I can still smell the formaldahyde, see the frog pithed to the board as I went about dissecting it, taking copious notes on what I found, identifying organs, both of us hidden in a corner of our fourth grade classroom so the other students didn’t feel like they had to vomit.
This Yom Kippur, even though I no longer practice the faith of my youth and early adulthood I shall seek the forgiveness of the frog who thought he was giving his life in the early training of a doctor, not one who ended up practicing law, and know he will probably forgive me for even amphibians have compassion for us, despite our obvious shortcomings.
So if I have it right, God managed to come up with ten plagues for Moses to visit on Pharaoh, although at the time Moses probably could not understand why it was ten, since God was boundlessly creative, or so He told Moses.
Maybe it dawned on Moses when wandering in the desert that ten was a convenient number, after all, he only gave Moses ten commandments, but I doubt he told Moses they were a starter set and the other 603 would come along in due course, but Moses wouldn’t take the blame for them, he’d be written out of the story in Book Two.
My father wanted to take me to buy my first suit, said he knew a tailor who could fashion one perfect for my pending Bar Mitzvah, a nice wool blend, he said.
Mother about threw a fit. “Take him to the department store or even Goodwill, for God’s sake, he’s only going to wear it once.”
My father had learned that some battles are best left unfought, so he compromised and we went to the men’s shop and I wore that sport coat three times before outgrowing it, and donating it to Goodwill.
I am mystic, thief, madman, all that, considerably more, never begging, always taken what is arrayed before me favor curried, passage guaranteed coins gathered, stored so there are none to cover the eyes or pay the ferryman’s wages. I can turn wine to water and hide fish in the midst of loaves, the trick is to distract you so the order is reversed, a sleight unseen. I am truly the prodigal son vaudevillian and fall guy and the spikes are a bitch but the view is something to behold.