April Foolishness: Paul Hogan is God by Mike Heartz

A comic treat from writer, Mike Heartz, who specializes in hilarious (and touching) tales of the classroom.  Mike and his wife are both teachers, and also the proud parents of budding writers, Lucie and Gracie, shown here. 

You can find more of his funny work at Eric's Hysterics.  

Paul Hogan is God
By Mike Heartz

           “Carl, what’s wrong?”
            “Carl, what’s wrong?”
            “Carl—I know something is wrong.  I’m good at spotting when someone is sad. It’s a gift.” 
I was in the middle of a Science lesson and everyone was following along as I was reading the directions to our “Camouflage” experiment. Everyone except Carl. He was sitting under his desk repeatedly drumming his head against one of his steel desk legs. My deft powers of intuition led me to believe that all was not copacetic in “Carl Land”.
            “I don’t wanna talk.” He bellowed before slamming his cranium into the leg once more.
            “I understand. And I’m not gonna make you. But, I am trying to teach this lesson about camouflage and everybody’s trying to follow along, and every time you slam your head into the leg of the chair—it makes a pretty loud sound and they look at you. It’s a little distracting.”  I bent down to check his forehead for open wounds.  “And although I know you know about camouflage better than anyone, the others here need to learn about what it is. As you know, it’s incredibly important in nature. It’s how most animals stay alive.”
He looked at me quizzically, trying to figure out how he, Crazy Carl, had become resident expert on this concept of “camouflage” when he wasn’t even that confident in his wiping abilities. Finally he admitted, “I don’t know what that word is or anything.”
            “Sure you do. You may not be able to tell me exactly what it means, but you do it all the time.”
            “Do what?”
            “Blend in. That’s what camouflage means. Remember when you stuck your head in the snowdrift last month so you could ‘look like snow’ playing hide and seek? Well, that’s blending in.”
            “What’s ‘blend in’ mean?”
            “Who can help me here? Who knows what ‘blending in’ means? Yes Aneesha?”
            “If you don’t believe in God then that’s like blending in with the devil and if you don’t go to church and don’t believe in God, then he just skips your house.”
            “Skips your house? Like Santa?”
            “Wow. I did not know that. Good to know.”
            “And Mrs. Claus is God’s mom.”
            I sat back on my desk, baffled.  “Wait…What!? What did you just say?” 
            “It’s the truth. I know it.” 
Somehow God and Santa Claus had surreptitiously snuck their way into our Science lesson. I slid my Science Book on my desk—we wouldn’t have a need for that anymore.  “So let me get this straight. God, like Santa, will skip your house if you don’t believe in him because you’re blending in with the devil. And—if you’ve also been bad all year and don’t believe in God, then Mrs. Claus would really be mad at you because that means you don’t believe in her son and you are disrespecting her husband. Wow. Not a good idea to be a bad person who doesn’t believe in God. Vincent get that out of your mouth. Do you have any idea how dirty that thing is? Yes, Ronald?”
            “So blending in means you be with the devil?”
            “No. Blending in means you try to look like your environment. Like you’re trying to hide. Lions are light brown. They blend in with the tall grasses on the African plains. Frogs are green. They blend in near ponds. Polar bears are white because they live on the ice and snow.  Animals do this to hide from other animals or to hide themselves. Now why would they want to hide? Yes Willy?”
            “They hide from other animals because they’re scared of them.”
            “No!!...Actually maybe—probably yes!....But not what I’m looking for! Yes Antonio?”
            “They hide so they can sneak up on them and eat ‘em!”
            “Yes! A leopard or a lion can be on you faster than you can blink. They can cover the length of this classroom in the time it takes you to hiccup! You don’t have a chance on the African Plain people! These aren’t domesticated zoo lions! If they see you and their hungry—they’re gonna eat you. A lion can puncture your skull with its bite like you can crush a weakly packed snowball in your tiny hands! 
A leopard will just shred you to pieces with its claws—like an angry chainsaw. They’re like very powerful tiny knives. You’ll bleed to death of course as he’s gnawing on your leg.  After you bleed out and he’s had his full right then—he’ll drag you up on a high tree branch and place you in a secure nook to save the rest of you for breakfast.” There were a lot of scared looks, but most were on the edge of their seats. Now was time for the disclaimer. You always had to add the disclaimer.
            “Now remember—there are no leopards in our state, our country or even on our continent. You have nothing to worry about. You will not be taken by a leopard. But—that is what they do in their environment. Remember the only rule of nature!”
            As one, they screamed back, “There are no rules!!”
            “That’s right! If I’m bigger than you and quicker than you—and I’m hungry—I’m gonna catch you, kill you and eat you. I’m not trying to be mean or am mad at you. It’s just the way it works. And I won’t say sorry or thank you. That’s nature. And if you’re bigger than me—then I’ll sure be making certain that I try to blend in everywhere I go because I don’t want you eating me! Yes Aneesha?”
            “Are there any in our city?”
            “No. Remember I just said there are not any lions in our state or country or even on our continent?”
            “I know. But you didn’t say nothing about our city.”
            “Well, I thought if I said that there weren’t any in our state, country, continent that you would get—forget it. No. You will never be eaten by a lion.” 
Just as I predicted Willy sent his hand high. I knew where he was going. “And no Willy—we will not be ‘blowed up’ by a meteor. I never said that. I said it was remotely possible.  I certainly didn’t mean to keep you up for three nights. Your mother’s note was pretty harsh. It was just a video with outstanding animation.”  Willy’s horrifying meteor shower nightmares notwithstanding, but he just wouldn’t let it go. He was always bringing it up.
            “No.  I wasn’t going to ask that…Does God or Santa control the animals?”
            “Control the animals? What do you mean?”
            “Well…who talks to the animals to let them know stuff—just God? And who do they talk to when they want to tell us something? Are all animals able to talk or just some of them?”
            “Well…it depends on what you call ‘talk’. Whales are known to use their songs for communication purposes and monkeys certainly do vocally in the jungle.  Even when dogs are barking at each other, they could certainly be exchanging some thoughts—it certainly looks like they’re screaming at each other sometimes. ”
            “No…I mean in “Rudolph” the reindeer were all talking and being mean to Rudolph because of his nose. They were talking like people.”
            “Well that was a cartoon. Animals don’t really “speak” how we speak. They don’t “speak” English. But they do communicate with each other.”
            “I think God talks to animals with his hands. He don’t even use words. Just points at them and they do what he wants. I saw it.”
            “What are you talking about Willy? Where did you see it?”
            “I saw him get out of his car and point at a big cow and the animal moved so he could keep going. It was God. He had a different kinda hat on but he had blonde hair and I think he was really tan. Musta been summer cause he was wearing different clothes than in the pictures at church. He was only wearing a vest.”
            “Willy—did the guy have an accent?”
            “No…I don’t know…They didn’t show if he peed himself or not. I don’t know.”
            “No…I said ‘accent’ not ‘accident’. Did he speak with an accent? Like he doesn’t sound like us?”
            “Yes.  It’s just the way God sounds I guess.  I could understand most of it so I know I’ll be able to understand God.”
            “Was there always a lot of crocodiles around? A lady who kept getting herself in trouble?”
            “Yeah…you saw it too?”
            “You were watching “Crocodile Dundee” weren’t you?”
            “Yeah...that’s it. God killed a crocodile to save that girl. It was a miracle he was there.”
            “Well…I hate to break it to you Willy—Paul Hogan is not God. And I think you mean he looked like Jesus right?”
            “Who’s that?”
            “Jesus? Or Paul Hogan?”
            “Not the Jesus.”
            “The actor in the movie who did that animal trick. Paul Hogan is his name—he’s Australian, and he is not Jesus or God.”
            “I don’t know. He coulda been.”
“Did you see the third movie—when he comes to L.A.?  He’s no god Willy. He’s no God.”

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