Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Talk with Herman the Hermit: How to Tell if You are Atheistic?

Folks are always having their faith shaken.

They look at the typhoons, ulcers, bedbug bites, wars, pestilence, and television and say, "God would not put up with all this crap."

I decided to have a chat with Herman Volker Hilton. I heard that the famous hermit was thinking about becoming an atheist and worth looking for. I figured that I could sell any article that came from the interview to Confirmed and Nearly Confirmed Atheists Magazine.

In fact it was the editor of that magazine, Peter Moses Isaac Aaron Greenburg, who gave me Herman's whereabouts.

Before I left the editor's office he said, "Whatever you do, don't tell him I sent you and don't ask him for one of his beers either. He's on Baker Island."

I looked in the CIA's World Fact Book to see exactly where the atoll was. It's halfway between Hawaii and Australia. I thought, That should be easy to find.

Baker Island is uninhabited since they stopped mining the bat poop, or guano as they say in New Mexico. It's a wildlife refuge operated by the Department of the Interior. (It's just like the U.S. Government to have the Department of the Interior stick its nose into the Department of the Exterior's business.)

The Island gets a couple of official visits each year. The Coast Guard and the Department of Interior take turns.

When I got to Baker Island, I found Herman stark naked sitting on a log looking out over the Pacific. His fine red beard was down to his belly, so I figured he'd been there for a while.

He was smoking a corncob pipe and seven bottles of Sam Adams® were cooling in a tub of ice next to him, each bottle within easy reach.

Herman wasn't expecting Taylor Jones, the hack writer, despite the fact that I can show up anywhere that sparks my interest.

He looked up at me with those steel blue eyes and said, "Who in all of God's creations are you? Where did you come from?
Wherever that is, GO BACK!"

I apologized: "Sorry to have startled you, Herman. I hope you didn't spill too much beer."

"There are only two of us on this godforsaken atoll. Who introduced us?"

I was glad that Herman the Hermit had a sense of humor. I decided it was best to lie and said, "I decided to canoe over here from Howland Island. I'm doing a story on Amelia Gerhardt. I though I might find her aircraft here." I decided it better not to mention the editor of Confirmed and Nearly Confirmed Atheists Magazine.

He stood up and pointed back towards the abandoned airstrip. "Look in the brush back there."

I was ecstatic.

He had found her airplane!

I would be famous if I could get back to civilization with color photographs.

I snapped a couple of shots of Herman with my trusty C-3® camera and ran and ran and ran.

Then I looked and looked and looked. I heard a gasoline engine and found that it ran an electrical generator hooked to a refrigerator. I looked in and the fridge was nearly full of Sam Adams®. I didn't dare snitch a beer. I took a bottle of water.
Finally, I decided that I needed more information to find the plane. I walked back in the white-hot, blazing sun to find Herman.

When I found him, he was fishing in the surf. He said, "I figured you would be hungry when you get back. Grab a piece of fish off that hot rock. Don't mess with my beer. I see you've already stolen a bottle of my water."

I sat on my haunches. I learned to do that during the Korean War. You could tell how long a G.I. had been in Korea by how low on his haunches he could sit. The Koreans could put their butts all the way down to the ground. I make it about half way on these old knees.

I drank the water and ate the fish and said, "Couldn't find it?"

He said, "Find what?"

"Amelia's airplane. You said to look--"

"Did I tell you that I had seen the airplane?"


"Did I tell you that the airplane was in the bushes by the airstrip?"

"Well, no. But you said--"

He had a big fish on and didn't say anything until he had pulled the flipping thing up on the beach. He went crazy. He said, "That's a new personal best!"

I said, "It's what?" He hadn't been away as long as I though he had.

He ignored my comment and gutted the fish. I knew he had jived me about the personal best thing.

Herman studied the stomach contents of the fish with great detail and said, "Look! The famine is going to end."

I said, "That's good news. What famine? You learned that from looking at fish guts?"

"Our famine! We have fish to eat."

I gave him my best look of credulous despair.

He said, "You were assuming again! You'd think you would learn something after almost dieing of heat prostration tramping around on this godforsaken island in this white-hot, tropical sun."

I decided to try to at least salvage my original article idea. I said, "Looks like a storm is brewing. I've got a friend that says that God causes storms, war, and pestilence."

He said, "What storm? What has a storm to do with war and pestilence?"

He had me there.

There was no storm brewing.

Now he was suspicious. That's when he said, "You can blame God for storms and pestilence if you want to, but what good will it do you? It's better to learn what really causes storms and pestilence just like it is good to know what causes smallpox and polio. Then you can do something about it."

I had to agree so I nodded my head. He said, "As for war, like television, that can only be blamed on man."

Well, I didn't have an article. Herman had mentioned God three times. But I was determined to do something of great significance for God and mankind. Herman had inspired me.

The human gnome project is completed.

I decided to look for life on Europa. When I got home, I would call Xrytspet from Fanton in G10009845788899990766.

Pop! There was Xrytspet. She said, "Well, what are we waiting for? Let's get off this godforsaken atoll with its white-hot, tropical sun."

John T. Jones, Ph.D. (tjbooks@hotmail.com), a retired college professor and business executive, Former editor of an international engineering magazine. To learn more about Wealthy Affiliate University go to his info site. If you desire a flagpole to Fly Old Glory, go to the business site.

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