Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter

On the whole, guinea pigs as a species are not particularly religious. In fact we have some difficulty understanding the whole religion thing. We just can't understand why humans need to rely on a supernatural being to tell them how to behave, and even then they pick and choose which of their chosen supernatural being's instructions they choose to obey.  Having said all that though, we piggies do enjoy Easter, which as I understand it stands for Every Animal Should Try Eating Ravenously.  In the human world Easter celebrates the first ever long weekend, generously granted by the Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce in a fit of guilt after they'd crucified Jesus for taking industrial action in the markets that they'd set up in and around the temple.  Jesus (the world's first union leader), had been seriously getting up the Chamber of Commerce's goat for a while. In fact ever since he suggested that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven, he had been in the their cross-hairs. The feeding of the five thousand didn't help either. Giving away all that food cost the local McDonald's franchise an absolute fortune in daily takings. The locals were all too busy stuffing their faces with free loaves and fishes to want to cough up shekels for a Supersized McSabbath Meal.

So, in the end the authorities didn't need much of an excuse to rid themselves of this troublesome unionist. The last thing the Chamber of Commerce needed was some long haired hippy running all over the place convincing the great unwashed masses that they were every bit as good and worthy as rich people. So, with the help of the Romans the Chamber of Commerce set him up by bribing his friend poor old Judas to betray him, and the rest is history.

My male staff when he was younger and even more stupid studied Biblical Archaeology, not necessarily because he wanted to be some sort of ugly Indiana Jones, but because he rather fancied a red haired Welsh girl called Tracey whom he'd met on a trip to Israel and was rather hoping to join her at University as a mature student. Not that he was particularly mature, quite the opposite actually. Anyway having gained the necessary entry qualifications Mrs Thatcher decided that she did not have enough money to give him a grant, so he dropped out even before he started. However, he did learn one or two the tricks of Roman crucifixion at the time of Christ. For example, it was unusual for the cross to be a cross at all. Usually it was just shaped like a capital T. It was also unusual for the victims to be nailed to it. Most often they they were just tied to it with leather thongs, their feet supported by a small shelf.

Mostly the poor sods died within three or four days from thirst, or exposure or both, but those who survived beyond the patience of the guards had their shins smashed with clubs. As you can imagine, this didn't exactly improve their overall well-being and death followed fairly rapidly due to shock or heart failure as their blood rushed down to the sight of the injury. Nails, when they were used were not driven through the palms of the hand because the weight of the body would have ripped them out. Instead they were driven between the bone of the wrist, taking care that no major blood vessels were damaged. The Romans didn't want their victims to die without at least a couple of days of suffering. The feet were twisted to one side, placed together and then had a long nail hammered through both heels between the ankle the Achilles tendon, though they still very considerately supplied the little shelf for them to stand on. Thank heavens for the Romans. Imagine where human kind would be now without their civilising influence.

There are two sites considered as the sight of Jesus' tomb. Apparently the most likely of the two is  at the sight of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre - a dark, dank, candle lit place deep inside the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem, tucked away amongst the labyrinthine alleyways where my male staff's Welsh redhead had her bum groped by a snot nosed little Arab brat of about twelve. My male staff grabbed the kid's arm and twisted it, while snarling at him. Not so much in outrage but in fear that the Welsh chick might think it was him fondling her bum while they queued to enter Christianity's most holy site.The Bible has it that Jesus was crucified and buried outside of Jerusalem's city walls. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is well within the present city walls, but two thousand years ago it was not, and who knows, it may be the place where the world's first union leader was interred before he changed his mind about the whole death thing..

My male staff prefers the other location though - The Garden Tomb, for one thing it is located just above the Arab bus station, which at the time of Christ would have been very convenient for the locals who wanted to come and jeer and throw bush chocolate at the poor devils on their crosses. The Bible tells us that Jesus was crucified on a hill, outside the city walls at a place called Golgotha - which means "The Place of the Skull." The Garden Tomb has many examples of the type of tomb used two thousand years ago. A hollow carved into the rock containing a stone sarcophagus, closed off with a huge slab of rock.

The Garden Tomb is also called Gordon's Calvary. Remember General Gordon? The Victorian hero of the siege of Khartoum and serial God-botherer. Well he was having his evening stroll along the top of Jerusalem's city wall with some of his aides when he suddenly stopped dead, causing all his aides to run into each other with cries of "I say old chap! Watch where you're jolly well going. That waxed moustache of yours could have had my eye out." But all the aides stopped and stared at General Gordon as he exclaimed "Bugger me!" Normally his strongest language consisted of "By Jiminy!" or "Good Gracious."

What had General Gordon seen?  This.
Just as the number 14 bus to Bethlehem was pulling out, he had discovered Golgotha - The Place of the Skull, or so he thought, and my male staff would have agreed with him. The Garden Tomb is a peaceful, picturesque spot compared to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The gardens are well tended and it has a serene atmosphere which appears to quell the roar of diesel engines and acrid exhaust fumes. The experts say that it is not likely to be the true burial site of Jesus Christ, but one is less likely to get one's bum fondled there.

So humans. Please tell me. What is Easter really all about these days? It seems that the Chamber of Commerce has got their own way in the end, setting up their markets stalls in the proverbial temple of Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. Like most Christian festivals Easter has become commercialised and even pagan-ised. I get the whole egg thing at Easter. New life after death, the Resurrection and all that, even if the connection is a little tenuous. But rabbits? What have rabbits got to do with anything? I can see that they might be a pagan symbol of fertility. Let's face it the cute little devils like a bit of "How's Your Father" as much, if not more than the rest of us, but what have they got to do with the death and Resurrection of Jesus? As far as a know they were not even present at his birth. There were cattle, sheep and even an ass, but no bunnies - no three wise rabbits. In fact rabbits played no part in his life at all as far as I can see. Mind you. There is a huge gap in the Bible from when Jesus was about three until he was around thirty years of age. Maybe he was running a rabbit hatchery or whatever they call them, or a pet shop that specialised in rabbits. Who knows? What I do know however is that my male staff says that the next time he sees a chocolate rabbit on a supermarket shelf before the last of the twelve days of Christmas is up he's going to ram that bunny so far up the supermarket manager's bottom passage that he'll be able to taste whether is is made of milk or dark chocolate.

Well, I can add nothing useful to this except perhaps............Wheeeeeeeeeeeek!

1 comment:

  1. I know it wasn't the point of the post, but Badger is looking especially handsome in his footnote photo.

    I think he is becoming quite the model.