On the wall of my children’s bedroom hangs a framed picture of Noah’s Ark, floating on dark blue water, elephants and giraffes poking their heads out over the deck, dolphins curving below. I had picked it up for free from a poster shop for some promotion or something several years ago. The children paid as much attention to it as they would have a paint stain on the wall. Yesterday, in a futile and desperate attempt to amuse the Golden Boy with something other than Minecraft, I pointed to the picture and asked “Do you know what that is?”. He didn’t. The lack of any form of religious education on the children’s curriculum never fails to astound and delight me, child of a rabid theocracy.
-It’s Noah’s Ark. You’ve never heard of the story? You don’t know what Noah’s ark is?
No, he didn’t know, and he didn’t want to know- used to the violent and bloodthirsty happenings of my beloved childhood stories such as the Sugar-Cube Goat, he was deeply suspicious of my stories. But I had to tell him.
-So Ark is another name for a ship, and god told Noah to build it and save himself and two of every animal, and whoever listened to him, because god was gonna send a big flood to kill everybody…
the Golden Boy started shrieking, “That’s a horrible story! Don’t tell me this story! This is awful!” and began leaving the bed. I laughed.
But my question is, oh Wise Gentle Reader, why didn’t I scream “This is horrible- stop telling me this awful story” when I was told it, as part of my religious studies so many years ago? Why did I just accept this assault on my sensibilities? Couldn’t I see this was an unacceptable, horrible story, and I should be stopped from being told it? How was this twisted into some high story of courage, hope and survival and fed into my brain? What changed, between my generation and his?