God Gives an Interview to Explain a Few Things [Avery Corman]
"Giraffes. It was a good thought, but it really didn’t work out. Avocados—on that I made the pit too big..."
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I’m traveling this week, and my latest story is still in the shop. In the meantime, I thought I’d send you one of my favorite fictional comedy scenes of all time, written by somebody else. It’s from a 1971 novel by Avery Corman called Oh, God!
The book opens in 1970s New York. God has granted an exclusive interview to a down-on-his-luck journalist, because God is upset that people have been saying he’s “dead or worse.” God decides it’s high time to explain a few things.
In the scene below, Jerry (I think that’s his name; honestly, I left my copy of the novel at home, and the book is written as a first-person narrative) is trying to press God on why God isn’t more involved in the day-to-day running of life on earth. The results are both hilarious and, if you care for such things, theologically thought-provoking. (More on that later.) I’ll let you take it from here:
[God:] “I care. I care plenty. But what can I do?”
[Jerry:] “But you’re God!”
“Only for The Big Picture.”
“I don’t get into the details.”
“It’s better that I shouldn’t meddle. What am I going to do—get into favorites?” So I come up with the concepts, the big ideas—the details can take care of themselves.”
“Then the way things happen on earth...”
“They happen. Don’t look at me.”
“And there’s no plan, no scheme that controls our destinies?”
“A lot of it is luck. Luck and who you know.”
I was staggered. He just went zipping along.
“Looking back, of course I made a few mistakes. Giraffes. It was a good thought, but it really didn’t work out. Avocados—on that I made the pit too big. Then there are things that worked pretty good. Photosynthesis is a big favorite of mine. Spring is nice. Tomatoes are cute. Also raccoons.”
“But what about Man?” I was trying to raise the responsibility. “What about his future? The future of the planet?”
“It’s a good question.”
“I couldn’t tell you.”
“Don’t you know?”
“Well, like I say, I don’t get into that. Of course I hope you make it. I mean, I’m a real fan. But it’s like a ball game. If you’re in the stands, you can root, but that’s about all.”
“You’re God. You can protect our future, alleviate suffering, work miracles!”
“I don’t do miracles. They’re too flashy and upset the natural balance. Oh, maybe I’ll do a miracle now and then, just for fun—if it’s not too important. The last miracle I did was the 1969 Mets and before that the 1914 Boston Braves and before that I think you have to go back to the Red Sea.”1
👋 Hang on! If you read this one all the way to the end, please do me a favor: tap or click the ❤️ icon below. Sometimes its nice to let the Universe know you were here.
Avery Corman, Oh, God! (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1971), pg. 20-21.