Monday, May 25, 2009

The H is for Hershel

"The H is for Hershel"
We had been driving most of the day, across half a dozen climate zones and almost a third of the state of Texas. Any topic we could think of had been discussed, at length. So when my younger brother made this startling revelation about our alphabet’s eighth letter, I took a moment to compose a worthy response.
“The H,” he patiently explained, “it stood for Hershel”
“What H?”
“The one in Jesus”
“There is no H in Jesus; you’re talking about Hey-zoos, like in Spanish”
“His middle name, Jesus H. Christ, the H is for Hershel”
How is a rational man supposed to reply to that? I glanced over to gauge his sincerity. He appeared earnest. Steven has spent a lifetime surprising people with his intellect. For a pretty bright guy, he does a lot to appear otherwise. Like anybody else, he makes a stupid statement from time to time, but it’s hard to know if it is an actual dumb comment, or just something he said to entertain himself. I decided to proceed with caution.
“Are you serious? Don’t be making fun of Jesus.”
“Seriously, Hershel was a common name back in the day, it's old English”
Once again, I looked his direction. Once again, he wore the same look of earnestness. We had set out that morning, first to take a crane from Lubbock to Midland, Texas, and from there to pick up a stock trailer in Coleman county and take it to Hamilton county. I had embarked on the journey prepared for tire problems, or even encounters with highway patrolmen. I wasn’t ready for debating deity nomenclature. Between my lack of preparedness and the hours of mind-numbing white lines, it is understandable if my reply wasn’t worthy of an Ivy League debate squad.
“Are you an idiot? What does old English have to do with it? Nobody spoke English, even old English. They spoke Hebrew and Aramaic, or Latin.”
“Arabs are Muslims, he couldn’t have spoken Arabic”
“Why’s the Bible in English then?”
“It’s in lots of languages, but you speak English so the ones you’ve seen where in English.”
For some reason, this made him feel the need to defend the depth of his worldly experience. “One of Uncle Randy’s hands left a Spanish Bible at the ranch once; I’ve seen a Spanish Bible. I think it’s actually Hershalvo in Spanish, but it’s the same thing. Its common knowledge in either language”
I sat, determined to keep my mouth shut, my mind made up to end this conversation. And still, he refrained from so much as grinning. Eventually, my thirst for knowledge overcame my dignity. I’ve always been the curious type, I had to ask.
“Where did you hear that?”
“I don’t know, haven’t you ever heard somebody say Jesus H. Christ?”
“That’s just what they say. It is probably for Holy. Why would you think it was for Hershel?”
“Do you know any other H names that were as common as Hershel back in the day?”
Faced with that sort of reasoning, I wanted to know what made him think Hershel was a popular name in Biblical times. And for asking, I got just what I deserved.
“Why else would anybody be named Hershel in modern times if it wasn’t an old name passed down, it’s not modern and trendy,” he replied.

That is my life in a nutshell. I’ve done a lot of stuff, most of it related by the thinnest of threads. My brother has been around most of the time. The good Lord has been there through it all, usually without getting the thanks He deserved. Some of what I’ve done mattered, and a lot of it didn’t. And most of what has happened could best be described as B.S.

1 comment:

  1. haha thats really funny! I feel like I heard that story once before as I was reading it but I still laughed.