the lady bar in the sky

Every prophet describing the rewards that await after death runs the risk of making promises they can’t keep, but they could at least stand to be clear about what they’re offering. When Mohammed offered the potential martyrs to his faith 72 virgins, which supposedly may also be translatable/interpretable as 72 raisins or grapes, he chose a fine time to get all cagey with his devotees. Even if they are real virgins, I’ve always thought applying to a liberal arts college with lots of English majors was a simpler and less destructive way to find more than 72 of them than blowing up a bus in Tel Aviv, though I’ve known more than one person who has probably thought about doing the latter after having a college application rejected. And then too I’m not sure you could find that many virgins at my undergraduate institution, but I attribute that at least in part to the decision of the founder, despite being named Philander, to erect the college as a seminary 50 miles from the nearest city in order to discourage the students from drinking or having sex, whereas in reality, with no city and hence no cultural activities to speak of within the next three counties, students now do virtually nothing else. But at least that attempt to impose chastity for religious reasons went less brutally awry. And those that do decide to kill themselves in some excessively dramatic way in order to get their virgins better hope that those virgins aren’t the other 71 guys that had the same idea.

Of course if it is just grapes, well, ordinarily I don’t feel like death is warranted to attain that which can be gotten as $3.99 blue light special at the supermarket. But how is it that any language or culture could get grapes and virgins confused in the first place? When are those two things interchangeable? I grant you they both bleed red when you poke them, but still. At least you can de-virginize the grape juice by making it alcoholic. So maybe the prophet is leaving a subtle clue that God is really just like one of the sleazy owners of what one of my friends calls “lady bars,” and all his promises, like theirs of “Ladies! Ladies! Hot! Hot!”, is really just a ruse to get people to come in and buy overpriced booze, and will eventually trickle away, like so many nights on earth, into excessive drinking and a disappointed wank-off.

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