Monday, March 13, 2006
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Tired of your rusty old god? We've got some vintage deities here who'd like to have your business.
And speaking of business, it's Monkey Business today, with a bored god we've talked about, but never talked to. Please welcome Chonganda to "The Gods Are Bored!"
And of course, the picture is not Chonganda. We'll start there.
Anne: Chonganda, you are so obscure that you're not even pictured on the Internet.
Chonganda: That doesn't matter. Not many people in Congo have computers anyway. I do wish I could exist in their minds, though. Congo was an awesome place to have a praise and worship team.
Anne: So how have you been keeping yourself busy? We hear all the time about gods and goddesses who've had to find jobs, and how hard it is for them to earn a living wage -- especially since they're immortal.
Chonganda: I guess I've been lucky in that respect. I was invited to a colloquium at the Universal Deity Academy (UDA), so that's kept me busy for awhile.
Anne: The Universal Deity Academy? Sounds like a college for gods and goddesses from all over the universe.
Chonganda: Precisely correct.
Anne: So what was the colloquium about?
Chonganda: Well, deities from various galaxies presented papers on flaws in the Intelligent Design, with suggestions for improvement after the next Big Bang.
Anne: Gosh! Intelligent Design is real? Imagine that!
Chonganda: Real, but full of glitches. If you think it's bad here on earth, you should hear about some of the solar systems that have sentient life on two or more planets. Keeping the species from traveling between planets is a real problem. No less than 17,000 gods and goddesses complained about it.
Anne: So, how many planets have intelligent life all-told?
Chonganda: "Intelligent" is a nebulous definition. For instance, your species is considered "insufficiently evolved" and only "marginally intelligent."
Anne: Tell me something I don't know.
Chonganda: To answer your question, planets containing truly intelligent species number 68,426,732,431.
Anne: 68 billion planets with intelligent life? That sounds more like the U.S. trade deficit than a number of inhabited planets.
Chonganda: Oh, that's not the number of inhabited planets. There's about 1 billion times that many planets with life on them of some kind or another.
Anne: That boggles the mind. Makes me feel really stupid and small.
Chonganda: Buck up, Anne! This planet has more deities per capita than any other planet in the Milky Way galaxy!
Anne: Somehow that doesn't improve my spirits.
Chonganda: It should. Think of all the gods and goddesses you can pray to who are out of work and living to help you.
Anne: And I feel like I need every one of them right now. So, Chonganda, did you give a presentation at the colloquium?
Chonganda: No, I was just there as an invited guest. What do I know about Asteroidal Macro-Extinctions and Extending Star Longevity? Still, it was interesting stuff. I learned a lot.
Anne: So what brings you down to earth again? Why didn't you stay at the Academy and pursue a teaching fellowship?
Chonganda: Because I'm worried about my bonobos. You see what happens? You turn your back for a few hundred years, and the next thing you know you get a worm hole telegram that your favorite jungle species is on the brink of extinction.
Anne: Bonobos. That would be Pan paniscus, the pygmy chimp. The ones that live in the treetops and settle their differences by french-kissing and having sex.
Chonganda: Those are the ones. And I hate to be insulting, but wouldn't they have made a better choice for sentient evolution than you aggressive, territorial, tribe-oriented, selfish humans?
Anne: No argument from me on that one, honored guest. So what's happening to them?
Chonganda: With the advent of better medications, humans can penetrate the jungle and shoot the bonobos. And apparently they taste good, so they're being picked off for the high-end restaurant trade. Even the park rangers who are supposed to protect them are snatching them for an evening snack.
Anne: What are you going to do?
Chonganda: What can any bored god do? I'll join the Congolese Park Service and try to save the remaining bonobos. Peacefully, of course. Although considering the number of humans on this little rock, it's tempting to terminate with extreme prejudice.
Anne: Please don't do that. They're having enough trouble in Congo as it is.
Chonganda: Tell me about it. Well, wish me luck. Or, I should say, wish those poor peaceful bonobos luck. They're going to need it.
Anne: They'll be in my prayers. And speaking of prayers, can I pray to you for the safety of my husband's job? Things are looking bleak again.
Chonganda: I would LOVE IT! Considering how many people of African descent pray to a certain Middle Eastern Jewish deity, I would be honored if someone of European descent prayed to me.
Anne: You are an awesome bored god, and I hope you save the bonobos and my husband's job too!
Chonganda: I'll do my best. Can I ask one last question?
Chonganda: Why are you wearing vulture earrings?
Anne: It's a long story.
FROM ANNE AND CHONGANDA
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS
ANCIENT GOD OF THE CONGOLESE PEOPLE
Photo from the web site of William H. Calvin, University of Washington, specialist in Pan paniscus.