Random Musing Before Shabbat–Bo 5776 Four Strikes and You’re…Well… (A Fractured Midrashic Fairytale)

11 years ago, I wrote this fantasy musing built around the then current scandal rocking the baseball world about the use of performance-enhancing drugs. I started to re-write it this year, thinking to substitute some current issue. I made several attemps, but none proved to be quite as witty and entertaining as the original. So herewith, I present you with the original, and offer you the opportunity to try and substitute some current issue (say global warming and change-deniers, or economic disparity and the 1% and 99%, or the campaigns for the next president and the candidates thereof, or the scandals rocking FIFA, or the IOC, or Trump, or Cosby, or deflate-gate, or the NRA, gun lobby, and advocates for gun control,  or some other story or scandal re-situated in the setting of the ten plagues. I hope the musing, whatever subject you choose to imagine at the center of the narrative, will prove thought provoking.

-Adrian (5776/2016)

 

Four Strikes and You’re…Well…

(A Fractured Midrashic Fairytale)

This musing has nothing to do with the parasha…or does it…..?

And after many years, G”d heard the cries of the fans, and remembered the promise made to them about affordable baseball tickets. One day, Moses was out tending his sheep when G”d appeared to him as a Ball Park Frank with mustard and sauerkraut, which was being eaten but not consumed. And Moses said “I must turn aside and eat this amazing thing.”

G”d said to Moses “Take your shoes of your feet, for this is holy ground.” And Moses did as the giant frankfurter commanded. And G”d said to Moses “Phew! Stinky feet! Are you from New Jersey? Well, put your shoes back on!”

Then G”d said to Moses “Go to the Players Association and tell them that they must not use performance-enhancing drugs, for it is an abomination to me, the fans don’t like it, and besides, it isn’t fair.”

Moses says “Who am I, that the players should listen to me? I am slow of speech and besides, I don’t even like baseball.”

“Well, I’m partial to golf myself. But that’s not important right now. You can take your brother Aaron along as your press liaison.”

“And who, shall I tell the players, sent me to them?”

“Tell them that ‘I Am” sent you.”

“Tell them a yam sent me?”

“I thought you said you were slow of speech, not slow of hearing! Now, never mind what my name is, get going!”

So Moses and Aaron come to the Players Association and say “Thus spoke the Lord Yam ‘You shall not use performance-enhancing drugs.'” But the Players Association just ignored them, and said to the fans “you shall pay higher prices for your tickets, for your insolence.”

So G”d told Moses to again go to the Players Association and tell them “You must not use performance-enhancing drugs, for it is an abomination to me, the fans don’t like it, and besides, it isn’t fair. If I catch you using performance-enhancing drugs, I will cause you to be suspended without pay for 10 days.”

And Moses did as G”d had commanded, and appeared before the Players Association and said “Thus spoke the Lord Yam ‘you must not use performance-enhancing drugs, for it is an abomination to me, the fans don’t like it, and besides, it isn’t fair. If I catch you using performance-enhancing drugs, I will cause you to be suspended without pay for 10 days.”

Still, the players used performance-enhancing drugs. So G”d tested them, and found they were using performance-enhancing drugs, and G”d caused all of them to be suspended without pay for 10 days (although it just so happened that there were only games scheduled for 3 of those days.)

So G”d told Moses to again go to the Players Association and tell them “You must not use performance-enhancing drugs, for it is an abomination to me, the fans don’t like it, and besides, it isn’t fair. If I catch you using performance-enhancing drugs, I will cause you to be suspended without pay for 10 days.”

Moses, never shy, said to G”d “Isn’t that what you threatened last time, Mighty Yam? Would it not make more sense to bring upon the players a harsher punishment for their stubbornness, their sins, and their refusing to submit to Your will?”

G”d, being eternally patient, decides to ignore the whole “Yam” thing and says to Moses “Just do it.”

So Moses and Aaron put on their Nikes and just did it, as G”d had commanded. They went to the Players Association and said “Thus spoke the Lord Yam: ‘you must not use performance-enhancing drugs, for it is an abomination to Me, the fans don’t like it, and besides, it isn’t fair. If I catch you using performance-enhancing drugs, I will cause you to be suspended without pay for 10 days.’ “

“That’s what Yam said the last time. What’s 10 lousy days of pay out of our million-dollar salaries?” And the players again sinned a great sin and used performance-enhancing drugs, and Gd again caused them to be suspended again without pay for 10 days.

So G”d told Moses to again go to the Players Association and tell them “You must not use performance-enhancing drugs, for it is an abomination to me, the fans don’t like it, and besides, it isn’t fair. If I catch you using performance-enhancing drugs, I will cause you to be suspended without pay for 10 days.”

And Moses says to G”d “Isn’t that what you threatened last time, and the time before that, Mighty Yam? Would it not make more sense to bring upon the players a harsher punishment for their continuing stubbornness, their sins, and their adamant refusing to submit to Your will? After all, they only get three strikes in their own silly game.”

And G”d, still being patient, though the eternal part was beginning to weaken a little, said to Moses “In my ball park, we play by my rules. Do it.”

So Moses and Aaron did it. They went to the Players Association and told them “You must not use performance-enhancing drugs, for it is an abomination to me, the fans don’t like it, and besides, it isn’t fair. If I catch you using performance-enhancing drugs, I will cause you to be suspended without pay for 10 days.” And again the Players Association said “That’s what Yam said the last time. What’s 10 lousy days of pay out of our million-dollar salaries? Hey, Moses! Why don’t you go and take your folks and your sheep and your goats and go out three days into the wilderness and offer sacrifices to your Lord Sweet Potato.”

“That’s Yam!” Moses (well, actually, Aaron) said and they stormed off to the parking lot.

And the players laughed and then they offered sacrifices to their god named money by demanding yet higher salaries of the owners, thus causing the poor fans to have to pay even more money for tickets to their games. Then the players again sinned a great sin and used performance-enhancing drugs, and yea, they did playeth mightily well. And G”d was angry with them and did as G”d has said, and G”d again caused them to be suspended again without pay for 10 days.

So G”d told Moses to again go to the Players Association and tell them “You must not use performance-enhancing drugs, for it is an abomination to me, the fans don’t like it, and besides, it isn’t fair. If I catch you using performance-enhancing drugs, I will cause you to be suspended without pay for an entire year.”

“It’s about time” said Moses, under his breath.

“What was that?” said G”d.

Aaron responded “He said ‘Oh, G”d sublime.'” And G”d immediately turned Moses and Aaron into treif knockwursts. And then just as miraculously they were themselves again. “That’s for being sassy,” said G”d, “Now, go…”

“Do it” said Moses and Aaron and they went again to the Players Association, and said to them “Thus says the Lord G”d Yam ‘You must not use performance-enhancing drugs, for it is an abomination to me, the fans don’t like it, and besides, it isn’t fair. If I catch you using performance-enhancing drugs, I will cause you to be suspended without pay for an entire year.'”

Some of the players had the fear of Yam in them, and said “we must listen to Yam and stop taking these performance-enhancing drugs” And some Players whined to the Owners saying “a whole year? Gimme a break. How am I going to afford my new condo on Maui and my Lamborghini and my Rolex?”

And the Owners said to them “We don’t care about that. All we know is that you guys play so incredibly well when you take those performance-enhancing drugs, and fill up our ballparks and make us lots of money for us to share with you, that we’ll gladly keep you on the team even after the humiliation of a year’s suspension.”

And the Trainers and Agents said to the whiners, and to those who were afraid of Yam “Big deal. So you’ll lose a year. You’ve already made so much on the endorsements we’ve gotten for you, that you can easily afford it. Besides, the drugs make you such incredible players. And so the Owners and the Trainers and the Agents stiffened the hearts of the Players, and they continued to take performance-enhancing drugs.

So G”d caused those who took the performance-enhancing drugs to be suspended without pay for one year. And the suspended players moaned and whined under the oppressive yolk of the lifestyles of the rich and not presently busy. And the players began to regret having used the performance-enhancing drugs, and some of them even promised to G”d that they would not use them again. Then a year passed and all the players went back to spring training. And they took performance-enhancing drugs. And they played for many years, earning millions of dollars for themselves and the owners and the agents and the trainers, Oh, they occasionally had to be suspended for a year (and as new players joined, they went through their weary round of 10 days suspensions before hitting the big time one year ones.) And they even went to the Mayor of Washington and said to him “build us a new ballpark and we will deign to bring our august presence back to your dinky little backwater town which just happens to also be the capital of the most powerful nation on earth. Oh, and we want to make sure that the owner of the team in Baltimore gets compensated for any revenue he might lose when people stop coming to see his sucky little losing team and instead come to see the sucky little team from Montreal that is being moved to DC.” And the Mayor said “sure thing, sounds good to me!” And most the people of Washington, and the chair of their city council said “but that’s not what we want. We want better schools, more fair-priced housing ” But the owners and the fans stiffened the Mayor’s heart. And the city and the owners came to an agreement to bring baseball back to the nation’s capital.

Meanwhile, Moses waited around to hear from G”d, but he heard nothing. So Moses went back to the hot dog stand where he had first seen G”d in the eaten but unconsumed wiener and said “Yo, Yam! Wassup!?”

G”d said to Moses “I’m busy watching the Stanley Cup playoffs, don’t bother me. And stop calling me ‘Yam’ you little nudnik.”

Now Moses was like all of G”d’s chosen people-stubborn. So he again spoke to G”d, saying “Guess you’re little gambit didn’t work, did it? I have a suggestion. Next time, give ’em lots of chances, say maybe 10, but ramp up the consequences each time? Make ’em squirm a little. Whaddaya think?”

And G”d said to Moses “OK, you got my attention. I’m listening”

Moses said “Ooh, ooh! This would be even better. Get this. Even if, after the punishments the players agree to stop taking drugs, you keep hardening their hearts and they’ll take drugs again and so you have to keep punishing them.”

And G”d, who apparently had no compunction about using human beings as pawns and puppets, and causing apparently needless suffering just to make a point, said to Moses “sounds like a plan, Stan!”

And Moses said “and you’ll let me live in the promised land?”

[Thunder and Lightning]

“Okay-how ’bout you’ll let me dangle my feet in the river Jordan?”

[Thunder and Lighting]

“Heck with this. I’m gonna go open a deli in Jericho. Go find yourself another set of buns to worship You, Your Wienership!”

Well, G”d didn’t like that at all, so he turned Moses into a Hebrew National Hot Dog. And then Aaron ate it. And that is why, to this day, we eat hot dogs at baseball games. After all, as the rabbis said, this is our Holy tradition. Torah she-be’al-park. Play ball!

Your turn to pick an alternate topic for the center of this narrative. Take your pick. Our Torah is timeless. Have fun. Updating the stories for today isn’t as hard as one might think. Plug and play.

Shabbat Shalom,

Adrian

©2016 (portions ©2005) by Adrian A. Durlester

Other musings on this parasha

Bo 5775 – Teach Your Children Well (Redux 5762)
Bo 5774 – Spellcheck On My hand
Bo 5773 – Dear G”d…Love, Pharaoh
Bo 5772 – Lifting the Cover of Darkness
Bo 5771 – Keretz MiTzafon-Again! (not the same as 5769)
Bo 5769-Keretz MiTzafon
Bo 5768 – Good Loser (Redux 5763)
Bo 5767-Teach Your Children Well (Redux 5762)
Bo 5766 – Random Disjunctions and Convergences (Redux 5760)
Bo 5765-Four Strikes and You’re…Well…
Bo 5764-Keretz Ani
Bo 5763 -Good Loser
Bo 5761-Cover of Darkness
Bo 5762-Teach Your Children Well

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About migdalorguy

Jewish Educator & Musician, Technology Nerd and all around nice Renaissance guy
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