Not The News: Listen Up, Donny!
Not The News: Listen Up, Donny!
[NOTE: On Garrison Keillor’s Substack, there’s a feature called the Back Room, on which he posts odds and ends from his decades of work. Yesterday the following popped up.]
From TIME Magazine
ESSAY — June 14, 1999
Faith at the Speed of Light
BY GARRISON KEILLOR
–William H. Gates III
[In 1999] Bill Gates was the richest man in America [he was #4 in 2022] , and after he had gained a good deal of the world, God sent him an e-mail:
I saw how you allocated your time resources last Sunday moming and was not impressed. Riding a stationary bike? Watching guys on the Men’s Channel talk about triglycerides and P.S.A. counts? Three words of advice: Love thy neighbor. Ever hear what happened to the rich man who stiff-armed the beggar Lazarus? I caused a general protection fault, and he has been off-line for centuries.
Anything you’d like to talk about? I’m here.
Bill Gates typed out a reply:
Wow. Omniscience. Cool. But how do I know you’re omnipotent too?
The moment he clicked on Send, the entire Microsoft campus in Redmond, Wash., went dark. And the darkness was very great. The a.c. shuddered to a halt. He heard his emplovees keening and wailing over lost data. His office was filled with creeping things and birds of the air. Beads of sweat dripped from his nose. Acrid smells drifted in, the website buming after a multitude of hits by Hittites, and he heard the clatter of hooves: a herd of crazed swine trotted down the hall, little pink eyes aglow, pagers clipped to their ears.
On his way out, he touched his nose and found a boil. A leper lay in the lobby begging alms, and when Bill Gates dropped in a nickel, the power went on.
Back in his office, a message was on his screen:
B. G.: That was only the screensaver. There is more where that came from. Obey my commandments or a virus could come to pass that would bring the information age to a shuddering halt. I did a flood once, and behold, I can do viruses. Once men tried to reach heaven by building a tower, and I made their formats incompatible. I could do this again. Or I can do love and redemption. I am, after all,
P.S. Your move.
The websites were restored. The leper was promoted to general manager and put in charge of the crazed swine, who, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, had to be kept in their current positions. Most of them were vice presidents, though, so it didn’t affect the value of Microsoft stock.
Bill Gates ran the word commandment through a database search and found that God had dumped a whole bunch of them on his Designated Population Group–no graven images, no stealing or coveting, keep the Seventh Day holy, and also what to eat and stuff–and then, later, to love God and love thy neighbor.
Do I need to be thinking ark at this point? Can we talk?
-and suddenly found himself in a chat room.
LUCI: I see that Bill Gates, that bug-eyed little weasel, is acting like you don’t exist. Want me to deal with him? I know people in the Justice Department.
THE LORD GOD: No. It takes longer to get smart guys up to speed. But I shall strive with him, and eventually he may get it.
LUCI: The guy is a closed circuit. Let me at him.
THE LORD GOD: Let’s see how it goeth.
BILL GATES: Hey, guys. It’s me. The aforementioned weasel.
But God had signed off.
LUCI: Hey, Pearly. How’d you like to own the phone company? I can get it for you wholesale.
BILL GATES: Who in hell is this?
The next day Microsoft developed Stained-Glass Windows, the most advanced spiritual software ever. The user could download a worship experience, including Scripture, Webpastor’s sermon and Holy Sacraments, in 10 minutes flat. You knelt at the keyboard and hit alt/f7, and out the disk drive came a tiny white wafer.
Bill Gates e-mailed God a copy of Windows and a note:
You want to reach people? Here’s how. Forget the stone tablets with the dandruffy guys in suede shoes droning on about transcendence.
BTW, I am giving a billion shekels for good works.
But he got no reply.
The next Sunday morning, Bill Gates went into Stained-Glass Windows, and the Scripture reading was a screechy passage from Jeremiah, and the sermon was very antimoney, antigrowth, antientrepreneurship, and it scrolled on for hours; and when the Confession window opened, Bill clicked twice on the Pride icon and then Continue and saw
“This program has performed an immoral function and will be shut down,”
and in that moment he went blind.
He was on his stationary bike, the keyboard on his lap. He did not cry out. He took a dozen deep, cleansing breaths and dismounted and set the keyboard on the floor. He sat down in front of his computer and switched on Audio and said, “Voice activation.”
There were two confirming beeps.
“God,” he said. “It’s Gates. Make that 5 billion.”
[Famed comedian] Wanda Sykes started her weeklong stint as host of “The Daily Show” with a look at former President Donald Trump’s awkward eulogy during a memorial for an unwavering supporter who died recently. The service was for Lynnette “Diamond” Hardaway, one of two conservative talk show stars/sisters [aka “Diamond & Silk”], who Sykes noted “were always showing up at his rallies, praising him on TV, setting the Black race back 50 years.”
“You know those two. Trump held meetings with them, he’d invite them to the Oval Office, he would point at them and say, ‘See, Black people love me!’” — WANDA SYKES
“I mean, come on — to say you know Diamond but don’t know Silk is wild, because they are always together. That’s like saying, ‘I know Bert, but I never heard of this Ernie fellow.’” — WANDA SYKES
“If you just learned about Silk, I’m going to go ahead and say you didn’t know much about Diamond. That’s like saying, ‘I’m a lifelong fan of Garfunkel, but who is this Simon I’m just hearing about? Did they do anything together?’” — STEPHEN COLBERT
“Knowing Trump, he probably only has room for one Black woman in his brain at a time. If he turns on the TV right now, he’ll be like, ‘Wow, Diamond’s hosting “The Daily Show”!’” — WANDA SYKES
“Trump appeared before a sitting room-only crowd. One hundred fifty mourners gathered to hear him speak about their beloved Diamond — and he almost did. He almost spoke about her.” — JIMMY KIMMEL
“It was more of a ‘me-logy’ than a eulogy.” — JIMMY KIMMEL
“The Justice Department also took handwritten notes from when Biden was vice president. One was a piece of paper addressed to Obama that just said, ‘Do you like me? Check yes or no.’” — JIMMY FALLON
“It’s crazy. First Trump, now Biden. Today, just to be safe, Obama burned his house down.” — JIMMY FALLON
“I mean, come on, the man has been in public office for 238 years. I bet you most of the [expletive] he has isn’t even classified anymore. You read his notes and it’s like, ‘Keep an eye on this Hitler guy!’” — WANDA SYKES
“Those notes are ancient. One of them was, ‘Find out who put the bop in the bop shoo bop shoo bop.’” — STEPHEN COLBERT
[Note: It was the same cat who put the RAM in the ram-a-lama-ding-dong. Everybody knows that. — THE ANONYMOUS BOOMER]
“How could America be $31 trillion in debt and, apparently, no one in the executive branch has ever purchased a shredder?” — STEPHEN COLBERT
“Apparently, all politicians just hoard classified material. I’m starting to wonder how Jimmy Carter insulates all those Habitats for Humanity houses.” — STEPHEN COLBERT
“At this point, the F.B.I. is just decluttering Biden’s house for him. They’re like Marie Kondo going around his rooms like, ‘This list of spies does not spark joy.’” — WANDA SYKES
AND FOR OUR FABULOUS & FANTASTIC & FULLY FAMILY-FRIENDLY-FINISH . . .