Friday, January 9, 2009

...and don't let the tent flap hit you on the way out

I assume most of you have figured out I'm a Mormon, and I teach two religion classes each week: Gospel Doctrine (on Sundays) and Institute, which is a college-level class which students can take for credit (on Thursdays).

Now, you should know, I absolutely LOVE the scriptures. I'm the woman who sucks all the fun out of the room in those "Getting to Know You" games by sanctimoniously declaring that, unlike you sissy "Pride and Prejudice" fans, my favorite book is Isaiah. One of these days those fed up Jane Austen lovers are going to take a chapter out of Acts and stone me.

Anyway, last year I taught Old Testament in Institute. And while I was slogging through Leviticus - great stuff, if not a little rules and regs intensive - I came across a verse in chapter 18 that had to do with women and their *ahem* "lady weeks". Specifically, the men were being commanded to stay away from them during, you know, that time.

And I thought, "You know, of all these commandments listed here, I bet that was the easiest one for those Israelite men to keep."

Can't you see them, sitting in their meetings, being instructed by Moses?:

Moses: "OK, now that we have the 10 big ones out of the way, the next agenda item is food."

Israelites: "Watch, he's going to take away our Big Macs."

Moses: "Manna. That's it."

Israelites: "D'oh!"

Moses: "Next, we've got stick collecting. Don't do it on the Sabbath. I mean it."

That one guy who always has to pipe up in meetings: "What'll happen if we, like, forget?"

Moses: "I can't emphasize enough the importance of not forgetting."

TOGWAHTPUIM: "Yeah, but..."

Moses: "Seriously. Shut up."

TOGWAHTPUIM: "I just..."

The Israelite sitting next to TOGWAHTPUIM: "Dude, if you forget, God will do to you what I'm gonna do to you if you raise your hand one more time..."

Moses: "OK, next item: Women."

Israelite men (waking up): "That's more like it."

Moses: "When your wives are, you know, having that, you know, that week..."

TOGWAHTPUIM: "Wh--? Ow! Geez, dude, that hurt!"

Moses: "...the Lord wants you to pretty much leave them alone."

(long, thoughtful pause)

Israelites: "That's it?"

Moses: "Yep. Don't touch 'em."

(further pondering, the occasional furtive glance, one or two 'beats me' shrugs)

Tentative Israelite Spokesman: "Ahem. To clarify. The commandment says 'Thou Shalt Not Touch The Shrieking Hormonally Insane Prickly Pear That Possesses Thy Otherwise Lovely And Perfectly Reasonable Spouse One Week A Month'?"

Moses: "Words to that effect, yes."

(understanding slowly dawns)

Israelites: "Well, gosh, that one's EASY!! We were kinda worried about this whole Law of Moses deal, and we gotta admit we're still a little perplexed as to why we would ever covet our neighbor's ass when we know for a fact gyms won't even be invented for another 1500 years. But, heck, we were BORN to keep that last one!"

(fist bumps all around)

So, as I was pondering upon this scene, I began to consider what it must have been like to live in those conditions for forty years.

Remembering that for that week, women were considered unclean (read "scary and kinda mean") and were therefore sent outside the main camp to simmer down and write their apology notes, I started running a few numbers. And let me tell you, the math is downright terrifying:

Assuming there were a million Israelites (and I think that's a low estimate), and assuming that exactly half of them were women, that's 500,000 women, total.

Now, to keep things simple, assume that half of them were either too old, too young, or too pregnant to have 'one of those weeks.'

That leaves 250,000 women eligible for, well, you know.

Now, divide that number by four weeks of the month, and on any given week you would have (are you ready for this?)  SIXTY-TWO THOUSAND, FIVE HUNDRED WOMEN ripping their tents apart looking for chocolate and threatening to burn the next pair of socks they found in the middle of the floor when there is a perfectly good hamper right there in plain sight although of course everyone else in this family is freakin' blind and DO YOU ALL HAVE TO BREATHE SO DAMN LOUD??!!

Now, take it a step further, and consider that this also meant that there were 62,500 women PMS-ing, and another 62,500 ovulating, and......well, let's just say these were dark, frightening times in which to live. A war with the Philistines was a walk in the park by comparison, as it gave the men a chance to get out of the house for a few days.

They're saying, "Did your wife send you out for feminine products, too?"

It could be argued that the wisest thing Moses ever did was send these ladies to "Girls' Camp."

In my home, there are three females of hormonal eligibility. Which means the three men in the family have been under siege for years. How nice would it be, these days, to be able to announce to that 14 year-old currently shredding her little brother for walking into the room while she was trying to nap, that it was time to start packing for camp?

"Leave early," you could suggest. "Pick up Shelby on the way. Her mom says she's been bawling since Wednesday."

Yes, there are a lot of inspiring things we can learn from the scriptures. I'd love to share more of them with you, but from the sounds of overturned furniture coming out of my daughter's room, it looks like I need to find a suitcase.

Wonder if the Philistines are in town...


texdona said...

Hmmmmm, you have found a way to find comedy in the Old Testament. This is not only new, but way, way overdue.
One move I have always wondered about, did Moses say, "Ta dah!" After he parted the Red Sea? If not it was a move neglected.
Much love,

Amber said...

K, I know most of my comments start out with "Oh my gosh that is so dang funny!" but...OH MY GOSH THAT IS SO DANG FUNNY!!!

I think we also need to factor in the females that haven't started their, um, time yet. For example, my 7 year old is and has been female since DAY ONE!!! The girl has a cycle, I tell you what.

Btw, you know you could also choose Twilight as your favorite book, right? You don't have to have just one.

DeNae said...

That's enough sass out of you, little sister.

Hel said...

Very Funny - I guess I missed out on humour in institute.

I think if I had been an Israelite woman wandering the wilderness, I would be crying for the entire "week" about my tent flap. I wouldn't be able to tell you what exactly it is about my tent flap that is making me cry, but I KNOW it is the tent flap.

Dawnie said...

I tell ya, one of the greatest stories ever told!

Elise Noorda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mormonmommyblogs said...

Very funny!

brudcrew said...

Well Denae, I will never read Leviticus the same again, because you know I read Leviticus all the time! I did find a flaw in your math though. After living with roommates in college I learned that after a bunch of women live together for a certain period of time (no pun intended) they all begin to cycle at the same time. I know freaky and scary! In other words, after a few months, the majority of those 500,000 women would be on the same week! What an emotional holocaust that would be!
On an even more personal note (as if this could get more personal): I would not be crying about the tent flap, I'm sure it would be one of the poles! And I thought the socks in the middle of the floor obsession was a little knobby protrusion on my Huntington DNA that I got from my mother. Interesting to know that I'm not the only one!

T.J., Lindsay, Drew, and Cameron Stevens said...

I just laughed so hard that a little pee came out!! That is the funniest thing EVER!!

Sprite's Keeper said...

Think back to the parting of the Red Sea. Who REALLY parted it? Moses and God or the women who were tired of waiting for the men and decided to do it themselves? (I know, I know, I need to get myself to a synagogue and do some remedial reading on the Torah..) :-) Loved your take!

wendy said...

That was Great --I love to put some "reality" to the scriptures, you know, apply to OUR time period (tee, hee, get it) and just as a matter of fyi -- I was an early morning seminary teacher in 1980 in British Columbia, Canad --DO YOU HEAR --EARLY MORNING, and had a new born baby to boot. I certainly hope there are some celestial rewards for that one. Anyway, what about the menopause years---you thinks pms is scarry -HELL HATH NO FURRY LIKE HOT FLASHES AND HORMONE DISFUNCTION. Just thought I would pass that one along.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

hilarious. My husband is always quoting a similar story where the Lord told the men to not "go after their women" when they were preparing for battle or something like that because they needed the power of the spirit which would supposedly be wiped out with all their carnality. Come to think of it, maybe he's quoting the same story, and interpreted the women's week of "issue" to be synonymous to battle. Ha.

Lisa Loo said...

Maybe I wouldn't have had to wander in outer darkness for so long if you had been my institute teacher--dang--I won't be able to think of the ten commandments OR Moses for awhile without laughing!

I found you from Motherboard's recommendations--glad I found you!

Lara said...

Oh thank you so much for the wonderful belly laugh today! I am one of those women who suffer from severe emotional upset during that week (and the one before) and I read this to my husband and I daresay he thought it was funnier than I did!

The Farmer's Wife said...

You are hilarous!! But I am guessing that you already know that;) I wish I was in your institute class, I bet it is some good fun! Thanks for stopping by my are right...unconventional is a great word for our life...but it is alot of fun! please come back soon..and I will do the same!

Sher said...

Hey thanks for coming over to visit my music. Sorry, there's not much to see there yet. It's a work in progress. I'm signed in through my other blog right now. You're welcome to come over and visit there, too!
"see" you soon!

Debi (Dubs2007) said...

DeNae - You are so funny, You commented on "diapers and divinity" blog and I read your response to her conversation with her brother.

Anyway - loved it. The whole library/circulation analogy was hilarious, and then talking about leaving it all to the cat! I needed a good laugh tonight, thankyou for sharing of yourself!


Debi (Dubs2007) said...

Oh my gosh!! I have 4 daughters and no sons (yet). I had a different take on it, I was thinking how kind it was that they got the break, but your humor was definately more fun. 2 laughs from you in one day.. If it wasn't midnight I'd go back and start reading more of your blog...I guess I'll have to save that for tomorrow...


The B's said...

That was so funny - I called my daughter and read it to her - who called me earlier this week because she had been crying all day long and couldn't stop - yet she is a very happy newlywed! Great blog!

Kim (Davis) Loudon said...

Too funny! Thanks for the laugh!

seashmore said...

Came here from the SITS link because oddly enough, I was thinking about this the other day. And we talked about the woman with the "blood disorder" who washed Jesus' feet with her tears and hair in GD.

Found it absolutely hilarious!

Lanita said...

I've often said to my husband, and the father of two daughters...he is pretty much screwed. One daughter getting ready to jump into the puberty pool, and the wife on the other side getting ready to crawl out. He should either start camping out, or buy a hormonal boogie board and learn to surf.

Elena said...

I LOVE that you were able to find humor in the Old Testament. I'm going to reread Isaiah now.

antoinette marie said...

totally priceless....i'm a Christian myself and adore people who can find such humor in the mighty scriptures! you're a real gem in the crown of the kingdom!