Monday, April 30, 2007

An Atheist Jew, a Protestant, and a Heathen, Talking at a Bar

I know that this sounds like the start of one of those bad jokes.

This is a post I wrote and was going to put up the week before last. And then my world crashed and all I could write about was my dad. But I saw Matt and Laura last night, and our waiter talked to us about foot fetishes (I started it, and it's a long story), and Laura mentioned that odd stuff always happens when we're together.

And that reminded me that I had such fun the last time I'd seen them, and I had this little post just waiting to get out.

A bunch of us went to Local 16 to celebrate T's birthday. Our friend Matt is back in town for perhaps a month.

He's incredibly bright, accomplished, successful, and has made, for those in his field, an unsual choice. He's taken time off from his partner-track big lawyer job. He was making big lawyer money, literally working 24/7, and had no life outside of work.

And at some point he woke up, realized life was short, and he didn't want all of it to pass him by while he worked day and night at the office.

He's taken time off from his big lawyer job. He's been living in Buenos Aires, perfecting his Spanish, and generally trying to figure out what it is he really wants in life.

I was asking him about his timetable for coming back.

He's not sure.

I wanted to know if he's going to step back on the partner track at the same prestigious firm.

He's not sure.

"So," I asked, "what is it you're going to do when you come back?"

"I don't know exactly. I'm trying to figure out the IT that really gets me fired up. I'm looking for that, that. . ."

I interrupted, "Burning bush? It is a burning bush, isn't it?"

"Yes! The burning bush! I think."

"It's some biblical reference, right?" (I was pretty sure it was a line from the Bible, but then again, maybe it's the Sex Pistols?)

So Matt, who is Jewish, but actually an atheist, said, "No, I'm quite sure it's in the Bible. It's Old Testament, even, so I should probably know. But who was it? Moses? Jacob?"

"I dunno. It was one of those big names."

We turned to Laura, as in "Laura of the turquoise boots," - which she actually got while shopping with Matt in Buenos Aires - and tapped her on the shoulder. We asked if she knew who it was who spoke to God through the burning bush.

She said, "I think it was Moses. I'm pretty sure. But I was raised Protestant. So we didn't focus as much on Old Testament."

And then she went on to tell us a story about her childhood Sunday school teacher kicking her in the shins once! Further proof that church is best avoided.

So we had agreement that the burning bush was a Biblical thing. We just had to figure out who it was.

We found a Catholic. Or rather, an ex-Catholic.

Who confirmed that the burning bush was indeed Moses.


  1. I was convinced you were the heathen.

  2. I am the heathen in this story! Betty read the post about Easter and felt bad they'd never connected Easter and Jesus for me when I was a kid.

  3. Somehow, that would make a great joke. But for now, it makes a good story.

  4. Your heathen chemistry with that lot is great. It's great, that scene can easily be pictured and played out in my head.

  5. ANOTHER atheist Jew living in Buenos Aires? Jesus, we're everywhere, so to speak.

  6. This is weird b/c my friend, also named Matt, also a member of the tribe, also quit a DC law firm job (he was a partner) and moved to California because he got sick of it. He now works as a writer/consultant. He writes the Media Concepts blog.

  7. With a title like that, it just begs for a punchline.

    ... and then the Heathen says, "You leave my bush out of this."

    There. I feel better.

  8. AW - Thanks. I was trying to figure out how to turn it into a joke and couldn't.

    IJ - We heathens can get along with anyone.

    Arjewtino - Yes, you people are everywhere.

    HIN - I will have to check it out. I'm always impressed when people do this, because getting off the partner track or bailing on being partner is huge.

    WiB - Thanks! I couldn't figure out a catchy ending.


Tell me about it.