The Truth, Mainly - 04/15/2002

Time for the M & H Solution in the Holy Land
by Leon Satterfield

I suppose that the current unpleasantness in the Holy Land will sooner or later wind down, but it's almost certain that it will begin again in six months, a year, a decade.

That's because it's a Holy War, and all participants are cocksure that it's Gott mit uns.

Last week, the U.S., the U.N., the European Union, and Russia all called for an end to the fighting. But if we really want to stop Holy Wars in the Holy Land, we need Divine Intervention.

We need the Mice and Hemorrhoids Solution.

You don't know about the Mice and Hemorrhoids Solution? You probably haven't been reading your Old Testament lately. More specifically, chapters five and six of the first book of Samuel.

The M & H Solution worked well there and since the setting then was the same Holy Land where the trouble is now, it's worth trying again.

What happens in I Samuel 5-6, see, is that the Philistines, engaged in yet another war with the Israelites, steal the Ark of the Covenant from them. That makes God a little peevish—but not nearly as angry as we see Him in other parts of the Old Testament.

So, in a strangely playful mood, He smites the Philistines with a plague of mice "and emerods in their secret parts."

That's the language of the King James Version of the Bible, published, as we all know, in 1611.

I didn't know what "emerods" meant either, so I looked it up in the Oxford English Dictionary.

In 1611, "emerods" meant hemorrhoids.

Yes, it did. It meant God gave the Philistines hemorrhoids in their secret parts. And mice all over the place.

So there the Philistines were with their stolen Ark of the Covenant, mice crawling up their legs, and their secret parts hurting bad.

Chapter 5 of I Samuel ends this way: "and the cry of the city went up to heaven."

It's hard to be a very aggressive warrior when you're smitten by a plague of mice and hemorrhoids and your cries are going up to heaven. The mice get in your falafel; and with hemorrhoids in your secret parts, you don't feel much like fighting. You don't feel like doing anything at all except taking hot sitz baths.

How do I know that? I'd rather not say.

So here's what the Philistines did. They decided the war was over. They gave the Ark of the Covenant back to the Israelites, and as a goodwill gesture threw in five little golden statues of mice and five little golden images of their hemorrhoids. Could I make up stuff like that?

Then the Philistines burned some offerings and went back home.

The Mice and Hemorrhoids Solution is a nice one. It's funny and nobody died from it—unless some of the Israelites laughed themselves to death.

It's got to be one of the Old Testament God's finer hours.

Anyway, I think the Mice and Hemorrhoids Solution would be a nice way to end the current mess in the Holy Land and to deter future ones.

So, dear reader, let us all petition God to apply the M & H Solution once again. He could begin with Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon. Smite both of them with hemorrhoids until their cries go up to heaven.

Then He could lock them in a small room, sit them down—gingerly—on those little inflatable doughnut cushions that people use when there's trouble in their secret parts, and dump about five bushels of live mice in the room. He'd tell Yasser and Ariel that all the bad stuff will go away as soon as they end their deadly little games.

If it takes them more than 15 minutes to work it out, they'll have to give each other's country five little golden statues of mice. If it takes them more than 20 minutes, they'll have to give each other's country five little golden images of their hemorrhoids. Autographed.

And that would be that. The Holy War would be over, and everybody would get together and have a great big Reconciliation Banquet. Palestinians and Israelis would sit side by side. They'd all laugh and laugh about how the war ended. Even Yasser and Ariel would grin a little.

And you and I, dear readers, would get the Nobel Peace Prize for involving the Deity in a spectacularly successful peace-making project. In our acceptance speech, we'd be very careful to give all the credit to I Samuel 5-6, lest in our vanity we'd be smitten by a plague even more uncomfortable—and funnier—than mice and hemorrhoids.

Don't even ask what that would be.


Retired English Professor Leon Satterfield writes to salvage clarity from his confusion. His column appears on alternate Mondays. His e-mail address is:

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