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Interlude to The Commandments

Stanko & Tibor - Winterlude Interluds

To my fondest adherents (mostly they are incarcerated),

So much is made of laws and customs and social morays, how without them it would be anarchy, chaos, or like shopping at Walmart on a Saturday morning when the grannies and families are out for bargains at the cost of someone else’s blood. I am not sure we really heed these laws and customs, or even “best practices” (there’s a load of crapola if I ever heard one). Bear with me while I bare down on the imagined argument I am about to lay out (figuratively, of course, because if I were to lay it out literally, it would involve using a lot of paper or white sheets and a movie projector and I don’t have a permit for that).

A common refrain I think I hear in my family as we either age or have sinus infections is “that’s how wars are started.” This refers quite simply to one party having misheard the other and a minor argument has ensued or shouting. Or the shouting is needed to repair the miscommunication because we’re all deaf or listening to something way too loud on our respective i-devices that Mr. Jobs gave us before he the cold finger of vegetarian death claimed him.

My point being miscommunication and mishearings are often at the heart of what’s wrong with the world (that’s not counting religious or political zealots, both of whom seem to like raising taxes). Oh sure, there have been some horrible occurrences in the past when the message was loud and clear (yes, I’m referring to Hitler, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Apartheid, Joe Stalin, Chairman Mao, or the owners of many sports teams).

Yet so much death and violence and ugliness could have been spared had we all just listened to each other, or turned on our hearing aids.

10 best practicesLet’s suppose for a minute that the story of Moses getting the word of God on Mt. Sinai actually happened. There are people out there on the globe who scoff at this story, others who believe it wholeheartedly, and many, many somewhere in Mongolia fondling an ox, or on a beach resort in Bali too blasted from the hedonistic hellishness from the night before to really give a rat’s ass about this. But let’s take this as a basis for Western culture’s biggest misunderstanding: The 10 commandments

I contend without any formal training or guidance, and possibly with one glass 10-year old of port too many and 23 nights too few of proper sleep that if we posit that Moses did receive the commandments lo those many weeks ago, he must have misunderstood something. If Hollywood is to be believed, when Moses was up there on the Mount, there was thunder, lightning, a burning shrub (most likely from the lightning, or maybe God tossed a lit cigarette uncaringly out of a cloud – smoking was much more acceptable back then).

It would follow logically that Moses, who by that time must have been dehydrated from climbing Mount Sinai without a Sherpa guide or oxygen tanks and a North Face jacket, was a little dizzy and maybe took down the commandments by shorthand and couldn’t read them afterward. Or more likely, in state of not having had a coffee on the Mount, misheard what God said due to early morning grumpiness. Or he went deaf from all the thunder and shouting and had to read God’s lips.

My theory is that “Thou shalt not steal” was really “Thou shalt not eat veal” given that, unless it’s cooked properly, preferably with garlic and lemon, it’s not one of my favorite meats. Especially if it’s overdone. Furthermore, I have a funny feeling when God said “Thou shalt not kill” I think God really said “Thou shalt not spill.” Let’s look at the facts.

Humans kill all day, every day, for good reasons, for no reasons, for money, sex, fame, women, sports cars, for accidental rollator theft at the old peoples’ home, not to mention because of boredom in South American, Russian and Asian dictatorships. If that commandment in particular were meant to be heeded, we’re doing a pretty crappy job of it. Frankly, if we killed more, and more selectively (I’m talking to you Mr. Neighbor’s Cat Who Craps On My Lawn Just Before I Go To Mow It, and Subsequently Step In Its Droppings) world over-population wouldn’t be such a hot topic at the dinner table, right after “Can we order Chinese instead of having leftovers?”

If my theory is right, and “Thou shalt not kill” was a typo or miscommunication, and should have really been “Thou shalt not spill”, it would explain why my father would throw us death looks at the dinner table when we were kids and we knocked some liquid over. I think dad wanted to kill us then. Furthermore, have you noticed how bent out of shape people get when they spill milk? They cry over it! Even though we have developed a coping mechanism in the English language to deal with that fact. We tell people not to cry over it. Easy.

To underscore my point further, what happens when there’s a chemical spill somewhere? Everyone goes nuts, the media are all over it, some environmental lawyer with poor grooming habits is on every talk show and the victims of the spill are helped and cared for. Yet, when a politician runs over someone after an all-nighter with a hooker, no one bats an eyelash. But spill hot coffee on a dictator’s lap when he’s planning an assassination and there will be hell to pay.

It’s quite clear to me now that the 10 commandments should really be renamed to the “10 best practices”, because if they were true commandments, and there were real consequences with eating poorly prepared veal, there would be some kind of bad-ass payback in the form of locusts or reality shows being banned from television. Furthermore, if you believe in a god, he or she or it is a pretty hands-off manager, and not in the good way. You get your marching orders from some lower-level manager, then god is off who knows where playing golf or at a bar in the Caribbean with the top salesmen, and when it’s time to give feedback on your performance, you’re usually dead. So what good is a bonus then?

I won’t even get into “Remember the Sabbath Day” – I am sure it was “Remember to take a bath every day.” Those ancient Israelites must have stunk after being in the desert and sweating and fornicating. The least they could have done was wash their privates and armpits. But no, Moses had to go and take a perfectly good commandment on hygiene and he made up the word “Sabbath” just to confuse the vitamin and water-depleted freed slaves so he’d have a day off to watch football. There went millennia of good hygiene and the birth of smelly Frenchmen.

What does any of this have to do with the latest installment of Stanko & Tibor, the illustrated dialectical Karl Marx once used as a beer coaster when he was hitting on the busty waitress at Das Bierhaus? Not much except that try as we might, communications will be missed thus leading to wars, and killing will go on unabated, and sadly it won’t be that cat that is forever in my backyard dropping fecal reminders.

Master Plumber and Part-time Electrician
Zsolt “The Volt” Tesla-Druker



They Are Back!

STanko & Tibor: They Are Back

Dateline: Frigid late January 2009, suffering mental and emotional trauma from having bought a house

I have often been asked the question by my peers, enemies, colleagues, friends and various law enforcement agents across the globe, “are you a complete idiot??!!” The implication in that interrogatory statement is that I wasn’t really thinking using the twin and rarely linked logical pillars of action and consequence, further implying I was trying to score with a chick or I was under the influence at the time of said action or inappropriate statement. Or if I was indeed thinking in the classic scientific sense, meaning synapses were firing and chemicals in the cranium were mixing and reacting, it was at a level more in keeping with single-cell organisms on the bottom of my shoe or in my hot dog.

Thus it is with some embarrassment that I admit to having bought a home, and freely inducing long-term suffering upon myself and others who live with me, including those fleas we had. Why would any sentient being do this to him or herself by purchasing a house? I still don’t know, but I bet it had something to do with a glossy sales brochure that lulled me into thinking gardening and DIY would be fun like it is on TV, and a fair bit of parental convincing using that uncommon thing people call “common sense”, not to mention a scandalously low mortgage rate. And what the hell else was I going to do with my money? Invest it?

These “life decisions”, as they are known in the world of human resources require various things to be aligned for them to come to fruition. (Funny, there aren’t a lot of “death decisions” — except for deciding on the color of my coffin liner, purple, and what to serve at after the funeral, most likely danish and coffee, not to mention the death decisions of what to eat at extra greasy fast food joints that haven’t been cleaned in 2 decades, and when I sample the local cholesterol-soaked croissants at the bakery.)

Often, but not exclusively, it requires a partner as stupid and starry-eyed as you, who has also convinced him or herself that this will “all be good — somehow”, knowing full well either a divorce lawyer and/or pharmacological support should be ordered in advance. Critical to this concoction is a financial institution, containing employees devoid of a conscience, soul or anything that could trigger feelings of guilt or honesty, that looks at you like a giant 12,000 gallon vessel of gullible liquid blood that it can leech onto for the next 3 decades, and smiles gleefully as you sign over your soul, wallet and life in exchange for “equity.” One can’t forget the prescription strength rose-colored glasses for you to overlook the fact that the pile of bricks and mortar you bought is really just loosely assembled, poorly maintained cheese cloth with a smattering of cement, bricks, wood and electrical wires ready to burn down that selfsame house.

Now, is there such a thing as free will? I like to think so, despite neuroscience proving otherwise, and it was this free will that let me think I was purchasing a roof over my head (an investment it isn’t, unless the insurance company would insure it for triple its value and then ignore the accelerant from the ensuing “accident” and I give the adjuster a massive, swimming pool-sized kickback) for the betterment of me and my family. Not to mention a place to put all my crap I have been accumulating over the years.

So, I can say I went into this with open, if short-sighted, eyes and knowing full well I was going to take it in the neck worse than a lamb sacrifice at the altar of the Old Temple in Jerusalem just before or after a battle with other hairy and testosterone-laden Mediterranean tribes. And I did and will continue to suffer for my sins until we sell the place.

Now I must focus on making more money to pay for this bag of bricks called a house. Thankfully it’s filled with love that makes it a home, if you discount my light and gravity sucking black hole negativity I emit.