BOSTON (CBS) - The last time we sat down for an interview, best-selling author Harlan Coben reminded me about one of his favorite expressions. “Man makes plans and God laughs.” It’s an old Jewish expression once you’ve got to love. It has stood the test of time as a reminder of just how unfailingly human we are. And with a winter that has been one of the roughest on record (when “snow on the roof” now purely means ridiculous drifts on actual roofs as opposed to developing gray hairs) one would think that this well-worn expression concerning God’s will and fortitude is unchallengeable. Think again.
I was perusing a local magazine the other day, quickly becoming bored by articles on state government corruption and where to find one of many adequate steak houses, when my eyes settled on a small quarter page ad. It featured six individual profiles with before and after shots, pictures taken from the collar to the brow of men and women of various ages. The headline read, “Necks by Feldman.” That was it for the ad copy, save a web site and phone number. Necks by Feldman? Hmmm. Here we have a brilliant doctor who specializes in changing the shape, consistency and overall appearance of the human neck. A nip and tuck guy (all the rage these days) board certified and highly competent to be sure. But the headline appeared a bit presumptuous. Necks by Feldman? Last time I checked, humanoids on this planet, as well as all other species (giraffes come quickly to mind) arrived here in tact with appropriate necks provided by an elegant force of creation not to be confused with a plastic surgeon named Feldman. It’s intriguing that Feldman and thousands of world wide colleagues are seemingly stretching the limits of creation with what should be referred to as revised chins, bosoms, buttocks, noses, hairlines, lips, bellies, eye lids and more. All fine. But shouldn’t we consider that the original manufacturer of humanity and everything else for that matter deserves ultimate credit and he may not be a dude we’d want to tick off? Not that people don’t try their best to irritate him daily.
While I’m standing up for the licensing rights of the Almighty, here’s another thought. Could it be that the Grand Designer is getting fed up with his creations attributing all of the bad stuff that happens in the world as “acts of God?” Isn’t everything, if you believe as I do in the immense impact of the Creator, an act of Him? From mosquitoes, moths, mumps and moles to water, wind, and most certainly wrinkles, God has unquestionable patent rights. Yes, we can agree that the Ruler of the Universe had a hand in making it snow a lot recently. And thus it was so that roofs caved in and ice dams (damn those ice dams) formed throughout the land. But is it God’s fault that we build our shabby condos and flat roofed office buildings in this rugged snow belt? Isn’t that why he created Miami? God would be highly justified in reminding us that these “acts” are part of his grand plan and have been in place for a long time. Like since time began. Lots of trees fall in the woods every day with no one under them to hear the sound or complain. Harlan, you are so right. It IS when man plans and revises those plans thinking they can outwit him that God begins to chuckle. I say get used to it fellow truth seekers and learn to live by just two rules – The Golden One, which based on track record is really one heck of a rule, and the one that says, “ beware what befalls thee when thee messes too much with Mother Nature.”
From the Book of Joan Rivers, chapter 3, verse 12.