My name is Gnitbuod Samoht and I’m going to tell you about my first meeting with God. But first, a little bit about my name. It’s pronounced ‘NIT-bod Sah-MOT’ (the ‘G’ and ‘H’ are silent). To an English speaker, my name looks and sounds decidedly foreign but my nationality remains a mystery. I like that about my name. Because it really doesn’t matter what my nationality is, or my race, or my ethnicity. I’m a human being and that will have to do.
Now, back to my story, which took place a few months ago. It was going to be a leisurely day, I’d decided. Get up whenever I woke up. Do some reading. Have a late-morning breakfast. And then do whatever else came to mind. I did have plans for the evening, but more on that momentarily.
As it turned out, I watched a movie. I usually watch television while I eat — typically something on Netflix. On this particular morning, I chose the current Netflix Original Movie on display, titled Clinical. It was a suspense movie, highly rated, and as good as advertised. I never saw the ending coming but, as usual, once revealed, I wondered how I could have missed it. The essential ingredient of a good suspense movie, yes?
Afterwards, I read the day’s news online, then got dressed and stepped out into the gray and chilly afternoon to run some errands. Just another solitary day in the life of a solitary man.
As I mentioned, I had a dinner date. No, not with a woman. It was with someone I had never actually met. Had heard–and read– a lot about him. A whole lot. As a matter of fact, this guy gets more attention than anyone–or anything–in the history of man. Known by many different names–depending on one’s theological bent–I will identify him by his name as referenced by most of the inhabitants of the western hemisphere: God. (I know, I know, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but I’m not inclined to get into all of that right now.)
If you are wondering how I scored such an opportunity, continue to do so, because I can’t rightly answer that question. I didn’t specifically ask God to take a meeting with me. And even if I had, I wouldn’t have really expected a reply, let alone acquiescence. I’m not even certainty that I received any sort of message from him. All I know is, when I woke up one weekend morning, I felt compelled to meet someone for dinner and that it would be God. Or his man–which is to say, his representative. And I don’t mean Jesus. As much as I can figure, he’s not due back quite yet, though Trump’s presidency may hurry him along.
The location of our dinner date had not been discussed. Matter of fact, nothing had been discussed. But taking into account who I was dealing with, I figured I’d just decide on an eatery as befitting my guest–as if there was such a thing–and wait for him to appear when I got there. We are talking about God here, right? And if he’s a no show, well, maybe I got my signals crossed and it wasn’t whoever I thought I heard–or sensed–agree to dine with me. Maybe it was the other guy, mocking me and God. You know who I’m talking about. (Wouldn’t mind having dinner with him either, just to hear straight from the demon’s mouth why he’s so anti-God. I’d want backup, though.)
I arrived at the restaurant at about 6:45. (No, I’m not giving the restaurant any free advertising by mentioning its name; suffice it to say it was top shelf, my dime.) I followed the maître d to my table and ordered a Jack Daniels neat while I waited for my guest. My reservation was for 7:00 and at exactly that time the maître d led a man of medium build and height to my table. I stood and offered my hand in greeting. ‘I’m Nitty,’ I said, using the nickname given me by my family and close friends, ‘and it’s good to finally meet you. I presume you are …?’ I didn’t know what to call him. ‘God is fine,’ he said. ‘The pleasure is mine, Nitty.’
‘What’ll you have?’ I asked. God turned towards our waiter for the evening, who was standing to his left–somehow he knew not to stand on God’s right-hand side–and said, ‘I’ll have what he’s drinking.’ Yes, I was floored! Water, with maybe some lemon or lime, okay. Wine, for sure. But hard liquor, neat? Get the hell out of here! (No pun intended, I swanny, and I wouldn’t swear to God tonight, what with him sitting right across from me!)
I did a quick scan of God’s attire. Navy blue pinstriped suit, medium-tailored, with a crisp white shirt, open at the collar. Monogramed Yves St. Laurent socks and a pair of red wine-colored (of course, the wine thing!) Salvatore Ferragamo Cap Toe Oxford lace ups. For my part, I was wearing a charcoal grey pinstriped suit with a powder blue shirt, also open at the color, and a pair of black, rather pedestrian, Johnston & Murphy Cap Toes.
‘Thought you’d be more moderately dressed,’ I said, ‘being as how there is so much in the Bible that implies thrift and modesty.’
God smiled as if he’d expected such a remark. He was a pleasant-looking man, but his appeal was more in his carriage than his out-and-out physical features. His ethnicity was indeterminable. His facial features seemed to be an amalgamation of several ethnic groups. The pallor of his skin was medium brown, his full head of hair silver and somewhat coarse–think Morgan Freeman– and brushed back. His eyes, light brown and lively, sparkled with wonder and excitement like those of a child. Crows feet gently flared from the outside corner of each eye and the hair of his eyebrows was beginning to take on the unruliness of age. He looked like a healthy and well-maintained man in his early 50s. His beard was now more salt than pepper and close cropped, with a natural hairline. All in all, a man one could not help but notice. But then again, hasn’t that been the problem throughout the ages–all too often, he has not been noticed.
‘I thought this was moderate,’ he replied, still smiling. ‘Like yourself.’
‘Well, I guess so, but you’re God. You could have dressed down a tad more, just to show, you know, that material things aren’t important.’
‘You’re right, material things aren’t important. Otherwise, I’d have on an ensemble worth ten grand,’ God said. ‘I mean, for me, the sky’s the limit. Or should I say, the heavens?’
I chuckled in response and thought, Is this really God? Shouldn’t he be more rigid, more aesthetic, sickeningly pious, even. This dude was chill, engaging and dressed like butter. Comfortable in his own skin, as only he could be.
By now the waiter had arrived with God’s drink and a second Jack’s for me. God took a sip and sighed in satisfaction. He briefly scanned the room, right leg crossed over his left. God seemed to approve of the restaurant and its décor, looked quite at home in the sumptuous surroundings. Then, like me, he turned his attention to the menu.
We decided on the Jumbo Lump Crabmeat Cocktail for our appetizer. For his main course, God ordered the Honey-Balsamic Glazed Salmon Fillet. I decided on the Miso Marinated Sea Bass. I normally tend towards chicken but figured since God’s son, Jesus, was a fisher of men–literally!–he’d appreciate my choice. Plus, you know, the fishes and the loaves, the Sea of Galilea, walking on water and all that. It just seemed appropriate.
We dined quietly, which suited me fine. I loathe talking with a mouthful of food but would have felt obligated to do so if God had been the ultra-talky type who insisted on talking while eating. And I would have lost what semblance of faith I still had.
‘You know this is on my dime, right’? God said.
‘No, I got this,’ I insisted, having already budgeted for the anticipated upwards-of-$200 dinner. Nothing’s too good for the Lord.
‘I appreciate your giving spirit,’ God rejoined, giving me a reassuring dash of his Bible dialect, ‘but dude, come on, I made all this, after all. Keep your ducats in your pocket. You may need them in case you have dinner with the other fella.
‘I promise you he won’t volunteer to pay. He’s cheap, an opportunist and lies like the president.’