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Artwork: AMC '23
51

Vanitas

Author: YMC '21-'22
As seen in: Cool #

On the first day, God created the heavens and the earth. "Let there be light," He said, and there was light. And God saw that it was good—or, no, 'good' wasn't quite the right word. It was glorious, but in an understated, huh-I-wasn't-even-trying-to-do-that, kind of way. Light? Sure, God didn't mind if it was. But if it wasn't, that was cool too—

Cool! Yes. That was it. 'Cool' was the word God was looking for.

God did a lot more cool stuff after that—fish in the sky, birds in the sea, math's first, other-first, and Other-other-first (1) drafts. But what God was most excited about was His final creation: humans. Little sentient creatures with holes and shafts that fit so titillatingly into one another that God accorded them brains, to piece together that their survival as a species hinged on the frequency of these shaft-to-hole interactions. The creatures penetrated one another with glee, and God was happy (for them).

At this point, God figured He had it made: with omnipotence and a little thing called moxie, He had created consciousness, and more importantly, the soon-to-come concept of pickling fruits. Humans would probably build sumptuous monuments in His honor, onto which nobody would pee, and wage wars in His name, during which people would likely pee but only at great logistical cost. God thought, Ay am-a quite-a cool-a, and decided right then and there that the Pope should be Italian, and that Italy should be a place that exists.

Everything was going great until, one day, Gaba (a caveman) said to Baga (another, smaller caveman), "Go sharpen some rocks to create hunting tools". But Baga didn't want to sharpen the rocks. Baga wanted to thread tiny ragweeds into the shape of a butt. So Baga said: "Rocks?" He cackled, and a few cavemen behind him followed suit, unsure what to do. They had never heard a laugh like this before. They were afraid. "You think hunting tools come from rocks?" Baga snarled. The other cavemen doubled their laughter, and quickly replaced their tools with ragweeds, not wanting to be associated with Gaba, whose eyes by now were brimming with water. God was totally lost. What was going on? Had the humans established… their own hierarchy of good things?

God understood immediately the scale of the danger. "Let tiny ragweeds threaded into the shape of a butt not be a thing anymore," He said, but this time, unlike the creation of the heavens and the earth, He actually cared whether or not it happened. And then God looked over His shoulders, checked that no one was there, and whispered, "Also let there be sofas that sound like farts when you sit on them." He chuckled, destroying the better part of Florida—that one was just for Him. 

But God didn't laugh long: sure enough, the tiny ragweeds threaded into the shape of a butt were quickly replaced with leather jackets; then leather jackets were replaced by saying you were born in the wrong decade, which was soon replaced by saying you were born in the wrong decade ironically; Silly Bands crested then tumbled then made a brief comeback in certain areas of Brooklyn, until Brooklyn itself was replaced by one large Silly Band of Mila Kunis eating a beer jug with the boys, a landmark so cool that it became colloquially known as 'the leather jacket of leather jackets'. At some point along the way, an unexplained yet sturdy relationship was established between Jesus iconography and finger guns.

God was reaching a breaking point, when suddenly, inspiration struck. God said: "Let 'not trying to be cool' be the prerequisite to being cool." It was genius. It was infallible. It was…working? No. Somewhere, someone smashed an avocado onto a piece of bread for no precise reason and the humans gave her eight hundred millions of the money.

God was enraged. Who did these little beasts think He was? Some sort of pencil-pusher who churned out humans only for them to go about inventing their own rules without so much as sparing Him an afterthought? Rage seething inside of him, God did something He had never done before: He killed a human: Steve Krisney, a 96-year-old accountant in a retirement home. God waited for a reaction. But it didn’t come, and that’s when God understood: none of the humans had realized it was Him who'd killed Steve. God felt a cold, hard pit in his stomach, something that he had never felt before—was it guilt? Shame? A dwindling of faith? It was the munchies. God conjured a slice of 'za, and lo: God felt better.

"I can't believe I could've been so stupid", God said while he chewed, confiding to a cloud onto which he'd drawn a friendly face. His shoulders were slumped, and he looked haggard as all hell. "So caught up in what everybody thought of me that I forgot what really mattered. But I get it now. It's not about what car You drive, or how often You fuck"—and here God looked around himself and made a mental note to create the angels—"or even how ‘cool’ the humans think You are. It's about remembering why You set out on this crazy adventure in the first place: You did it to create the heavens, and the earth, and light. To create friendship, and beauty, and love. To create joy—"

And that's when it happened. That's when the cloud onto which He'd drawn a friendly face pantsed God.

It was unanimously ruled as the coolest thing to happen since God's creation of the heavens and the earth. God, out-cooled by a being of His own making, immediately dissolved into a rain of tiny kaleidoscopic droplets, His infinite spirit trickling down towards the Earth, down and down through the mesosphere and the rest of the spheres until it landed in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the top of a strange little brick castle filled with strange little humans doing strange little things. Before long, a new Bible was created.

And lo: here it is, in your hands. It is shorter than the original, because everybody knows that reading is not cool.