Friday, April 20, 2012

Noah built an arkey arkey. And so did his brother Mal.

The other day youngest, who is on the cusp of entering high school, broke out with a favorite children’s Sunday school and camp song, “Rise and Shine.” There is a stanza in that song that goes “The Lord told Noah to build him an arkey arkey.” The catchy tune reminds us that the Biblical story of Noah still resonates with us, even in the 21st century. If it is raining hard, we talk about building a big boat and flooding of “Biblical proportions”, if our co-workers are a bit wild, it is like working on the ark.

With all of the attention focused on Noah, time has left his younger and more inept brother, Mal, in the dust-bin of history. Not only was he inept, but he was also a bit scatterbrained and inattentive. He was, as they said in that time, “a few goats short of a herd." Today, if he were in elementary school, he might receive the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

When God spoke to Noah because Noah was a righteous man, I think he included Mal in the conversation because he felt compassion on the poor man. Noah asked what materials to build the ark from and God replied, “Gopher wood.” So, Noah went and began to gather gopher wood.

Mal on the other hand went out thinking to himself, “I gotta go fer wood.” Then, as he walked and thought, he had more ideas. He gathered a little wood, but he also gathered a bunch of grape vines, and some olive branches, some bed linens hanging on a clothesline to dry, a ball of string, and a few plastic five gallon buckets from the local “Hut Depot”. All the while trying to master the tongue twister, “How much wood could a wood chuck, chuck, if a wood chuck could chuck wood.”

After gathering his supplies, Noah inquired of God as to the construction details. As God gave instructions, Noah pulled out large scrolls of paper, taking copious notes and making detailed drawings, using ruler, compass, triangle, and an assortment of other drafting tools. Mal snorted at the pains Noah was taking and pulled the stub of a pencil from one pocket and an old envelope from another pocket, both of which had just been collected while he was out doing “go-fer wood”.

God spoke about the ark being so many cubits high and wide and long. Noah took his notes carefully and Mal licked the tip of his pencil and labeled the top of his envelope cubits.Then scrawled a few of the numbers he heard God talking about down the length.

When instructions were finished, Noah set to building, which was a long, long process. Mal, on the other hand, went directly to the neighborhood pool hall, where he played multiple games, forgetting why he had even started to play pool at all. After a few hours, as he was reaching into his pocket, he felt the envelope with his notes. He quickly bought a pool stick and ran out of the door. Immediately, he smashed the stick to smithereens against the side of the building. He picked up one piece he thought was perfect and muttered to himself, “There is a perfect ‘cue bit’.”

Over the course of the next few months, Noah and his sons labored diligently on the ark. Whereas Mal tinkered a bit with his boat, watched old pirate movies on Betamax, and fashioned a pirate’s costume for himself. He had grand visions of himself marauding the high seas in his pirate schooner.

At the appointed time, when all the animals were in Noah’s Arkey, the rains began. Noah’s boat floated safely away and Mal’s arkey did not. It sank like a rock. In fact the Latvian’s, who invented the mother of all languages, Latin, used Mal as their word for bad, because his boat was so bad. You, gentle reader, on the other hand, may simply say my tale is full of malarkey. 

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