsessive compulsive disorder that results in you counting the number of leaves in your neighbor’s driveway every morning before you go to work.
50. You could see a magazine in the supermarket listing 51 Ways The Bible Can Change Your Life, and get the idea of writing an even better magazine, with 52 Ways The Bible Can Change Your Life. You’ll make lots of money.
51. Some smart guy could see your magazine for sale, and get inspired to write a new magazine listing 53 Ways The Bible Can Change Your Life. All of a sudden, because of this change in the competitive landscape, your income will dry up. With the Bible, it’s easy come, easy go.
There we go! We’ve got 51 ways that the Bible can change your life.
Can you think of any more?