Death Valley

He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. (Ezekiel 37:2)

Dead is pretty much dead most of the time. There are exceptions. I had a second grade teacher whom I suspected was among the dead, but I was never able to prove it one way or another. And then there was this girl I took out once. I don’t remember why I did, but I do remember a very long, silent evening watching her stare somewhere in the middle distance. The point is that dead people aren’t all that fun to hang around with. I’m guessing even morticians do it mostly for the money. Then, again, I wouldn’t know that for sure.

So when Ezekiel is looking at that valley jam-packed with femurs, tibias, and clavicles, I’m thinking he’s wishing that he hadn’t done those magic mushrooms. Talk about your bad trip, man. I mean, Zeke’s had his share of psychedelic weirdness before, but this little vision of his is definitely on the creepy side.

Back when I was in high school I went to Haiti. This was before they got lucky with a natural disaster. Up till then their disasters were mostly man-made. Haiti is the voodoo capital of the world, but that didn’t bother me since I was looking for hash pipes (which I did find). I also came across this really nifty carved wood head. It was sort of voodooey looking and cheap, so I bought it as a souvenir to look at when I wasn’t using my new pipes. Anyway, I set the head up in on my dresser at the foot of my bed where it stayed for years.

A few years later I ended up getting myself saved, which is a pretty interesting story in itself to tell which I’m not because of ODF’s leading of the Spirit rule (see M.O.). Anyway, I got saved and that pretty much put an end to the hash pipe thing, which is a shame; they were really cool pipes. But back then I figured getting saved meant a change of lifestyle. It was only much later that I learned that this was totally optional, but by then I’d already trashed the pipes so it was too late.

Well, one night shortly after getting saved I was sleeping—well, I think I was sleeping, but that’s up for grabs as you will see. At any rate, I was in bed and I became aware that the wood head’s mouth was moving like it was talking at me. I couldn’t hear anything, but I knew that this was probably not a good thing. (Even if I had still be an unsaved sucker going to hell I mostly likely would have assumed that a talking voodoo head was not a good thing to have on your dresser.) So I got up from my bed and stood in front of the head. Then, in as much machismo as I could muster I said “In the name of Jesus.” I don’t recall if I said anything else to go with that, like “In the name of Jesus do this or that,” but I was brand new at the God game and probably just shot from the hip.

As soon as I said that, the head answered audibly. With a sneer it parroted back at me, “In the name of Jesus.” That freaked me out so I said “In the name of Jesus” to the head again. It sneered and once again spit those words right back at me. When it happened the third time, I did the only thing I could think of: I went back to bed. The next morning I put that head in a brown paper sack, drove to town, and threw it in a dumpster. With only a couple of exceptions, I’ve never had a conversation with a wood head since.

So there’s Ezekiel looking at this valley filled with bones. (Bones/voodoo head: same difference.) He’s not enjoying himself much, and God tells him to talk to the bones. (Bones/voodoo head: same difference.) Ezekiel does and the bones turn into an army—not end up in a dumpster, which pretty much ends the similarity.

That’s about it.

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One Response

  1. When I was in about grade 3 or so I recall one night reading a Robinson Crusoe book in bed with the light on when I should have been sleeping. As I turned the page, a very audible “meow” (like a cat) came from the book. It scared the socks right off me (though I wasn’t wearing any at the time.) I proceeded to throw the book across the room and pull the covers over my head. There was no “in Jesus Name” in the works, but it did keep me under the sheets all night long….

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