Columns - 2015

    The Ten Amendments

    In the beginning, the Big G created heaven and earth. It went downhill from there.

    Since that fateful evening and morning, history has been replete with historic events. Some of them good, some of them bad -- which ones were which depends on who you ask, and when.

    Commandments were issued, and summarily broken. Miracles were wrought, and other prayers went for naught. The Mets won the World Series, and Barry M*nilow released his first album.

    Some asked why bad things happen to good people, and why good things happen to bad people. Why bad people happen to good things, and why good people happen to do bad things. Some asked, others took advantage.

    But now, after countable millennia, an update has been discovered. A mysterious parchment was found hermetically sealed in a mayonnaise jar in the back of a dining hall freezer since midnight some night. No one, but no one, knew the contents of this parchment... until now.

    1. I am still the Lord, Big G, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Yet that little episode was apparently not clear enough unto you, so let Me spell it out: Slavery = bad.

    2. You shall have no other gods before me. After all, I was here first. But if someone else has other gods before Me, let them. You don't want to mess with what they believe in any more than you want them messing with what you believe in.

    3. You shall not take the name of the Lord, Big G, in vain. Neither should you be so vain that I bet you think this commandment's about you.

    4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord, Big G, who tried to give you an out here -- if you wouldn't give yourself a day off, do it for Me. But that did not work for some of you, so just take off the seventh day: For me, for you, for your spouse... whoever. Stop burning yourself out -- that bush was not consumed, but you will be. I made the world in six days, and rested on the seventh -- not because the world was done, but because I was pretty tuckered out. Learn from that.

    5. Honor your father and mother, so that your days may be long in the land that I give you. Or, honor your father and mother because if you don't they will make your days seem very long. Or they might end your days prematurely, and make another one that looks just like you.

    6. Thou shalt not murder, whether it be another person or living creature, the score of a good show, or simply killing a good weekend.

    7. Thou shalt not commit adultery. But act like adults, otherwise. It does not give you license to act like children.

    8. Thou shalt not steal, neither a physical object nor the hearts or minds that cleave to others. For it is just not nice.

    9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor. Or your neighbor's neighbor. Or your neighbor's neighbor's neighbor. And so on. Specific enough now? It's difficult enough to keep track of the truth, why introduce more to remember?

    10. Do not covet your neighbor's house, wife, servant, animals, or anything that is your neighbor's. Telling someone they cannot want something typically makes them want it all the more. Therefore, if you like your neighbor's new living room furniture, you can ask where he got it. If you like your neighbor's wife, you can ask if she has a sister. Otherwise, you can look but don't touch. Even your neighbor's love for Me, the Big G, you should not covet -- but you are free to emulate and surpass it all the days of your life. I just sayeth.

    Doug Brook is a writer in Silicon Valley who has been a bad thing happening to both good people who read this column, since 1996. For past columns, other writings, and more, visit For exclusive online content, follow

    Copyright Doug Brook. All rights reserved.