It’s only been three weeks since the last update, so at least I’m starting to pick up speed again. One of the upsides to the lengthy pauses between episodes is that Isaac’s backstory is beginning to feel like a biblical epic. If I was still on my twice weekly schedule, this story arc would have run about three weeks – instead of its current six months. Here’s a link to the beginning if you need to catch up.
In working on this strip, I’ve discovered that if I’d had any interest in creating a bible-based comic strip, my main source has enough funny/crazy stuff to have kept me in business for the rest of my life. As it is, I’ve only been tapping into about five chapters in the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament.
Once I’m done with Isaac’s backstory, we’ll be heading back to non-biblical Lake Whimsy.
So, what’s this reference to circumcision about?
In Chapter 17 of Genesis, Abraham is ninety-nine years old and God appears to him and creates a covenant in which he promises to make Abraham the father to “a multitude of nations.” In short, there will be a lot of fruitfulness and multiplying starting with a new son, Isaac.
And to uphold his end of the bargain, Abraham simply has to be circumcised.
And everyone in his household has to be circumcised.
Even slaves he purchases from strangers need to be circumcised.
And God never really explains why he thinks this is such a good thing. It’s just this weird, “I will make you rich and famous if you and everyone in your family cuts off the tip of their penis” kind of deal.
So, Abraham rounds everyone up and, for some reason, they all go along with it – even though they’re living in the Golden Age of Bacterial Infection.
And soon after, Abraham’s wife, Sarah, gives birth to Isaac – who (as we’ve seen in Lake Whimsy) God then commands Abraham to sacrifice.
There’s something about this deal that God makes with Abraham that has always reminded me of a Roald Dahl short story, “Man from the South.” In the story, the main character encounters Carlos, the titular “Man from the South,” who broaches an unusual wager – if the main character can strike his lighter ten times without having it fail, he will win a new Cadillac. But if the lighter fails even once, Carlos will cut off the main character’s little finger. Substitute “Cadillac” for “multitude of nations” and “little finger” for “foreskin” – and there you have it. Although, I think Dahl’s short story has a better twist ending.
For what it’s worth, if you ever get tired of reading the Bible (which is only slightly shorter than this blog entry), I’d recommend checking out a collection of Roald Dahl’s short stories. Many people don’t realize it, but he wrote a lot more than “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “James and the Giant Peach.” And trust me, if you only think he wrote books for kids, you don’t want to make the mistake of handing your preteen a copy of his book, “My Uncle Oswald.”