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Copyright (c) 1980 by David Ian
We are the light of the world, and what kind of a world would be left behind should that light ever go out?
Setting is a lecture hall sometime in the future. The instructor has a greaseboard or overhead or something to write upon that is readable to the audience.
A Professor of history in the distant future looks back upon our society and pieces together what he can about our civilization, culture, beliefs, and daily life. With the scant information he has he draws some interesting conclusions, and a startling discovery about an ancient belief in a benevolent and powerful God.
(as first performed by the Jigsaw Puzzle of Comedy February 20th, 1981 at Glencoe Auditorium)
Professor -- David Ian
(On stage is a chalk board or grease board CS, with the title "Civilizations of the Past" inscribed along the top.)
PROFESSOR: Good evening students, alumni, fellow instructors, and distinguished members of the faculty. This term in "Civilizations of the Past", the subject of study will be ancient gods. As you know, we have recently been studying the culture and myths of civilization in the primitive era about the turn of
the second melennia A.D. Our recent findings in the excavation sites during the summer digs has brought
new light to a time that has previously been dark and mysterious. Crude nuclear power and nuclear warfare thrived during this time, and so the people of this age are thus given the title of "Nuke Man" (PROFESSOR writes "Nuke Man" on the board)
Nuke Man had interesting, nay, fascinating rituals and ceremonies that he performed for his numerous gods. Some were daily ceremonies, and others were even more frequent and elaborate rituals. For example, Nuke Man paid homage to a variety of gods as he travelled from place to place. When a traveller moved upon sacred paths known as Roh- ads (PROFESSOR writes "Ro-ad") and met a shrine to a certain god known as "Stoap" (PROFESSOR writes "STOP"), the traveller would immediately halt his procession in reverence, and then pass on his way with the blessings of this god.
Other gods of travel served practical purposes, such as the god "Juckt", who was called upon to bless the meeting of two conjoining Roh-ads (PROFESSOR writes "JCT"), and the ever-present Eck-it, which allowed the traveller to leave the sacred Roh-ad (PROFESSOR writes "EXIT") without curse or retribution. Truly hundreds of these shrines are found at excavation sites scattered throughout their amazing system of destination travel, using Roh-ads almost exclusively, having no modern teleporting methods that we enjoy today.
Special priests were put in charge of Roh-ad observances, and were granted the authority to punish the blasphemous and the sacreligious travellers. Manuscripts give these priests the honored names of "Copes" and "Stat-E-Troope-R"
Manuscripts refer to another curious god that Nuke Man observed, but this kind was served almost exclusively in the home. Excavations confirm that the shrine of this god was found in nearly every dwelling uncovered, located in the central communal area. Nuke Man would spend literally hours meditating before this god, in a hope to find guidance and leadership in his life. This god was named (PROFESSOR writes "TV") "Tuhv".
Tuhv was a very demanding god, and required sacrifices of time from other activities, family, learning and working in order to be appeased. Also prominant was the god's fabled offspring "Visser", through which Tuhv also received tribute. It was through Visser that lengthy prescribed rituals were observed, taking hours to complete, and often these ceremonies would occupy the bulk of Nuke Man's free time. (PROFESSOR writes "VCR" with an arrow from "TV")
Recent excavations also confirm the existence of another household god that even superceded the powerful Tuvh and Visser. One of the most human-like gods, described in ancient texts as having a face and hands, a strict god known as "Klah kh kh" (PROFESSOR writes "Kloc'k'"). Nuke Man would literally run his life according to the observance of Klah kh kh. He would consult it to wake up in the morning to begin his day, after supplicating to a suboridnate god of the morning "Snoaz" numerous times.
Daily work was strictly dictated by this god when such events became routines: meetings, social events and even eating could not be performed without first consulting Klah kh kh. Nuke Man became so dependant upon this god for everyday life, that it was actually necessary to carry a small shrine of Klah kh kh on the wrist so that Nuke Man could consult it from time to time.
(PROFESSOR pauses, seems puzzled) Our recent digs have revealed the discovery of another god that Nuke Man observed, or rather, certain people of this culture and civilization observed. It is somewhat different than the other gods that have have studied so far.
We fully understand the other gods we have encountered, their symbols and their shrines. But of one god we cannot make any sense from references and records. It's name is an enigma itself, known only as "God".
The other gods fulfill specific roles and have a set place in the daily life of Nuke Man. They have their rituals and ceremonies that must be strictly observed. But it seems that this god was used by these people in a universal observance. Instead of being used in a specific aspect of life, this god is recorded to be consulted in all aspects; not on special occasions or in time of need but all day and into the night. In fact, it is said that followers would wake up in the morning with this god and actually commune with it in the morning and then also throughout the day. None of the other gods we found had any direct interaction with their subjects or followers.
Indeed, an interesting god we have found that, for those that dedicate themselves to it, they find that it has dedicated itself to them. An interesting god that treats its followers as, as not equals, but as a protective and nurturing parent does to its children. It is said that the people who daily interact with this god had a joy of life, a shining outlook, their life was seen as secure. Not by any means was it easy, goodness knows Nuke Man lived in a time fraught with troubles and perils; but there was indeed a level of confidence that thrived within their interaction with this god that eclipses all other philosphies and achievements we've found so far in studying this culture.
However, fragments also exist that refer to followers of this god who communed very little, and only had interaction with their god on a weekly basis, or even merely once or twice a year at certain festivals. Rather than having the joyful and secure life, then, these followers turned out to be the most miserable of all.
The people who followed this god were instructed to spread the news of their god to others who did not commune in an attempt to help those others live the joyous and secure life they led. They were instructed to live that life so that others could see they had something that was wonderful and for which was worthy of abandoning all else.
Ultimately, I suppose, one could say that they failed in their mission, since we don't know about this god today, and the life that you can--could have lived. It's sad. I wish I had security in my life like we see they did, and commune as if I was a child of a god and live joyously everyday.
There are modern myths that there are still followers of this god alive even today, but they are secret in their observations, or they don't care about other people enough to tell them about such a life. But I suppose if they didn't tell anyone, and didn't care enough to share with others what they have, then perhaps they are not true followers of this god, and the real ones have long since died away, burying the secret with them.
Well, remember the readings and the test upcoming next week. (pause) Class dismissed.
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