Alternate Ending for Ishmael
Ishmael did not rise on the third day.
Please don't think I'm being facetious. I'm simply acknowledging the fact that Ishmael wasn't the son of God -- wasn't even a prophet. He performed no miracles, raised no one from the dead, cast out no devils. And he didn't show us the one right way to live, though I personally believe he showed us the only way we can hope to survive as a species.
Ishmael was what he said he was, a teacher, but I'm not sure people want a teacher. I suspect that what they want is someone who is all the things Ishmael was not: someone who claims to be the son of God, someone who claims to be a miracle worker and a prophet. I think they'd rather have someone like that even if he turns out to be a fake. My friends say I'm too pessimistic. I hope they're right. If I'd had more time I would have talked to Ishmael about our need for slogans.
Visualize World Peace.
Remember that one? Visualize World Peace. Can anyone tell me what the hell that means? Are there really people out there simple-minded enough to believe that if we all just sit down and visualize something, it will truly come to pass? Do lots of people actually indulge in that kind of magical thinking? I guess so. I saw thousands of those damn bumper stickers back in the eighties.
This is what I would have said to Ishmael: "Give me something I can put on a bumper sticker, for Christ's sake. If I can't get it on a goddamn bumper sticker, you might as well forget it."
I know, he would have just glared at me.
But hell, even St. Paul had bumper stickers: The first shall be last and the last first. That was a damn hot item for more than three centuries. And The meek shall inherit the earth. Don't think that didn't raise some eyebrows and rouse some interest.
Come on, Ishmael, give me a bumper sticker.
No use. His mind just didn't work that way.
Mine doesn't do much better, to tell the truth. This is the best I've been able to come up with:
We are the Ten Thousand Year Reich. Let it end with us.
You want some like that, let me know.