Tuesday, September 27, 2005

An Ideal Husband

The other night as I descended to my basement bedroom, I noticed a gangly splotch on the bathroom floor. Revealed in the half-light being shed from the stairwell, it proved to be a massive grey spider, so large it was literally floppy. I cannot remember if it was hairy, but my memory endows it with a striped appearance. I would say it was about the circumference of a soda can. The body itself was an oversized mass of random body parts, too big, I really believe, for the legs to properly convey it anywhere. So it was just resting there on the cool tiles, its legs splayed out around this otherworldly body, fatigued from its laborious journey across the floor.

My first attempt to squash it failed, for it darted behind the bathroom door. My next weapon was a can of hairspray, which only drove it out onto the carpet, stumbling triple-jointedly toward the back of the basement. I followed, spraying an aerosol trail straight across the carpet. There, the spider's legs finally gave out, and it paused long enough for me to leap straight up in the air and land on it, squashing its many parts into the carpet. A laugh of victory, sardonic yet hysterical, emerged from my throat at exactly that moment.

This is not the first run-in I have had with a larger-than-life spider. And it occurs to me that some sort of cosmic solution is needed.

If I ran the universe, I would give every unmarried woman a spider-killing husband to keep in a closet. I don't know what would be in the closet--probably just a vacuum cleaner and the coats you don't need in summertime, but maybe it would be like the wardrobe that lets you into Narnia. That would be the husband's concern, anyway. The husband would just live in the closet until one day he heard his unmarried wife say, "Dear, there's a spider in the bathroom!"--or maybe she'd just emit a strangled cry of rage--and he'd come out of his closet and kill the spider and clean up its remains. The more expensive husbands would say, "You are so cute in your pajamas," before going back into the closet. The cheap husbands would say, "That's all I'm good for--just killing spiders." The mid-range husbands would be the strong, silent types and would put their time inside the closet to good use by panelling it with cedar and handcarving lovely scrolled designs all over it. Then, when the wife sold the house later, she could get more money for it and upgrade to a more expensive husband.

Monday, September 26, 2005

We Are Now Going Public

Whenever I doubt God's love or existence (the former happens much more frequently than the latter), I don't think about the crucifixion, as numerous sermons and books have advised me to do. I think about the stars.

For one thing, the stars are always less than twelve hours away and visible from any location. You just can't miss them, whereas I could have missed the crucifixion if I had been born in a time or place that didn't have the Gospel. For another thing, the stars are too tangible for their existence to be doubted, whereas I can doubt the crucifixion when I'm feeling particularly intractable.

The stars tell me a lot about how God does things. He likes beauty, because the stars are dazzlingly lovely. And He's extravagantly good. I just can't imagine how much time and thought it took to make trillions of stars, all over the universe, with different gravitational fields and sizes and ages, so that there could be this one little planet on which He would put this one little person called Me.

This Is Only a Test

A man said to the universe:
"Sir I exist!"
"However," replied the universe,
"The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation."

Stephen Crane