cyle talley

An Unprecedented Change In Policy

Let’s say that tomorrow morning, you wake up to a ringing in your ears. This is not a painful ringing, in fact, it’s rather nice. This ringing is the auditory version of being awoken by the smell of bacon sizzling in the skillet or French toast being made. Somehow, this ringing in your ears reminds you of your fondest memories of home. Your heart swells as you rise from bed and you feel impossibly, incomprehensibly good. Now, let’s say that this ringing that you hear is also heard by everyone, everywhere, all over the world. 

The ringing is G-d. G-d is interrupting our day and whatever we may be doing- you, me and everyone- to announce big changes in policy upstairs.

As you might expect, people are very confused and very taken aback. We have never received a proverbial “call” from G-d and so the revelation that G-d is indeed up there and watching the goings-on down here comes as a fairly large shock to all of us, regardless of belief. Some of us are elated to find that G-d is indeed real. Some of us are more than a little miffed.

Most of us, however, are simply stunned.

“Now that we have your attention,” a voice that sounds almost chillingly like Matt Damon says, “We’ll mute the ring.” The ringing in our ears dies out. Most of us are looking for the source of the Matt Damon voice, but it is seemingly everywhere, all at once.

“Many of you may well be very confused, but do not fear. I am an angel of the Most High and it is my supreme privilege to tell you that in a few moments, G-d itself will be making a very important announcement regarding a policy change. There will be no questions taken. There will be no answers to life’s mysteries doled out. No, we will not be telling you which religion is correct nor how to believe or which way to go. In fact, we will not even reveal to you the gender of G-d. This announcement is simply a matter of policy and, as we are indeed very busy up here, questions are a bit of a foofaraw. Know that your concerns are heard and that we’re ceaselessly working on ways to make the human experience a more endurable one. Having said that, wait just a moment for G-d.”

We are all very, very concerned. Change in policy? An angel that sounds like Matt Damon? G-d is going to speak to us directly?! Doesn’t that usually end badly? Have we been bad? Is He- It- going to smite us? Does smiting still occur? Foofaraw?

There is a worldwide twitch.

“Hul-” A microphone squeals and there is a series of coughs. Feedback swells into a deafening hum and then is muted. We are all very confused. Are there technical difficulties in heaven? The coughing dies down and a moment passes. A few of us wonder if G-d is catching His- It’s- breath.

“Hullo,” a familiar voice says. “I am G-d.”

No, you’re Brad Pitt- which sort of makes sense, we think to ourselves. 

“Yes, you are hearing me through the voice of Brad Pitt, but it is simply a technicality. Due to the fact that my real voice would cause those who hear it to fold into themselves, I have simply chosen the most pleasant voice my staff and I could think of. We briefly considered Morgan Freeman, but decided that would be too contrived. Hence, Brad Pitt.”

We all nod. It makes sense. Though we wonder if this experience will turn Brad Pitt into a megalomaniac.

“As the angel said, I am bringing you this heretofore unprecedented message under the guise of policy change. I realize that this may very well be quite disturbing for you and I’m well aware that many of you will have questions. I will, regretfully, repeat what the angel said a few moments ago- that those questions will remain unanswered for our purposes here. Furthermore, please assume that this is the one and only time you’ll hear from me directly until your mortal coil gives way and we’re able to have a more congenial introduction.”

G-d pauses and it strikes us how quickly this outlandish, ridiculous and indeed, thoroughly impossible scenario has become reasonable to us. G-d is speaking to us. What once was a sentence reserved only for schizophrenics and the deeply mentally disturbed is now a real thing to everyone on the planet.

Not only that, but G-d sounds just like Brad Pitt.

“If you’re afraid that this policy change has anything to do with wrath, hellfire, brimstone or general disappointment, let your mind be at ease. It is not. Though I am, in general, disappointed with the way that things turned out, I am nothing if not an understanding G-d. Mistakes have been made. The sky was supposed to be pink, for instance, but we couldn’t get things to mix correctly, I’m afraid. I despise the color blue. If I had to look at it all the time, I think I might be petty, rude and insolent to my neighbors and friends as well. I blame myself as much as I do all of you. Also, that show Lost– My mistake entirely. I didn’t actually intend for JJ to make that show. I just thought I’d have a bit of fun with him. Ah, but leave it to Fox to believe that the more complicated and confusing something is, the more “intelligent” and “edgy” it is. Now you all go around thinking that life is one gigantic existential question mark of intertwined coincidences- regardless of the fact that they have nothing to do with one another.”

“Ah, but now I’m ranting. Forgive me. Policy change.”

“Henceforth, you’ll be granted one wish a day,” G-d pauses for dramatic effect and for those of us who have fainted to come to so as to actually hear about the change in policy. “Now, I realize that the potential for this to go awry is vast and unfathomable to all but a select few of you. That is why I’m going to place a few rules on this “wish” business. They are as follows:

1. You may not wish for anyone to be fundamentally altered. That means no wishing for someone to die or be rendered disabled, no wishing for someone to fall in love with you or to change in any way, shape, or form- whether to be made less or more attractive, have some terrible disease or pox laid upon- or taken from- them or indeed, to be changed into another species entirely. This rule also covers you, yourself. Basically, don’t try to change free will.”

“2. You may not wish for circumstances to change. That is to say that you may not wish for a new house, a larger television, a better job or more lucrative salary, or for your lot in life to be drastically altered. You are who you are and where you are for a reason. Money has not fallen from the sky in the past and that trend shall remain. No one may wish to win the lottery. Well, you can, but nothing will happen.”

“3. You may not tamper with the laws of physics and nature. This is fairly self explanatory, but for those of you for whom it is not, I’ve taken an awfully long time to put things into a very proper and precise order and you’ll forgive me if I ask you to not trifle with such things. I don’t care how much you hate spiders- they’re necessary and they’re sticking around.”

“Having said that, I’d focus on the small stuff. Minor wishes. ‘Boy, I wish I could find my keys,’ or ‘I wish the internet would go faster,’ or, ‘Man, I wish I could get the Cubs game on TV,’- except, who actually wants to watch the Cubs? They’re abominable. Sometimes, even I can’t believe what happens to them. So anyway, as I was saying, the minor contrivances and whatnot. No “I wish there was peace in the Middle East and along the West Bank,” sort of wish. I’ll take care of the larger problems in due time- you’ll just have to trust Me. We’re talking minor wishes here. ‘I wish this shirt didn’t smell.’, ‘I wish the dog hadn’t gotten sprayed by a skunk.’. Minor wishes.”

“It should also be said that you ought to begin using the word “wish” very, very carefully. Any statement or sentence including the words “I wish” will be considered your wish for the day- whether or not that wish is indeed capable of being made taking the aforementioned rules into consideration and regardless of whether or not you were serious about said wish.”

“Having said that, it’s been awfully nice having some measure of direct contact with you. I do so like you all. Oh, now that you all know that I am indeed up here, please consider being a bit kinder and more polite to one another- regardless of which religion, belief or raison d’être you’ve chosen to get through your day, year or life. Just some courtesy and manners will do.”

“I’ll now leave you to your various days.”

And so, just as suddenly and unexpectedly as it had begun, G-d’s announcement ended. We all, regardless of where we were or what we happened to be doing (because though you may have been in bed, other countries were in the middle of their day- don’t be selfish and nationalist), looked up toward what we assumed were the heavens with one eyebrow raised. Indeed, the entire world, if only for a moment, shared, exactly, the same thought:

What in the blue hell was that?!

Now, let’s say that this actually occurred. That G-d indeed came over the loudspeaker of our minds and made an announcement granting each of us one minor wish a day. That this minor wish could indeed be just about anything, so long as it abided by the rules He had laid out.

If this were true, and, taking into consideration the time it would’ve inevitably take to process this mammoth and unprecedented event (which would be, roughly, a day- thereby making the policy change announcement in question occur yesterday) today my wish would be for three of Mama Jesus’ finest chocolate chip cookies (because though she didn’t make chocolate chip cookies during the span of her mortal coil, she’s certainly got a recipe sussed out now) to go along with my coffee.

Synopsis: I had no cookies in the pantry this morning, which was disappointing. Not disappointing enough to make me get in the car and drive to the grocery store, perhaps, but disappointing enough for me to create this scenario in my mind and write it down for you.

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