“Hello. I don’t often see you here,” says an oddly familiar voice.
“Er, Mum …?”
“Do I really sound like your late mother?”
“No. It’s just …” and as the enormity of the interview begins to penetrate, my own voice trails away.
“Thanks for asking. I’m desperate to find a publisher. Even my Facebook chums never mention You.”
“So, you’re here for the first time in ages – having stayed at home even on Yom Kippur – and you expect Me to help you now? That’s chutzpah!”
“But – You’ll give me a few tips? Right?”
“First, it would be nice if you’d use a generally preferred soubriquet when we chat. ‘Hashem’ is now very popular.”
“But I can’t stand that word. It’s cheap. Look how it translates into English: ‘The Name’. Beg pardon, but it makes You sound like a Jewish Mafia chief. As no-one dares ask for Your real one, I can’t see the harm in addressing or referring to You by the ‘G’ word – and without the dashes and commas.
“’Mafia’? In modern Hebrew that could also make Me a bakery manager. As you’re not too far from Safed, maybe we could compromise. How about ‘Mystic Pizza'?
“Or ‘Muffin Man’? You know, I can’t help myself. Jewish or not, my generation of Brits still sees You as an Englishman. I can’t imagine Your getting heavy with a tephillin (phylacteries) bag stuffed with ammo and yelling: “’Daven – pray – three times a day. Keep strict kosher. Love your parents – or tonight you become gefilte fish!’”
“You’re spot-on. I do protection, not protectzia. But people of all faiths also say that I help those who help themselves.
(Copyright, Natalie Irene Wood – 15 June 2012)