Saturday, 3 November 2007

'Come here, and let me smack God'

Thinking about my friend Donald (who has two littlies under 3 and is expecting another in February, eeek!), I remembered a conversation I had with my then 5-year-old son in Donald’s presence. My son asked – as children do, and expect a simple answer – ‘Mom, where’s god?’

Swilling back a large mouthful of gin and tonic, I wondered where to even start with this. Then inspiration struck: Donald has people in his family who are actual card-carrying members of the church, so I swiftly passed the buck: ‘Donald,’ I said, ‘why don’t you handle this one?’

Donald, never one to duck a challenge (I once woke him up at 3am and insisted he ascend Table Mountain with me, with nothing but garlic sandwiches – yes, bits of garlic on bread – to accompany us; I was profoundly pissed and what he should have done was bark furiously at me; instead, he gamely went with me, and if that isn’t genuine friendship I don’t know what is), took the matter firmly in hand.

‘Well,’ he began, ‘god is in the trees around us; in the water we drink; in the air we breathe, the things we smell and hear…’ and so he went on. My son soaked up every word, and we both listened, fascinated, right up to the delicious wind-up: ‘And,’ Donald concluded, touching my little boy gently in the middle of his chest, ‘god is in you.’

I was impressed; my child was entranced.

‘Wow!’ I said, as my son wandered off, looking awe-struck. ‘That was fabulous!’

The next morning Donald’s fabulousness came home to roost. I spent a brief few moments in the shower (when there are small children in the house and no-one to eagle-eye them while you’re doing the necessaries, ‘a few brief moments’ are all you’re allowed for anything) and when I came out I discovered that my son had found a fat black wax crayon, with which he’d scribbled extravagantly all over the lounge wall. I knew it was my son’s doing, because he was still standing there, crayon in hand, admiring his handiwork.

I clapped a hand to my forehead. ‘Good gracious me,’ I said (give or take a few expletives), ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING???’

He looked at me and instantly clocked the incipient hysteria in my eyes. And very quickly he said, ‘You know how Donald said god was in me, hey, Mom?’

I made some sort of noise that he took to be in the affirmative but was actually me trying not to swallow my tongue.

‘Well, I didn’t do this,’ he said. ‘God did.’

‘Fine,’ I said. ‘Then come here and let me smack god.’

(I didn’t really say that last bit. It only occurred to me days later. Damn.)

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meggie said...

Howling with laughter.
What a great story!

tonypark said...


My little brother used to have an imaginary friend called Bum Bum who was responsible for wall-writing etc.

I wonder if God would have worked better for him.

Juno said...

Mur, you are just brilliant. I can't believe you're not famous. What an excellent piece of writing. Why are you not writing novels?

Tony (who does write novels!), I love the name 'Bum-Bum'. May I steal it for future use?

My sister had two imaginary friends called Afrikaans and Pretoria. Yes, she was born in the Sixties....

tonypark said...

Juno, I'm sure my brother has finished with Bum Bum and Africa is now ready for him/her. I'll check with my sister-in-law, though. Perhaps Bum Bum still gets a mention when he's been pissed at the pub.

angel said...

mwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahaaaaa... ROTFLMFAO!!!LOVE IT!!!