Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Ten Commandments Scorecard
So I was sitting around today and wondered, am I going to hell? This thought may or may not have occurred after I'd just watched an episode of Jersey Shore, but still, it's a pressing theological question that obviously needs answering if I'm going to get on the with the rest of my life. After all, if I'm already a lost cause, I might as well just start sinning it up like the DJ at a Reno strip club. (Fun fact: 'DJ at a Reno strip club' was voted seediest job in America by Newsweek Magazine. This poll, admittedly, was bullshit, since I can't believe that 'janitor at a porn theatre' could've possibly lost. Damned faulty Newsweek voting methodology.)
I decided to judge my piety based on that wonderful ancient scorecard known as the Ten Commandments. I'm very familiar with the rules, having watched 'The Ten Commandments' over four straight weeks of Sunday school back in my childhood. It occurs to me now that my Sunday school teacher might've just been really lazy, which may be a sin, but it technically doesn't break a commandment. Maybe the teacher was trying to teach us about grey areas.
Anyway, let's see how my soul is doing, from the least-followed to most-followed commandments….
10. Thou Shalt Not Take The Name Of The Lord Thy God In Vain
Well, this one is off the books completely. I bust out some blasphemous curse like 'God!', 'Goddamn!', 'Jesus Christ!', 'Hay-Zeus Christo!',' 'Sweet Tap-Dancing Christ!' or something of that ilk at least once per hour, every single waking hour of the day. And, honestly, probably even during sleep, if I should happen to wake up in the middle of the night, realize it's 5 AM or something and mutter 'goddammit' before passing back out.
My relatively religious friend Joanne, interestingly, sticks to this one pretty closely. She'll always substitute 'gosh-darns' whenever necessary and even corrects me when I say 'goddamn,' though the catch is that she'll drop one of the major curses at the drop of a hat. Like, she'll describe someone as a "gosh-darn motherfucking piece of shit." I personally feel like she's exploiting a loophole here, but then again, I'm no theologian.
9. "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's"
I copied this one directly from that invaluable religious text known as Wikipedia so I could get the exact wording, because it's hilarious. First of all, was God trying to pad out a word count in the Bible? Why not just write, "thou shalt not covet any thing that is thy neighbour's"? You don't need to cite six specific examples of things not to covet if you're just going to wrap it up with "oh, yeah, just to stay safe, don't covet anything at all." That last part really screws me for this commandment. I mean, I can safely say that I've never walked down my street and thought "I sure do wish I had an ox that could plow a field as half as well as Bill's ox," but when you expand the commandment to literally everything Bill has, well, I'm bound to slip up at one point or another. Bill has a 46-inch flatscreen? Yep, that counts as coveting, so I'm going to hell.
It's also great that in the list of specific things, the neighbour's wife is SECOND. Second! On the same list of commandments that has its own anti-adultery rule! Was "thou shalt not be a squatter" the eleventh commandment but cut during the final edit?
8. Remember The Sabbath Day And Keep It Holy
There's more to this one that specifies that not only do YOU have to not do anything on Sundays, but also you're responsible for making sure that everyone in your family, plus your servants, plus your cattle (again with the damn oxen) and "thy stranger that is within thy gates" doesn't do anything either. This one has way too many trapdoors. What if I have some soulless enemy who sneaks into my house on a Sunday and starts, I dunno, mopping my kitchen floor? Would I get condemned just because this guy is a jerk? I'd come downstairs, react with shock, and then he'd just be laughing and saying, "When you get to hell, tell 'em Itchy sent you!"
Whatever, it's a moot point since I've worked plenty of Sunday shifts at various jobs over the years. Hellbound! And I reckon I may have written about this before, but isn't "I'll see you in hell" just a really funny insult? It's just so extreme ("We are BOTH going to rot in agony for all eternity, but you'll be there thanks to ME!") that it's hilarious.
7. Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbour
Depending on who you talk to, this commandment either means "do not give false testimony under oath," like in a court of law, or "do not lie about other people" in general. If it's the first, then I'm totally in the clear, since I've never testified in a trial. I've only ever been called for jury duty once but didn't get picked since I was a student at the time. (It was a murder case, too. That might've been awesome!)
If the second interpretation fits, however, then oh man, my goose is cooked. I am secretly one of the biggest gossips you'll ever meet, though with the caveat that I don't mention specific names. Like, I'll tell a story about a friend doing some funny and/or bizarre thing but won't actually say who it is. And when I do this, I don't describe them in a way that makes it obvious who the person is, like Larry David's therapist. So really, I go out of my way to protect my friends' confidence….uh, while also relating some personal detail about their lives. Hmm. There isn't a way of sugarcoating this, is there? Let's hope God meant the first interpretation.
6. Thou Shalt Not Make Unto Thee Any Graven Image...
5. Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me
I'm grouping these two together since I feel like both are affected by the fact that I'm not actually religious. I'm, at best, an agnostic, so since I technically don't believe in any specific god, I might be technically following these. Like, I'm not putting any gods before the Christian God since I've got pretty much all the deities on the same level, right next to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Also, I'm not worshipping any false idols since, if I believe the concept of a conscious supreme being is inherently faulty, no idol can be 'false.' Man, I should've gone to law school! (Though, that would've probably led to me breaking everything on this list.) You'd think being agnostic would be an auto-fail for the Commandments themselves, but what the heck, I'll just give myself an NA for these two.
4. Thou Shalt Not Steal
Okay, now we get into the positive ones. Did I once own a Napster account? Yes. Did I perhaps snatch an extra cookie off the tray during a potluck? Sure. But these are petty, petty thefts, and since I'm certainly not stealing anything major, I'd give myself a positive on this one. Sure, the commandment isn't "Thou Shalt Not Steal Anything Major," but c'mon, unless God is actually Lars Ullrich, he's not going to get on my case for downloading an MP3 file of "Drop Dead Gorgeous" by Republica in 2001, will he?
3. Thou Shalt Not Kill
Don't freak out that this isn't #1, I'm not Dexter or anything. But I have indeed killed in my life….ants, flies, moths, all sorts of lower creatures. See, this is why I'm fine on that 'thou shalt not steal' commandment, since even though this one technically says you can't kill anything at all, there's surely some allowance if you have a mosquito on your arm. Heck, throughout the rest of the Bible, there's no shortage of cattle or horses or whatnot being slaughtered. A surprising amount of the Good Book is really about farm maintenance. Are we sure Moses descended from Mount Sinai on foot, or did he ride down on a John Deere tractor?
2. Honour Thy Father And Thy Mother
My parents are awesome! I'll happily honour them at any point. I guess I've been a disobedient son at few times in my life, but certainly nothing major. The closest I came to a rebellious phase was when I started staying up late on Saturdays to watch sketch comedy shows on the Drambuie Showcase Revue. Wow, was I ever a nerdy kid. Anyway, I've argued with my folks way fewer times than I've slaughtered insects, so this one gets the runner-up position.
1. Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery
And here we go. Never been married myself so I'm not cheating on anyone, and I've never slept with a married woman, so I'm not the Sloan-esque other man. So if you've keeping track, this is ONE out of ten commandments where I'm 100 percent in the clear, three others where I'm in the 98-99th percentile in the clear, three others that are very questionable, and three that I break on a regular basis.
Overall, it's not the best batting average, but to this I argue, are these commandments in any particular order? Like, was Moses going from top rule to least-important rule, or what? Since frankly, if the worst I'm doing is dropping a few g-d bombs, covering a game on a Sunday afternoon or thinking my neighbour has a sweet car, that doesn't sound all that bad to me. Would you rather hang out with a guy who was breaking these commandments, or with a guy who was sass-mouthing my mom, banging your wife and pushing you in the path of a moving bus? That's just flat-out anti-social.
In conclusion, I'll see you all in hell……from heaven.