At the beginning of time, a children's expandable sponge bath toy fell
into an enormous sphere of water floating in an immense, infinite
space. Apart from the sponge bath toy and the sphere of
water, space was a vacuum. In the absence of constraints, the sponge bath toy
expanded into a god, known as God Zero.
How did the bath toy and sphere of water come to exist, you ask. That
is not for us mortals to know. They just did. That should be enough for
you. Even the gods don't know the answer to this eternal question.
Speaking of the gods, God Zero created seven other gods, known as God One,
God Two and so
on. God Zero felt that creating seven gods was a full,
respectable life's work, even for a god, so he went into retirement
after assigning to
the other gods the tasks of creating the universe and all of the
it, or, rather, all of the creatures that were to be in it after they
got to work creating them, and then watching over their creations for the rest of
time. Gods One
through Seven worked collaboratively on their universe creating tasks.
Now, the active gods work in shifts to manage and administer the universe. God
One works Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 pm Eastern Standard
Time. God Two works weekdays 4:00 p.m. to midnight EST. God Three takes
the midnight to 8:00 a.m. EST shift. In return for having to work
weekends and twelve-hour shifts, Gods Four and Five are required to work only
24 hours a week rather than the usual 40. God Four works midnight to
noon and God Five works noon to midnight on Saturday and Sunday. Gods
Six and Seven cover the other gods' generous vacation, sick leave and
statutory holiday allowances.
To avoid offending any of the active gods, the religion was named after
the one god who has retired and who doesn't give a good god damn what the hell the religion
is called. Hence the name "Zeroism."
Three times a day on weekdays and twice a day on weekends, just after the
beginning of God One through Five's shifts, we stop wherever we are,
put down whatever we are doing and engage in a half-hour's worth of
prayers, even if that requires setting an alarm clock to wake us up.
Praying includes a lot of bowing, kneeling and beating of chests as we
repeatedly chant, "I know I say this to all the gods, but you, (fill in
the on-shift god's name here), really are the greatest of all gods.
Those other gods mean nothing to me. Really. I was just humoring them
when I prayed to them. Honest."
Keeping on the good side of Gods Six and Seven is a problem because we
haven't got a clue as to when they're filling in for one of the other
gods, but we give it our best shot. At the exact second of a god shift
change, we chant one quick
prayer to God Six and Seven in the hope that He or She will hear it while
other gods are going off shift and, therefore, not listening. We are
more than a little concerned that Gods Six and Seven will get infinitely
pissed off at us if we pray to one of the other gods when, in fact,
God Six or Seven is filling in for Him or Her, but what can we do?
We're mere mortals and don't know the way or the schedule of the gods,
so landing in deep doo-doo with the deities is probably our
alliterative fate no matter how hard we try to keep in the gods' good
Each of the seven active gods maintains a separate Heaven. When we die
we become angels and we are assigned to a Heaven on a rotating basis.
So, for example, if the person who died immediately before you somewhere in
the world went to God Four's Heaven, you'll end up in God Five's
Heaven, assuming, of course, that you have been good enough or you have
offered sufficient donations to the church to warrant going to any Heaven. Thus, you have only
a one in seven chance of seeing any particular one of your loved ones
in Heaven, that is assuming that you can even spot him or her in the crowd up
there. With all of the people who have gone up to one Heaven or another
over the millennia, the Heavens have become lousy with angels these days.
In theory, you can apply for a transfer from one Heaven to another to
be with, say, your spouse or to be apart from, say, your spouse, but
because the gods are compensated on a per-angel basis, they are
reluctant to part with any of their angels. Rumor has it that they will
do so if they are paid a large sum of money, but because no one has yet been
able to disprove the old adage, "you can't take it with you," no angel
has so far been able to raise the necessary cash.
Because each god is responsible for decorating His or Her own heaven,
each Heaven looks different. Pray that you are assigned to God Three's
Heaven because She's decorated the walls with a paisley pattern that is
to die for.
- Honor thy navel and thy navel lint; they are so perfectly
fashioned one for the other that verily I say unto you they could have
been designed only by one Lord or another.
- Thou shalt shun all, even close relatives and friends, who
do not accept at least one of Gods Zero through Seven, and preferably
all eight. (As well as any future gods that Zero might create should He
become bored with his retirement.) On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
you may speak onto, but not speak with anyone who accepts at least four
out of eight. Anyone who accepts at least one, but less than than four,
you may speak onto on February 29th.
- Thou shalt not commit adultery.
- Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy love thyself, unless it conflicts with the previous command.
- Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor. When it comes to people two or more doors away, that's fine.
- Neighbors shalt not bare themselves to witnesses, false or not, with whom they have not yet fostered a loving relationship.
- Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord Zero, your God, in vain.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord One, your God, in vain. Thou
shalt not take the name of the Lord Two, your God, in vain. Thou shalt
not take the name of the Lord Three, your God, in vain. Thou shalt not
take the name of the Lord Four, your God, in vain.Thou shalt not take
the name of the Lord Five, your God, in vain. Thou shalt not take the
name of the Lord Six, your God, in vain. Thou shalt not take the name of
the Lord Seven, your God, in vain. Heck, to be on the safe side, it
would be a good idea to keep your mouth shut at all times.
- Thou shalt not kill, unless it's a farm or game animal that you
plan to eat or give or sell to someone else to eat. Verily I say onto
you that you mayest kill cockroaches at any time, even if you don't
plan to eat them, because they be yucky.
- Remember the Swiss cheese, to keep it holey.
In the past, we would have followed God Zero's
original command to smite nonbelievers, but we rewrote the commandment and
stopped the practice of
smiting, partly because it was inconsistent with the "thou shalt not
kill" commandment, but mostly because we discovered that we did not
fare well in prison.
The eating of leeks is strictly forbidden. All Zeroist farmers devote half of
their fields to leek, but these crops are never eaten or sold because
as Schmuel, one of God Three's early prophets, said, "Blessed are the
leek for they shall inherit the earth."
Some scholars have argued that this is not an accurate recording of
Schmuel's words and, therefore, the wasteful leek growing and
non-consumption practices should be
abandoned. However, all of those scholars have been excommunicated and
their words ignored.
We celebrate God Zero's birthday and retirement date, January 1 and
December 25, by refraining from all work on those days. We also celebrate the
birthdays of Gods One through Seven, February 5, March 17, May 12, June
24, August 5, September 29 and November 13. We've incorporated into our
worship rituals prayers for the early retirements of Gods One through
Seven so we can get some more days off and not have to worry about
praying to them all of the time.
God Zero is retired and asks nothing of us. Gods One through Seven, on the
other hand, demand our respect and insist that we tithe in their honor
to the church. Seven Gods, one tithe each, that's 70% of our salary
that we must fork over to the church or face the consequences, if not
in this world then in the next.
Pray ye that God Zero does not create any more gods. If he creates four or
more additional gods without any of Gods One through Seven retiring
then there will be no way to avoid being eternally screwed.
© Copyright Klebanoff Associates, Inc. and Joel Klebanoff, 2007-2012. All rights reserved.
Shalampax and Shalampaxian are trademarks of Klebanoff Associates, Inc.