Spoofs & Satire

Léo Caillard, Hipster in Stone IV - Jesus Christ, 2012. Courtesy the artist and VICTORI+MO CONTEMPORARY. Via Artsy.

Gods and Kings and Middle Managers

Recent astronomical discoveries have expanded our understanding of the universe—and messed up godhead performance reviews.

Come in, Bob. Shut the door.

You’re wearing your blue paisley tie. Let me guess, it’s bi-millennial performance review time.

Should we start with your strengths or weaknesses?

What weaknesses? Am I not God?

I am the one true Creator. Technically, you’re still a junior associate.

I’ve been with the company for 13 billion years. What do I have to do to get a bump in pay grade? I do have my own universe.

Let’s start there: the slow growth of your universe.

It’s expanding at 46 miles per second.

I’m not talking about that kind of growth. I’m talking about developmental growth.

I don’t follow, Jefe.

For example, there is only one planet in your universe known to sustain life. What are your goals in this department?

I created a planet about a thousand years ago. It’s got everything. It’s the same size as Earth. It’s in a habitable zone and it revolves around a red dwarf. That’s pretentious Earth-speak for star or sun, not a little guy in a red suit.

I recall reading something like that in one of your constellation reports. I apologize.

NASA just discovered it last year. They call it Kepler-186f. What a dumb name. They gave real names to eight planets, nine if you count Pluto, and then they switch to this lame alphanumeric system. Talk about uninspired.

Can you bring me up to speed on the progress you’ve made on this project?

I admit it’s been slower than I’d like. I think I might have made the red dwarf too small. Ironic isn’t it?

I think it’s your low energy levels. Sixty-five million years ago you killed the dinosaurs—and nearly everything else on the planet—because you fell asleep at your workstation.

It was the double dose of Nyquil I had for breakfast. And I didn’t kill them, an asteroid did.

You mean a meteor.

Asteroid, meteor, whatever. It wasn’t my fault.

We’re holding a mesospheric management seminar after work on Tuesday. You should attend.

Is it paid?

No. But it’s catered.

I have an AA meeting. But I might be willing to skip it if there’s an open bar.

Moving on. Your belief and faith statistics have taken a nosedive in the modernized world. Japan and the Czech Republic are in single digits. I don’t know what you did to them, but the Scandinavians have a big problem with you.

Probably that night in Goteborg in ‘95. Or was it ‘96? I can’t remember. I’ll spare you the details.

By the way, we’ve stopped considering data from Texas.

Let’s focus on the present. Even the Italians are down to 40 percent.

It’s this new Pope. He’s undoing all my hard work.

You’re stonewalling, Bob. 

Check the US numbers. They’re still north of 60. I’m sure you’ve heard about the Moses as a founding father flap in Texas. I sowed that seed, by the way.

They’re a nation of sheep. By the way, we’ve stopped considering data from Texas. Now, about your attendance and tardies.


You took 67 vacation days and 48 sick days last year. Your overall attendance record for the 20th Century was abysmal. Six thousand absences and 8,500 tardies.

I worked from home a lot of those days.

May 31, 1970. The Great Peruvian Earthquake.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold on. I wasn’t absent that day. I pulled the trigger on that one myself. Talk about biblical. A square mile-sized mudslide moving 300 kilometers per hour. Seventy thousand casualties. That was some real wrath of God shit.

Latin America is your bread and butter. If you’re going to create natural disasters, do it in former Soviet Republics.

Haven’t you seen what I’m doing to Ukraine?

Moving on to something more recent. June 7th, 2014, flash floods in Afghanistan. More than 300 people died. You were partying on Ibiza.

Yeah. I probably should’ve sat that one out.

Hasn’t Afghanistan suffered enough?

The US pulled out. Or they’re going to. I’m not really sure of their plans, but when they figure it out, the Afghanis should be ecstatic. Right?

Back to your attendance, or, rather, lack of it. August 25th of last year, a nine-year-old girl accidentally killed a guy with an Uzi. The voicemail you left with HR that morning said you weren’t coming in because you thought you had salmonella. You blamed it on a bad tuna roll.

Turns out it wasn’t the fish; it was rancid tempura. But again, not my fault. Even Jenkins said the guy had it coming.

I’m not talking about the guy. I’m talking about the little girl. She’ll carry that tragedy with her for the rest of her life. And with parents like hers, she’s got no chance.

I see your point. I’ll make it up to her. I’ll have her cure cancer. No, I’m not ready to play the cancer card yet. Peace in the Middle East maybe. Better yet, I’ll rig the Powerball. How long ‘til we wrap this up? A star is going super nova in Omega Centauri in a few minutes and I want to check it out.

If you haven’t turned this around by next review, I’ll have to put you on probation. No more ecstasy-fueled Ibizan orgies on company time. You’ve got to be a poster child God: compassionate, benevolent and present, yet feared and wrathful. And if you’re going to screw around with volcanoes and tectonic plates, or let little girls play with Uzis, control the collateral damage. Do I make myself clear?


I’ve got a whole file cabinet full of résumés from baristas with PhD’s who are hungry for work.

Is that it?

No. I want you to give me a list of your goals for the next two millennia. The list should include what you want your next position at this company to be.

Man, this place has really gone corporate.

I told you, today’s market is fiercely competitive. I’d like to have it by 3013.

I’ll do my best.

That’s all I ask.

Ross Burns lives and writes in Taos, NM. His work has appeared in print and on the web, radio, and television More by Ross Burns