Tuesday, September 3, 2013


The 'slap chop' method of putting the shot.

It came to Mono Deity’s attention that two athletes had offered high praise and incantation—“I credit my strength to Mono Deity”, said one, “Mono Deity willing, I’ll prevail”, said the other, the two standing but feet apart, speaking into microphones—the night before a meet. The sport in question amused Mono Deity to no end. “The shot,” explained the Visiting Assistant Deity, “is the heavy little ball. Man tries to ‘put’ the shot, that is, ‘chuck it’, quite far, my Lord, with a sort of shoulder heave.” A cantankerous expression overtook Mono Deity’s features. “The triumphant athlete secures a trunk of gold for this feat?” asked the Supreme Being. “He wins favor with a woman plump to his liking?” The Visiting Assistant Deity clarified that the practice had begun many years before, when the Greeks engaged in Poly Deity worship, and added that the sport, the shot put, was largely ignored by other people, and therefore, the triumphant athlete would only receive a polite round of applause. Mono Deity wasted little time in ordering complete background checks on both competitors. Heaven being Heaven, it still required a modem hookup for Internet service, so in the meantime, Mono Deity—like the enraged conductor of an orchestra—rained vast waves suddenly upon numerous island beach resorts. Many thousands of bikini tops were washed out to sea, amidst cries that bounced like needle sticks in the ears of lunatics. At last the background results came in, but they revealed little advantage for either athlete. Each had engaged in a few indiscreet fornications, requested a few dubious injections, and suffered from wobbly credit ratings owing to frivolous decisions regarding certain debt instruments, but these infractions had transpired, largely, in the past, and Mono Deity noted that both competitors had prayed, of late, at a frequency endorsed by figureheads of their faith. Mono Deity had absorbed these plaintive prayers, of course, as well as all the expressions of human piety, however meek, and shed them, too, in the perspiring ways of the very shot-putters themselves. A cantankerous expression overtook Mono Deity’s features and the Supreme Being vanquished the Visiting Assistant Deity with a howl that frightened buzzards from every gut-cart in the world. The earth revolved a new day into place. With it, came the shot-putting contest. There were inferior competitors who could not put the shot very far, but these were the traditional ‘scrubs’, explained the Visiting Assistant Deity, who had sought to appease Mono Deity by catering their vantage with frankfurters in pretzel buns. “Indeed,” added the Visiting Assistant Deity, “it is great folly for the superior athletes to watch these meek appropriations of the sport,” and the two Deities chuckled heavily at this thought. Late night infomercials came into the mind of Mono Deity, not only the Shamwow and the Slap Chop, but religious ‘scrubs’, too, the meek appropriations of liturgical stewardship. Mono Deity noted what the Visiting Assistant Deity had illuminated, and vowed to consider a promotion, to Assistant Deity, so long as there were more deli products wrapped in pretzel buns. The first of the two superior shot-putters put the shot 22.80 meters, not a record, but a fine put, and then the second shot putter put the shot 22.80 meters, the same put as the first man had put, no difference. The two competitors then traded shot-puts, but after each put, the shot sat exactly the same distance beyond the stop-board, the first man’s heave and the second man’s heave alike. Each man stood on the field, bellying, in his prehistoric unitard. Each man invoked Mono Deity, but Mono Deity could not empower one or the other man, as each had worshipped dutifully, and each had employed ample (and fluctuating) levels of torque. As the final heave of the contest rolled to a halt, the Supreme Being’s thoughts turned to adjudication, to the many instances of malfeasance over the course of centuries, the hardened hearts of some officials or the indifferent decrees of others. “But my Lord!” said the Visiting Assistant Deity, who knew the final puts to be equidistant, “behold the ruckus on the field!” In fact, the two dominant shot-putters were taking turns heaving the shot at one another, while their delegations traded fisticuffs in a haze of chalking lime. Mono Deity touched his powerful fingertip to the forehead of the Visiting Assistant Deity, and the latter came to envision the eventual downfall—drug abuse, incarceration, sex change operation—of the winner, as well as the quiet agrarian future of the loser, including a 403b retirement account tilted toward guaranteed returns. Mono Deity also revealed the possibility of promotion for the Visiting Assistant Deity, before removing his fingertip from the Under Deity’s forehead. The two Beings enjoyed a lengthy chuckle—har, har, har—at the folly of human endeavor, while the contest’s officials drove home in sensible automobiles. “Years from now,” thought the Visiting Assistant Deity, “with me installed as Assistant Deity, a contest such as this one will be, in fairness, declared a draw,” but the Visiting Assistant Deity suspected that Mono Deity knew these thoughts, even as the Supervisor Deity had retired to the divine armchair. Indeed, in order to become a more informed Supreme Being, Mono Deity had begun weighing the afternoon’s reading: either Pontiff / Counter Pontiff or The Habits of Seven Highly Effective Nuns.

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