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God is for Real, Man (1966)

by Carl F. Burke

Sorry for the second religious book in a row, but this book arrived last week from McSweeney's occasional contributor Juan M. and just would not be put off.

The heathen percentile of the Deuce of Clubs demographic may not recognize it, but the following is based on the 23rd Psalm ("The Lord is my shepherd," &c.):

The Lord is like my Probation Officer,
He will help me,
He tries to help me make it every day.
He makes me play it cool
And feel good inside me.
Even better is the "street" take on the Ten Commandments:

God is Mr. Big, Real Big

1. You shall have no other gods before me...
Means God's the leader -- nobody, but nobody, man, gets in the way.
This is the top. He is Mr. Big, real big.

2. You shall not make for yourself a graven image...
This means no making things that look like God in the craftshop at the settlement house. No worship things like rabbits' foots and lucky dice and, damn it, dolls.

3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain...
It means knock off the swearing, or you better watch out.

4. Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy...

  1. It means going to church on Sunday and listen to people who don't know much about what they are talking about.
  2. Keeping it holy means no snatching purses on Sunday.
  3. Means: Taking a rest on Sunday -- like my old man not feeling bad 'cause he can't find a job and loafing around at the gin mill.

5. Honor your father and your mother.

  1. It means no calling your father a wino or your mother the old lady, even if they are.
  2. It means to love your mother, even if she hollers at you, and try to understand she is tired from working all day. It means to try to love your father, even if you don't know him or where he is.
  3. Maybe the others are OK, but this one is a real gasser -- honor my father and mother -- to hell with that, man!
And so on. Another Amen, anybody?