Before I get into today's post, I'd just like to make a quick entertainment comment. Does anyone else get the feeling that everyone in Hollywood thinks that Sean Penn actually is retarded and gives him more credit because they love the story of how the kid with the low IQ has been able to make it big in a city full of people who really think they're smart? I get it, his beady eyes, tendency to foam a little at the mouth even when he's not angry, and the way he sounds vaguely toothless when he speaks are all quite endearing qualities, but he's only a good actor, not great. This isn't a commentary on Milk because I haven't seen it (and I think I may have accidentally offended Courtney with a similar crack in a comment on her blog) and I'll admit that I've enjoyed many of his performances. It's just that I have more respect for an actor who lets me forget they're playing the part. Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, and others do this incredibly well despite being superstars or even annoyingly overexposed. Penn is always Sean Penn as so-and-so. Sometimes that really works, but only because he was already good for the part.
Now, on with the sacrilege.
Have you ever thought about the Biblical story of Adam and Eve? I don't mean thinking of it as you ridicule believers for what they believe or thinking of it as history or a cautionary tale against pride and defiance against God's law. I'm talking about thinking of it as just a story. Doesn't it seem a little weird that the snake seems to get all of the blame here? After all, even if you were used to animals talking to you in the Garden of Eden, wouldn't you think you'd go with what the giant disembodied voice told you over what was told to you by the thing with the really bad case of eczema? After all, at least in Adam's case, they'd seen that voice create life out of close to nothing. Pretty impressive.
Now, we know they were pretty stupid back in that paradise. After all, it wasn't until they ate from the forbidden tree that they realized they were naked. For me, I can figure this out without really applying any significant thought processes to it, but if I did, it'd probably be charted out something like this:
1. Can I see my genitalia when I look down? If yes, go to 5a. If no, go to 2.
2. Is my bulbous abdomen or other body part blocking my view of that region? If yes, go to 3. If no, go to 5b.
3. Do I feel a draft "down there"? If yes, go to 5a. If no, go to 4.
4. Am I having sex or otherwise too distracted in that region to notice any drafts? If yes, go to 5a. If no, go to 5b.
5a. I am naked.
5b. I am not naked.
It's not exactly rocket science or even answering the question of what I want for supper tonight, so obviously these were pretty dimwitted humans. Still, I think they would have been bright enough to know that (dude who creates life) > (snake) in a trustworthiness problem.
To fix the problem of the ambiguity in Adam's and Eve's choice to defy God in this regard, I've developed a theory that solves this problem beautifully. Sunburns.
That's right, I said original sin was caused by a sunburns, although I'm guessing these were a couple of really wicked sunburns. Here's how I came to this conclusion. It's safe to assume that the pair were naked because the story says this pretty explicitly. It's also safe to assume that they were white because every painting I've ever seen of them portrayed them as being pretty pale, not even a swarthy Mediterranean type, but more like someone from the north of France. We also know that pale skin only occurs in peoples with a heritage linking them to countries of the north where there was less solar radiation to deal with and that people with darker skin are less likely to burn in the sun or develop skin cancer. Finally, we know that the Garden of Eden was someplace warm. God wouldn't stick a couple of hairless hominids in Canada, especially when he knew they were too stupid to know they were naked. They'd freeze to death before the end of October. The only places that are warm enough year round to house nudists without shelter are relatively near the equator where solar radiation is much more of a concern.
Therefore, by the time the second sabbath rolled around, these two would have been fried worse than a couple of Irish dudes hitting up the beaches of Florida during a sunblock shortage. Plus they were naked, meaning some of their most sensitive regions were burned and blistered. Adam and Eve weren't working on full human brainpower, but they probably were smart enough to know they needed more smarts to figure out a way to stop the pain, so Eve jumped at the opportunity to raise her IQ a few points even though she knew this would end her tropical vacation a few eons early. I'm also sure Adam wasn't hard to convince to join her. After all, pants would make it possible for him to get into hers without the friction leading to excruciating pain from his sunburned member.
So there's my theory. I think it's obviously the most logical interpretation of this holy story, unless of course Adam and Eve weren't so pale skinned after all, but that would mean that generations of artists were lying to us, and we know that artistic talent always comes with a side order of integrity.
Of course, when I broached this idea to Hank during this post's development phase, he suggested that the Garden of Eden was supposed to be a perfect place and therefore would probably have had the possibility of sunburns removed from the list of realities. To that I say: I hope you die of old age so you can suffer the humiliation of having to wear adult diapers and getting colonoscopies.