Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I had been daydreaming through the service, when I heard the preacher quote John the Baptist: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the Wrath of Khan!” My estimation of John the Baptist rose immediately. Sure, he was a prophet with anger issues, but if he could foretell Kirk and Spock, not to mention the Eugenics Wars of the late 20th century, we should cut him some slack (more generous than Herod, who cut off his head). The Star Trek universe is fiction, but just you try distinguishing factual and fictional temporal vibrations from two thousand years in the future. Heck, PhDs in climatology can’t even tell fact from fiction from 40 years in the past; maybe working with mercury thermometers damaged their brains.

Just to verify what I had heard, I turned to the third chapter of Luke. John warned about the “wrath to come”, not the depredations of a genetically engineered superman named Khan Noonien Singh, who by the way aged into a graceful host on an island where dreams came true. (Ricardo Montalban died earlier this year and I like to imagine is looking down on us from his comfortable perch made of Corinthian leather.) The secret prophecies of John the Baptist would’ve been a great premise for Dan Brown’s next novel.

The preacher gave an old-fashioned stemwinder [19th century term derived from the superiority of the stem-wound over the key-wound watch, “battery powered quartz-er” doesn’t have the same ring] about how the masks we wear conceal our true selves. An old theme, no worse for the retelling in the 99-year-old church where we were wed over 30 years ago. © 2009 Stephen Yuen

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