’Neath a cerulean sky I write this column on the ides of January as the mercury flirts with 75 degrees—a full eight degrees above the historic record for this date. The brie is a perfect creamy consistency, though the cabernet is perhaps on the warmish side. I grimace faintly, but sip bravely.
In the last year and counting, we haven’t had enough precipitation hereabouts to sustain a colony of sea monkeys. The farmers hate it. I’m not a farmer. The skiers hate it. I don’t ski. The fat cats with the manorial sod-farm-perfect lawns dreading the impending water rationing that will turn their verdant green to sickly brown are anguished. I am not one of those either. I’m a biker, and for a biker a sunny, warm, intractable drought is pure uncut riding Nirvana.
Back east it’s a different story entirely. The polar vortex hiked south and plunged most of the nation into the deep freeze. Our home office in Minneapolis has been all but paralyzed of late by sub-zero temperatures, and wind chill factors an unthinkable -50 degrees F. Some places got it even worse.
No wonder they all hate us. A poll taken a year ago by Public Policy Polling found California to be the most hated state in the union with fully 44 percent of the sampling positively loathing the Golden State. New Jersey was a distant second, with a measly 32 percent. The exact reasoning of the haters was not explored, but some commentators opined that it’s because we’re a smug, self-satisfied gaggle of tan and healthy narcissists. And while I personally tend to attribute that attitude to a sour grapes envy of our climate, spectacular scenery and Bay Watch emergency responders, I have no doubt that the animus is authentic.
Even so, some of the California haters tend to go a bit over the top. By which I mean the doomsday prophets who are convinced our current hydrologic distress (along with our occasional floods, wildfires, earthquakes and Super Bowl defeats) is nothing less than God’s own terrible wrath upon the wicked Left Coast.
Being a reasonably spiritual man, that one smarts. So I did some biblical research of my own, and while I couldn’t find any direct reference to California in the canonical text—not even in the Book of Revelation, where you’d expect to find at least some mention—an expanded search into the Apocrypha (the gospels redacted from the King James Version back in 1885 that include the likes of the Book of Tobit, the Book of Esdras, and the Book of Bel and the Dragon—seriously) told a different story. It was in the obscure Book of Neener Neener (attributed by biblical scholars to Saint Gloat the Insufferable), where I came across the creation story that I believe puts this whole matter into its proper perspective; to wit:
In the beginning, when Adam first approached God about getting a motorcycle, God was understandably reticent. “They’re dangerous, son,” God preached. “And, besides, where will you get a leather jacket? I haven’t invented cows yet.” God figured that would be enough rain to wash out Adam’s parade, but Adam was persistent.
“I’ll be careful, Pop. I promise! And I’ll always let you and Mom know where I’m going and when I’ll be home,” he avowed.
“You don’t have a mom,” God countered, hoping that would be the end of it.
But Adam was adamant.
“If there were other kids, I bet their parents would let them have a motorcycle—if there were other parents. Please?! I’ll do extra chores! I’ll mow Eurasia! Oh, pulleeze?” he beseeched.
God gazed into Adam’s visage and saw an earnestness of desire he hadn’t seen before, not even when the kid had badgered him to create Eve.
Then God began reflecting on how little time he’d had to spend with the lad, what with creating light and firmaments and such, and felt a twinge of paternal guilt.
“We’ll see,” he finally acquiesced. And with that, Adam skipped off pumping his fist in the air and yelling, “All Right!” and “Yesss!” because any response besides a flat out “no” from God was a “yes” in the offing.
And so it was that God created the first Harley. And the first cow.
“Gee, thanks loads, Pop!” Adam gushed as he beheld his shiny new scoot. God beamed as he watched the boy buff the paint on the tank with the shirttail of his fig leaf.
“Have fun, son, and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, heh heh. I have to get back to work. No rest for the divine, you know.”
And God, feeling pleased with himself, strolled off to resume his labors.
“Whoa!” cried Adam after him. “Dad! Yo! Wait a sec!” Where am I gonna ride it?”
God paused mid-stride, turned and mused, “Good point, son.”
He scratched his great head and considered for a moment. A knowing smile spread across his countenance, and a mischievous twinkle entered his all-seeing eyes.
And God created California.
It’s all right here in the diaries…