Monday, October 13, 2008

To answer a question from a cruel "boss"

I was desperate for work and a paycheck, since I was trying to keep my home. And so I interviewed with a man who ran a small software company in the health services industry. He was arrogant and a real putz. He was Jewish and spent all day on the computer looking up Holocaust information so that he could continue to seethe about it, even though he was a young, well off man and one who had a company who depended on him for guidance. He exuded a miasma of hate about what had happened in Germany, and it hung around him like a hateful and angry cloud.

When I first went to his office for my job interview, he asked strange questions. One was "What is your favorite book?" I was totally silent in that matter, somewhat surprised, and I answered honestly that I do not have "a favorite book."

Needless to say he sneered about that and thought all sorts of bad things about me. I got the job but was tortured throughout for several weeks, until being fired, despite my being as humble as possible (I had even dumbed down my resume as much as possible without lying).

He's one of the few people I've encountered that I have spared a few thoughts of wishing that not very nice things would befall him. I saw how the hardworking people in that company were abused, and the customers delayed in receiving their product, all so he could sit in the office and drudge through the Internet, looking for Holocaust information that would maintain his seething and his anger. It apparently was a "family" interest, as a relative of his wrote a book that had much of the same purpose, I guess, from what I read in the book reviews. So he would ignore the business decisions that were needed so that he could sit on this throne and seethe and judge. I could tell he especially enjoyed hurting me, for being a Christian I think, and for other very unwell reasons. God will punish him, no doubt, in his own time.

I wonder what he expected me to answer regarding the "favorite book." Did he expect me to say the Bible? The Bible is not my "favorite book" like some sort of Ellery Queen novel. The Bible is life. It is the Word of God. It is not my "favorite book." Rather, I can attest to the Bible's full authority, as a living witness. And so I could not demean the Bible by calling it my "favorite book."

And if not the Bible then what? Is a favorite book not one that you turn to for constant comfort and enjoyment, one that helps in the search for answers? But again, I do not have a favorite book. At the time I owned thousands of books and enjoyed them all! I consider a book a "good read" if I get even one thing out of it, a beautiful or moving scene, great dialogue, interesting plot, useful information and best of all, ideas for creativity. Having to choose "one book" for me is impossible, as it is for a mom to pick one child over the other. Even more so, being asked what is my favorite book is like if a mom was asked "which of your children mothers you the best?" It is backwards and makes no sense. Isn't a first aid manual your favorite book if you need it during a medical emergency? When you are hungry don't you enjoy your cook book? And sure, Lord of the Rings was reliable escapism reading, and could be turned to frequently when in that mood. But what is a "favorite book?" A crutch? Who needs a crutch, and who needs a "sound byte" interview answer?

And so, mister Holocaust obsessed man, my favorite book is the book of humans being humans, living in God's created world. And who can do better than that? Let me remind you that the holiest humans lived before the printing press was even invented, when no one even owned a scroll of their own, say nothing of a "selection." People were better before they had "shortcuts" to being told how to behave and what to think. People really need nothing more than to live "within" the Word of God, whether Torah/Talmud, Bible or Qur'an.