Flat Tire

“How do you measure success?” I asked God. “A weed-free garden? A billion dollars in savings? Well-behaved children? Unburned toast?”

“Nolite te bastardes carborundum,” God muttered as she pushed a strand of hair away from her sweaty face. She was trying to get a flat tire off her rig, but the lug nuts had been machine-tightened.

I watched in disbelief. “Just zap it with a bolt of lightning,” I said, exasperated. If there was ever a time for some well-aimed lightning, it was now. Our little world is in flames, our bodies in peril, and here’s God, trying to change a flat tire by herself, offering only a language-mangled quote as her version of success: Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

Fine. “Which bastards?” I demanded as God tried to find a way to use her entire body weight on the lug wrench. Today, God was thin. I almost wondered if the bastards had already ground her down some, but that’s ridiculous. We all know the bastards are no match for even the thinnest of Gods, don’t we?

“Could you steady the jack?” God asked. “I’m going to try and jump on this damn wrench.”

“No,” I said. “That’s a terrible idea. Call AAA or something. You’re going to hurt yourself.” She hadn’t even blocked the jack very well. It was sinking into the soft ground. I put my hand on God’s bony old shoulder. She shrugged it off and stood to her full majestic height. A string bean of an angry God.

“Is your van available?” she snapped as she dropped the wrench. “I don’t have time to mess with this. I’ve got to go.” My old van burns a little oil and pulls slightly to the left, but it still hauls an impressive load and gets me where I need to go. I had plans today that involved the van, but I couldn’t deny the request. Ride along or stay home; we all know where God’s going, and it’s no place to go alone.

“Shotgun,” I said with a reluctant attempt at humor.

“Oh, that seat’s taken,” God replied. “Ahmaud’s riding up front.” I flinched and looked down. “No worries,” God added with a piercing look. “There’s plenty of room in the back.”

“But there are no seatbelts,” I protested, ashamed of myself.

 “There’s air,” God said grimly. “There’s air. Now, let’s go.”

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