Columns - 2007

    A Senior Moment

    Through means defying explanation or credibility, this columnist presents to you, his three loyal readers, an exclusive interview with the first forefather, the principal patriarch, the first in our line of patrilineal descent, Abraham.

    Abraham, in this your 174th year, do you have any regrets?

    I regret that I have but one life to give for the nation I had to start because I didn't have a nation to give my life for.

    Can you once and for all explain what happened with you destroying your father's idols?

    I don't know where these stories get started. It's completely unsubstantiated, there's no official record of it. I'm sure the story will just die down over time and be forgotten.

    Did you really know what to expect when the Big G told you that your children would be as numerous as the stars in the sky?

    I did. It was a cloudy night and I could see only two stars. Two sons. Sarah and I thought about having another child but figured because of that promise we should stop after Isaac.

    On that subject, wasn't it a little late in life when you started to have children?

    Did it ever occur to you that nobody had invented little blue pills yet because nobody needed them yet?

    What were the most unusual aspects of your relationship with The Big G?

    The little things meant a lot. When Sarah and I changed our names after marriage we didn't have to file any paperwork, He took care of everything. Instead of having to deal with birth announcements, He sent three angels a year in advance to inform us that we were going to have Isaac.

    Was Lot ever the same after his wife was turned into a pillar of salt?

    He was always a good man, but no he was never the same again. I'm not sure why, though. The whole incident, with her not following simple instructions, shows that talking to her was like talking to a brick wall. Pillar of salt? Kind of symbolic.

    You were a pretty good negotiator before that happened, weren't you?

    Negotiator? Sure, I got Him down from a hundred good men to fifty, to ten. But it wasn't enough, was it?

    What did you take away from your visit to Egypt?

    Some nice parting gifts. What do you expect? The Pharoah liked my Sarah-la, tried to take her away, the Big G got on his case, and he let us all go in peace. It was nice enough otherwise, but I don't know how well it would go if my family visited again any time soon.

    What do you think will be the most significant part of your legacy as the founder of a nation, great and populous?

    I'd like to think just being the start of the Jewish people, but sometimes I wonder if I'll be remembered more for establishing the first Jewish cemetery.

    Did you really think that the Big G would make you sacrifice your son to Him?

    I play that moment over and over in my head so often. It's hard to remember what I really thought at the time. Of course, I was going to do it if I had to. Greater risk, greater reward. The more you put in, the more you get out. All that. But really it wasn't even about what I would get in return, it was about what I was supposed to do. Period.

    That said, I was hoping for a little divine intervention. If I was really going to have this great nation of offspring, who was going to have those kids? After all, I was about 115 then. If it wasn't going to be Isaac... I was getting a little old to have another kid and still be able to toss a football with him.

    Bottom line: Don't play poker with the Big G. If you didn't learn it from the end of Oh God, You Devil, trust me now.

    And from that episode we got one of the first musical instruments.

    That's right. Unfortunately it started an unfortunate naming trend. How often does someone ask for a shofar and someone brings around a car with a driver? Then you have the lute, which sounds like you're stealing something. And the lyre makes it sound like you're spreading a negative sound rather than a musical one.

    You recently sent one of your servants away to find your son a wife. Do you think that's a good method?

    It worked. Knock me if you like. Yea, I had a son with a maid-servant before my wife. But do you want to compare divorce rates?

    If I were to tell you that one of your grandsons will have thirteen children, what advice would you like passed down to him?

    Thirteen children? I hope they're not mostly sons, and that he's real nice to his wife. Don't play favorites, whichever one it is will be very outnumbered so one day when you're not looking... But what can I say? Thirteen children? I've got two and they don't exactly sit down to dinner every night. Or year.

    You have two sons who haven't exactly been close through their lives. What do you hope for them?

    I hope they'll at least come together for my funeral. Maybe work things out. But I take heart in knowing there's no way, no chance whatsoever that any of their issues could possibly be carried forward into future generations.

    Doug Brook is a senior manager in Silicon Valley who would never attempt to manage a senior. For more information, past columns, other writings, and more, visit his website at

    Copyright Doug Brook. All rights reserved.