Politics Magazine

Nuts and Bolts

Posted on the 04 December 2023 by Steveawiggins @stawiggins

It all began with an innocent laugh at the local hardware store.  It was Saturday morning, around 8:30 and I had to get some nuts and bolts.  Literally.  From those neat little trays that separate out individual pieces that may be the last place on the planet you can spend just a dime.  These local stores have an honor system with little bags on which you write down how many of which piece you took and the price.  Also a dying breed, these bags are made of paper.  One other guy was there doing something similar and when I picked up my bag, another clung to it and slipped to the floor.  He laughed.  Then apologized.  He explained that he seldom made it through the day without some aspect of Murphy’s Law taking place.  I let him know I didn’t take his laugh wrongly and that I knew Murphy’s Law, perhaps too well.

He then told me that he thought he’d write a book about it.  A novel, he said, like the book of Job.  My ears perked up.  Only this time, he suggested, God had to treat Job so that only bad things happened and used Murphy’s Law so that they would turn out good.  Every good thing God wanted to do would have to appear evil at first.  I encouraged this stranger to write this book.  I meanwhile couldn’t believe that I was having a conversation about Job with someone I didn’t know in a town where I’m still a bit of a newbie.  Do I have “former Bible professor” written on my forehead?  Even when I’m wearing a mask they seem to be able to tell.

Nuts and Bolts
Job, according to William Blake

But seriously, although I don’t get out much any more throughout my life I’ve had strangers approach me with religious issues for conversation.  Often at the strangest times.  I wonder if this happens to other people.  You can’t assume someone will know the book of Job, or what it’s about.  You can’t know that a stranger won’t take such a story idea the wrong way.  Me, I was counting out nuts and bolts.  Perhaps I was there to build my own Frankenstein’s monster.  Or some evil device to end the world.  Would Job calm me down or rile me up?  As it was, I was glad for the diversion.  8:30 on a Saturday morning is well into the day for me, having been awake for over five hours already.  And I’m glad to have an innocent laugh from a stranger.

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