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It was 10:31 AM on October 31, 2009 when our hired coach departing from Swansea, Wales consisting of 28 "mature" men and women - who were behaving as children coming within proximity of Candyland - arrived at the Hans Brinker Hotel in Amsterdam.  Little did we know that our lives were about to be forever changed and not by the onset of recreational drug use, cheap women, and self-deprecating behavior mind you.  No kind noders, this was the day we met God .


 

Let us travel backwards one month, the day we three students decided to try and succeeded in convincing the Swansea University Student Travel Association of the academic merits of a trip to Amsterdam.  Together, we brainstormed two proposals to the committee.  The first (and in my opinion, the better of the two options) was a “Delay and Distract” tactic consisting of accordions and a barrel organ combined with three men dancing in clogs.  The second (the proposal we chose and according to Sarah, the one that contained less of the endearing term “stupid”) outlines as follows:

 

  1. As Geography, Chemical Engineering, and Psychology students, we would sufficiently persuade the committee that (according to its website) “A visit to the Van Gogh Museum is a unique experience.”  Understand, we did indeed believe this to be true, but of course our intentions were not nearly as altruistic as our theatrically expressed “enthusiasm” for Post-Impressionistic 19th Century art seemed to suggest.
  2. As Geography, Chemical Engineering, and Psychology students, we would sufficiently persuade the committee that a visit to Mokum, the Venice of the North, would provide a unique story that only the 17th century architecture could share.  A first-hand experience with the power of the Dutch Navy could be inavaluable to our academic careers.
  3. As Geography, Chemical Engineering, and Psychology students, we would sufficiently persuade the committee that the transportation system of Amsterdam, relying largely upon cycling, would force us to also cycle throughout the city for our duration of our stay.  This would help to prepare us for the upcoming Rheola Downhill Dragon series downhill mountain biking challenge.  One of the judges was and is an avid mountain biker and by mentioning our cycling plans we would lure him into believing our trip to Amsterdam would strengthen our Swansea’s chances of beating Cardiff in the upcoming race…Perfect logic in my opinion.

 

Note:  The total of three main points did not arise out of a necessity to follow the Rule of Three but from the fact that all three points were such well thought out pieces of persuasion that leaving one of them out would have caused failure in our petition. 

Suffice to say that as Geography, Chemical Engineering, and Psychology students, we three students were extremely surprised that our petition was accepted.


 

Reverting back to the future, the scene consists of 28 “mature” men and women unpacking the coach and ecstatically shoveling luggage, pillows, and bootlegging exorbitant amounts of beverages into respective rooms in the Hans Brinker Hotel.  This is about the same time that God himself made his first physical appearance in front of me.  He was dressed from head to foot in blue velvet robes.  His long white beard curled near his stomach; his face was worn.  Large wireframe glasses were seated on the bridge of his nose.  He wore wooden clogs that clicked the concrete in a steady rhythm as he walked with purpose towards his destination - I pointed the clogs out to Sarah and reminded her that we should have used my proposal.  At the time my own created identity of this man as a sorcerer was not too far from the truth. I had just arrived in Amsterdam, and for all I knew, all people here dressed like Gandalf.  This would not be the last time I saw the blue wizard.

After a brief meeting on safety from two “qualified” students in charge, these 28 “mature” men and women raced to the Red Light District and found a coffee shop. After ordering the prescription from the Rasta pharmacist behind the counter, we sat around a table, enjoying each other’s company.  We joked about the how ordering the drug was nearly identical to the process of ordering a Big Mac and small fries from McDonald’s.  The longer we spoke, the deeper our conversations became.  After nearly an hour, I heard Ed mumble under his breath, “The Blue Wizard is about to Die”.

You see noders, I had left out an important detail about the ride from Swansea to Amsterdam.  One of the students on the trip had a collection of poems written by Seth Flynn Barkan titled Blue Wizard is About to Die! Prose, Poems, and Emoto-Versatronic Expressionist Pieces About Video Games (1980-2003).  Having grown up playing some of these games such as Mega Man and Gauntlet, this book of poems was relative to nearly everybody on that bus.  During that 18 hour journey by bus and ferry, that book was one of two items that helped keep everybody sane.

Looking up from our conversation, I noticed the blue wizard sitting in the coffee shop and basking in a cloud of smoke around his table that literally towered over the rest of the people in the coffee shop.  I chuckled to myself at the similarity between this wizard and Sarumon in his tower overlooking his orcish iron workings below.  He unrolled his parchment onto the table and began hastily scratching words into the scroll with a fountain pen. 

By this time, everybody in the coffee shop could pick out the tourists not by their clothing or any physical appearance, but by who was paying any attention to the wizard and his scrolls.  I was transfixed upon the sight.  It was similar to oogling a beautiful girl even though you know that the more you oogle, the less of a chance you have with her. 

We all started creating an identity for the man in blue.  Ed thought the man was a Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master enacting a game that ended thirty years ago. Sarah thought he had a failed marriage which stemmed from his wearing of the blue robes.  This, as I pointed out, gives no explanation as to why he wears the robes in the first place.  Josh thought he was the “Bronzed One” incarnate.

The second item on the bus that rendered possible the journey was a bottle of sun tan lotion recently purchased by Josh in Mallorca, Spain.  On the back of the bottle was the worst (or best) Spanish to English translation I have ever read.  “Sun tan bathing sun tan lotion applies directly to the skin.  It enhances the color of the Bronzed (pronounced brawn-zed) One.  He will become resistant to water.  Etc.”  This spurred some of the English students to later create a Fan Fiction of a superhero titled, The Dharma of the Bronzed One.  Chapter one was created on that long bus ride: “He Puts the Lotion on the Skin

We drew straws to see who would speak with him.  Naturally, I drew the short straw and began my approach.  With no idea how to address the man, I decided to open the conversation with a question, a dumb question.  The following is a abstract script of our conversation.

 

LFWake2Wake:  What are you doing?

Blue Wizard:  The difference between an intellectual and an ignoramus is the ability to ask intelligent questions.

L:  I apologize for bothering you, but I could not help but notice your style of clothing and near perfect calligraphy.  I ask again, what are you doing?

B:  I am writing The Word

L:  Are you implying that you are God?

God:  I am.

L:  Does it pay well?

G:  It pays in spirit.

At this point, I obviously have no reason to doubt or believe this man.  I decide to play along.

L:  God, we need help.

G:  I know.

L:  We are on the brink of disaster.  We humans have our disagreements that lead to not only war, but possibly to the end of civilization.  And here you are, God, writing down the word in a coffee shop.

G:  I know.

L:  What should we do?

G:  Well, you are trying to solve a problem as if it is practical, an economic, socio-political dilemma.  In today’s word, the problem is not tangible.  Your problem is spiritual and everybody fails to see this.

L:  But we have tried reading scripture, but each has its own meaning, its own ideas about morality, right and wrong.  How can we possibly decide which is correct?

G:  You fight over which is correct, the Bodhisattvas, the Upanishads, the Yoga-Sutras, the King James Bible, the Tao-te Ching, the Talmud, the Qur’an, …

L:  I get it, its…

G:  No you do not and that’s the point.  It does not matter which one is correct.  These writings are not a say all end all.  In fact, they could even be considered blasphemies.  True, there are many sacred teachings, but only one matters:  the teaching that you believe.

L:  But is it not our beliefs that are causing these problems.

G:  Not in the way that you speak.  You see, whenever a great wave of power and change enters the world, the people are always powered by belief and not some kind of behavior.  Take killing a person, for example.  If  you were to tell a person to go kill somebody, without a reason, it would be very difficult, generally.  However, if you give her a reason, a reason based on thoughts, a reason that means something to her, based on beliefs, she may very well be the next Lucia de Berk.  Your world’s problems must be solved at the level of beliefs.

L:  That makes sense God, thank you for enlightening me.  But I do have one more question, then I will leave you alone.  What is God?

G:  God is the Master of the Universe.

L:  God is He-Man?

G:  My child, God is whatever you wish to make him.  Again, it is all based on beliefs that you hold.  To some, God doesn’t exist, and in their model of the Universe, God literally does not exist.  To others, God is the all consuming, all powerful supremacy.  Belief.

 

With that, God reached into his pocket with one hand and grabbed a book off of the floor with the other hand.  He placed a card face down on the table and the book on top of it, grabbed his hat and walked nonchalantly out of the coffee shop, leaving me sitting, staring at an empty chair.  I grabbed to book. The New Revelations:  A Conversation with God by Neale Donald Walsch.  The card read:

Gad 't Hooft

Acteur en Toneelschrijver (Actor and Playwright)

XXX XXXXXXX

To this day, I still have no idea what Gad was writing on his scroll.

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