Yesterday concluded the Jewish holiday of Passover, commemorating Exodus, by which I mean the biblical story of Exodus, as opposed to “Exodus” the Bob Marley album, Exodus the thrash-metal band or “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” directed by Ridley Scott and starring Christian Bale as an exceptionally thirst-trappy Moses.
The chief Passover custom entails gathering for a ceremonial dinner called a seder. Seder means “order,” in reference to the specific order of rituals performed before, during and after the meal. Also, because you’re invariably “ordered” to eat a shard of “matzah” – for those not familiar, matzah is like Jewish Pilot Bread – smeared with someone’s cold, slimy homemade chopped liver. You don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, on Passover, do you?
After the traditional guilt is served (often several helpings), we recount the Ten Plagues of Egypt, a series of increasingly harsh divine punishments inflicted upon the Pharaoh until he finally freed the Hebrew slaves from bondage. They are: blood, frogs, lice, wild beasts, pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, darkness and slaying of the firstborn.
Of course, the Ten Plagues of Egypt originally took place several thousand years ago, when plagues such as blood and lice proved far more catastrophic before the advent of Band-Aids and Rid. And in Juneau, hail, darkness and wild beasts are part of daily life (and do mosquitos count as locusts?).
What might a more contemporary, geographically appropriate Ten Plagues look like for the capital city?
Kombucha: And while we’re at it, nutritional yeast. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as pro-pro-biotic as the next guy. I just don’t feel the need to homebrew my own penicillin. In my own digestive tract.
Abandoned Wal-Marts: It’s been shuttered for six years now. When are they going to convert into a trampoline park, already? We want to jump!
2-Packs of Costco Nutella: The entire reason why your Carhartts now fit like skinny jeans and your Under Armor resembles a sausage casing.
Wintry mix: Hail, schmail. Make it snain for three straight weeks, I’ll free anyone you want. I’ll probably also buy them candy and let them have bottomless screen time, too.
Roundabouts: While medical science long ago figured out how to treat Biblical plagues, traffic circles still beguile humanity. Both lanes indicate forward but which one goes all the WAY forward? That slanted yield sign–who does that apply to? And will that person obey it? Gah!
Network connection error: You know the old saying, “he who maintains his own home server has a fool for an IT guy.”
Lice: This plague stays on the list, as anyone who’s ever raised kids can attest.
That seemingly interminable stretch between Spring Break and Memorial Day: Chances are, you’ll also be battling lice.
Endless legislative sessions, year after year, yet still without an official state marmot to prognosticate over Marmot Day
Expiration of REI membership dividends: So what if the angel of death spares your firstborn son? If he doth smite all your dividends, how are you supposed to pay for that new set of stainless-steel, double-wall wilderness wine tumblers? What about the Sahara Outback Cape Hat in Beachwood, Deep Lichen and Asphalt Gray? You’re sure as hell not going to pay your own money, even with the 5% back you get when you use your REI Co-op credit card. And yet, you’re not deleting those Down Insulated Camp Booties from your cart, either. This is perhaps the cruelest plague of all (which is why I saved it for last).