Essayist Max S. Gordon shares his thoughts on surviving Donald Trump in this satirical and humorous short story.
So last night, out of desperation and total despair, I went to God about the whole “Trump” thing.
I called God, (I've got her cell number), and was shocked when it went straight to voicemail.
"Hi, this is God. I'm not here right now, but if you'll leave a message at the tone, I'll be sure to get back with you."
I thought, What the hell is God doing? God is always supposed to be available. Then a voice said, "If this is an emergency, press zero to speak to the operator."
I pressed zero and waited. There was music while I was on hold. I thought it would have been some tabernacle choir singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" or "Amazing Grace", but it was Billy Joel's "Moving Out (Anthony’s Song)" from the 1970s. I thought, God's a Billy Joel fan? What does she mean by that song? I’ll admit, I felt a bit frightened.
Someone picked up. "God speaking."
"Yes, who's calling?"
"Max. Do you have a minute?"
"Sure, sweetheart. Just one second while I take these rolls out of the oven and I'll be right with you." I heard an oven door slam. "Okay," God said breathlessly, returning to the phone. "I'm here. What's going on? Another question about writing and why you aren't famous yet?"
"No. Not this time."
"Good. I didn't make you a writer to be famous, but to communicate with others. You know that."
"God, this is about Donald Trump."
"Oh yes," she said, and sighed. “I'm afraid that's why I put the phone on voicemail. You only got through because I was just about to make a call. 10,567 messages this morning alone, I'm having friends over for dinner, and my assistant is on vacation this week. I needed a break. I'll answer them all, eventually, of course."
I tried to keep the tears out of my voice. "God, the election. How could you do this to us?"
"Hmmm," she said. It sounded like she was lighting a cigarette but I knew better than that. “That’s an interesting way of looking at it.”
“Well, don't you control everything? Isn’t this your will?”
“Well yes and no. Just because it isn’t my will, doesn’t mean it isn’t my will.”
“What do you mean by that, that doesn’t even make sense.”
“What I’m saying is, on some level I empower every choice because you are my creations and you have the power to create, whether I agree with you or not. At the same time, I don’t support anything that leaves anyone outside the circle of life.”
“Exactly, which is what I’ve been telling all my friends. You’re against Donald Trump. I knew it!”
“No, you don’t know it. Because you’re leaving him outside the circle when you say that. I created him too, remember?”
I groaned. “So you are to blame.”
“I created him,” she clarified, “I didn’t create his choices. The mashed potatoes are going to stick if I don’t stir them.”
There was the sound of a metal spoon landing heavily against the side of a pot. “Okay, I’m back. Look, honey, I know you’re frightened because of the pain that you think is coming. But everything that is essential will remain essential. Because you are my child, you can always choose to be in a state of grace. If love isn’t the choice, you’ve forgotten who you are. Don’t give him that power. In the end, as they say, a rose is still a rose. What you’re really afraid of is not who Donald is, but who you will become as a result of him. Of what hate will distort within you.”
“I want to fight what he’s doing.”
“Then fight. But fight what he’s doing because you love him and he’s your brother and he’s in the circle. Nothing I create is outside the circle. Fight so that he remembers who he is, and awakens from the dream. Grace is how you will remind others who they are.”
She sighed again. “I’ve been through this with you all so many times. The tears I’ve cried for my children. But I’ve talked to my therapist recently about learning to let go more, not to be so controlling. I have to let you all make your own choices.”
“Oh, she’s good. We’ve been working on anger. I’ve gotten a lot better over the last thousands of years. Ever read the Old Testament? I’ve learned so much since then. Now when I’m pissed, I just count to ten, and ask myself, do you really want to send fire, plagues and pestilence, when a simple kindly reminder would do?”
“I can’t believe I'm hearing this.”
She laughed. “My point is, I know you all will get through this. Or you won’t. Where I am, what is essential will remain. I’ve learned to let you all make your own decisions. It was so freeing when I finally got that. No more migraines. I picked up cigarettes again this week, but this is the last one and I’m not getting another pack. There have just been so many Trump calls, in so many languages. I’m doing my best, just as you are. But I’m not perfect, you know.”
“Of course you’re perfect,” I almost screamed. “That’s why you’re God!”
“I’m God because I love you unconditionally and I’m always here,” she reminded me. Her voice was gentle. “Otherwise, I’m doing the best I can, too. Would God be perfect and almost burn the dinner rolls before you called?”
“I’ve got more questions,” I told her, sensing she needed to leave.
“I know, hon, but I still need to change, and people will be here in less than fifteen minutes. Gabriel is always on time, bless his little heart. I guess he’s never heard the term ‘fashionably late.’ I hope Martin Luther brings his potato salad again. I’m still waiting to get that recipe. He says it’s his grandmother’s.”
“Protestant Reformation Martin Luther?”
“No, Martin Luther King, Jr. His phone’s been ringing off the hook too. I figured he could use a home-cooked meal.”
“But you know I’m always here when you need me. And you will get through this. Or you won’t. Either way, remember your grace. It’s all you are. If you see someone left outside the circle, any of my children, love them. All of them. And don’t be afraid to kick ass from time to time to wake people up, but remember to do it lovingly.”
“Thank you, God.”
“You’re welcome, sweetheart. I’ll speak with you soon.”
I heard a click, and a voice said, “Thank you for calling God. You've been invited to participate in a customer service survey. Were we able to answer all your questions to your satisfaction? Press 5 for excellent service and 1 for needs improvement.”
“O Lord,” I thought, “not another fucking survey” and pressed two.
God’s voice was back on the line. “I knew you weren’t completely satisfied with what I said. You never are, but that’s okay. Remember: true satisfaction will never be found in any answer, but in the depth of your questions. Give up the illusion of answers, you’ll be a lot happier. This isn’t easy for you, but it will get better. Now, one last thing. Should I wear red or orange lipstick, the dress I’m wearing is sort-of peach colored.”
“True satisfaction will never be found in any answer,” I reminded her.
“Very funny. There’s the door bell. Hurry.”
“I’d go with something a little paler than red,” I told her. “Maybe pink, or if you have it, tangerine.”
“Got it,” said God. “Gotta dash. Kisses, sweetie. I’m so glad I created gay men.”