The Stripper

naked

The Lord told Isaiah son of Amoz, “Take off the burlap you have been wearing, and remove your sandals.” Isaiah did as he was told and walked around naked and barefoot. (Isaiah 20:2)

So God is wondering how to make a point. He thinks to himself, “Hey, how about if I have my guy Isaiah walk around buck naked?” God tells Isaiah to strip to the buff. Isaiah does so and parades his privates around the town in the name of the Lord. God likes the idea so well that he has Isaiah do the skin tango for three full years. After three years God finally tells everybody that this is a sign against Cush and Egypt. Everybody goes “Oh.” God then tells Isaiah that the gig is over. So Isaiah puts back on his duds and heads to his favorite bar where the sign says “No Shoes. No Shirt. No Service.” Isaiah hitches up his burlap, strides through the door, and orders up a tall one. He sets up a tab. Isaiah plans on being here for a while.

Inside, Isaiah hunches over his cup. When you’re a prophet you expect stuff like this. Every once in a while your Boss comes up with a doozy. You shrug and do what he tells you. Arguing only makes things worse. He’s going to do what he’s going to do. Besides, it’s a steady job. Still, your buddies got a little weirded out this time. Three years without a stitch of clothes can put a crimp in your social life. Nobody invites you to dinner. Nobody looks you in the eye either (they don’t know where to look). Curious dogs really make things awkward. After a while you stay home, coming out only for your regularly scheduled harangues. The jokes—they’re the hardest. At first you smile gamely, but soon it wears pretty thin. So you ignore everybody, even the nice folks.

Isaiah takes another swig from his cup and contemplates ordering another. Instead he pays his tab with a few coins and heads into the late evening. He walks slowly toward his small, shabby place. It’s not far; nothing is far in this town. The dark streets are empty. The burlap of his ropes chafes him. He’s not used to it anymore. He stops for a moment and considers. He’s alone. Nobody would see. One last hurrah?

He sighs. He will award himself at least a private dignity. He moves on, scratching himself all the way home.

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