Easter Defended

Patricia Marx Humor Class

Dorothy Marcic

March 27, 2013

I was at a dinner party last week and sat next to a man from Bhutan, who had recently moved here for a six-month assignment at The Hodge Conjecture Think Tank in Flatbush. It was never clear to me what he does. Something to do with X’s and Y’s and Z’s and a field called topology or something like that, which tries to explain why a donut is like a cup.  “Would anyone ever think of eating a cup?” I asked and he just gave me a blank stare and took a sip of tea.

So relieved I was to change the conversation that I did not mind him asking lots of questions about American holidays. Doesn’t he watch TV? I thought.  Surely they get our television shows everywhere in the world.  But, on the other hand, who knows what anyone does in Bhutan, which is evidently somewhere near India and China. I didn’t want to ask too many questions, because I didn’t want him to know I had never heard of his country and had no notion that India and China were practically in each other’s laps.  About this time, I looked about to see if there was someone else nearby I could shift my attention to, but everyone else was completely engaged in what seemed like deep and fascinating conversations. Lucky them.

He seemed fixated, especially on Easter.  I tried to explain about Jesus. “He was the Son of God.”

“Which god?”

“THE God,” I said as I tried to place some frozen butter on the light bread that seemed to have more craters than dough.

“But which of the gods”

“Oh, you mean the trinity. Father, Son, Holy Ghost. He’s the son.”

“You have only three? In Hinduism we have hundreds.”

“Hundreds of idols, I imagine you mean.”

“American Idol is my favorite show. What makes those people want to humiliate themselves so greatly?”

“I guess they want fame.”  He looked confused, so I continued, “They want to be famous.”

“Even if they are seen as The Fool?”

“They’re having fun, I imagine.”

As I talked, he just shook his head and went back to his main topic. “So your Easter is about one of your gods?  The son?”

“Yes, he died and—“

“On that cross?”

“Yes, the cross.” He listened and shook his head and took a miniscule bite of some unknown canape as he went on,

“Why does a country of people who aspire to be Fools want such a violent image displayed so prominently?”

“Really,” I started, wanting to get away from this gruesome talk.  “The emphasis is on his resurrection. He rose from the dead?”

“Is that why this fascination of your people around Zombies and Vampires?”

“Those things are not about religion.”

“But,” he said as he delicately placed a piece of sculptured carrot into his mouth, “Why do people use your crosses to keep the Vampires away then?”

“That’s just some ancient story from a faraway land.”

“Like the stories in your Bible?”

By now he was taking bites of his vegetarian entre, which looked like it had been unevenly pulverized from chic peas, broccoli and sweet potatoes.  Why was this guy asking so many questions when all he really knows about is mathematics, I asked myself.

“The Bible was written by Holy Men. Prophets. Quite a few of them.”

“Ah, yes, like our gods.”

He said this and I stared, no doubt causing him to chance tactics.

“So please explain to me, kind lady, why there are rabbits and plastic baskets and colored eggs everywhere before your Easter.”

“These are pagan traditions,” I started as he interrupted.

“What is pagan?”

“Outmoded religions with strxange customs that came before Christianity, and that—“

“Hinduism appeared over a thousand years before your Jesus.”

I turned to find the waiter to ask for coffee, trying to develop a better strategy.  But nothing came to me and I had to respond. “Paganism was religions before Christianity that believed in many gods.”

He just looked at me for a while and then went on. “It seems you think pagans are bad. And yet, by your definition Hindus are pagans.”

“I didn’t say that,” I started but stopped, knowing a math genius was going to be better than me at logic.

“Yet you Christians celebrate one of your holiest days with colored beans and chocolate bunnies.” He stopped to take a bite from the eight-layered Butter Cream Mea Culpa Cake.  “Strange customs, indeed.”

It was time for the Ladies’ Room.