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on original sin
by kathryn ann streets
8.21.05
writing

Each evening on the long drive home from work, I enjoy taking advantage of my precious alone time. I experience the joy of allowing my mind to wander to any topic it chooses. After the ritual grocery list compilation, I take a few mental stabs at resculpting my body. Just thinking of all the effort I would have to put into that venture is mentally exhausting. I quickly abandon that idea and move on to the next food for thought: The Effect of Original Sin on Present Day Mankind. Pretty heady stuff, huh? Remember that it’s a mind …a think tank enclosed within a viscid mass of gray and white matter. That “thing” which compels us to dredge up fantastic and trivial data whenever it’s left to wander unattended.

I’d just punched off the radio after my smooth jazz station started bleeding into a hellfire and damnation gospel program. I tried hard to imagine tropical islands, exotic drinks and priapic cabana boys, but it was too late, the seed had been planted. The mind took aim and zeroed in on religion. Having attended parochial schools all my educational life, I consider myself to be a dutifully guilt ridden, predictably warped Catholic. The aforementioned being most effective fodder for contemplating implausible questions requiring answers that are taken on faith.

The last words I hear before I silence the radio preacher are original sin. Good old original sin, the cause of all human suffering and death. The snake told Eve that she would be smarter than God if she ate the apple that grew upon the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve bit the story, then bit the apple and gave it to Adam. Not wanting to piss Eve off, he bit also-only to discover that he was naked. The snake cracked up and God was mad. Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden of Eden with the promise that life was going to be a bitch from then on. Original sin had remanded mankind to a lifetime of travail and mortality just that quick. I know this to be true because the next thing you know, Eve is living in a cave, wears fig leaves for clothes, has a cranky husband and two kids that fight constantly. The older son ends up killing the younger son, so God gives him a bad tattoo and makes him homeless for the rest of his life. People laugh at the bad tattoo, but because the technology of tattoo removal is still in the zygote stage, there isn’t much to be done about it. Yes, they were all miserable-just like God said.

Then I think: What about all those animals that were in the Garden of Eden? Was God pissed off at them too? They did after all, hang out with Adam and Eve quite a bit without even biting them. Maybe God invented the saying; “show me who your friends are and I’ll show you who you are” right there on the spot and kicked them ALL out. This being the case, I imagine that the animals would be really pissed at Adam and Eve. Now they too, would have to suffer and die. Instead of having food magically appear, they would now have to sniff the air and snuffle the dirt in their hunt for food. After seeing that angel with the fiery sword guarding the entrance to the Garden, they must have wanted to bite, kick or scratch Adam and Eve to death.

I begin to ponder the injustice of it all. They had no part in this commission of original sin! THEY WERE DUMB ANIMALS! …INNOCENT BYSTANDERS! This meant that all the critters were now going to have to hide from their former friend. The post eviction Adam had become a desperate man. With Eve popping people every nine months, there was a never-ending lineup of non-vegan mouths to feed. Because of Adam and Eve’s supreme lack of judgment, the former garden fauna had become items on the ala Carte menu at the Hard Times Café. The outlook for future generations was even worse. They were all doomed to become table food, dog food, wall ornaments, purses, hats and road kill.

It now made perfect sense why the Bible made no mention of the former inhabitants of the Eden Zoo. God, after all, is purported to be a just God. This blatant, across the board damnation of all innocent lower life forms was more than humanity could get their heads around! This shining example of moral turpitude was intentionally deleted from the Good Book for centuries! Until this very moment, on this greasy expanse of highway. The iniquity had been revealed to me and there would be Hell to pay in the names of all those innocent creatures. I make a mental note to write or call all real and virtual Bible publishing houses and demand a rewrite of the Book of Genesis. Men and women of faith throughout the world had a right to know the truth.

I turn on my blinker and navigate the final turn of the drive home. To my left, along an expanse of cornfield, I slow to watch as an unidentifiable puddle of road kill is devoured by turkey vultures. God has some explaining to do.


ABOUT KATHRYN ANN STREETS

Just another dimestore Faust...

more about kathryn ann streets

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COMMENTS

dan gonzalez
8.24.05 @ 12:55a

Compelling piece on a compelling religious allegory. I'm not very religious myself, but I like a lot of them and they seem to be instructive.

This one, I think is huge. What was that sin? Eating of the tree of knowledge? But what exactly is (or was) that knowledge? The religious and philosopical juries are still out. We have the biblical consequences - loss of paradise, loss of unhindered spiritual communication with the Almighty. We have the response, the covering with fig-leaves, the condemnation to rely upon earthly mechanics (i.e. speech) to communicate, and the resulting misunderstandings and bickerings.

What in the hell was in that fruit? No one knows. They went from innocence to guilt after a very small bite. They became aware of themselves, in this case the awareness of their nudity. So the knowledge in the fruit seems to approximate 'self-awareness', no? And it is a short leap from 'self-awareness' to CONSCIOUSNESS itself, isn't it? Is that the crime? Could the nudity have been a metaphor for naked existence, the fig-leafs for the falsehoods we dress ourselves in to avoid the truth?

And after that fall, a loss of direct spiritual communication with God, generations arguing over arbitrary things in words whose meanings steadily faded until we built the Tower of Babel, where no one was understood and we were doomed to live as exiles, miscreants, with only prayers and our faith to rise above the awful cacaphony of strife.

Goddamn, that is depressing. I think I'll go play my drums naked now. Always cheers me up for some reason...

kathryn streets
8.24.05 @ 9:13a

Dan:

Your discussion is far more thought provoking than my wretched piece.

You've initiated way too many things to ponder here....

Now, I'll have to go and hang laundry naked. It doesn't really cheer me up any but it does even out my tan.

*smiling*

adam kraemer
8.29.05 @ 2:57p

To paraphrase Eddie Izzard, "Forgive me father, I have commited an original sin. I, er, poked a badger with a spoon."



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