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Jesus Christ was an Only Child 

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Jesus Christ was an only child. Probably. I mean, the Catholics talk about how the ‘blessed virgin was assumed bodily into heaven’, and, well, to call her that means that she was still a virgin all those years later. I’m just saying, if you’d pushed a baby out, you’d think you’d be a bit less hung up on things, but anyway, that’s not the point.

Jesus Christ was an only child. He was an only child but he had two fathers. He didn’t have younger brothers to beat up on, or older brothers to get beat up by, but he had a carpenter and he had god. Only children have a reputation for being selfish. It’s no wonder that, of the two career paths he could have chosen, he went for god.

I think I’d have gone for carpenter. But I’ve got two younger brothers, so it stands to reason, you know? Anyway.

The point is, right, absence leads to idealisation, because if your dad’s around then you can watch this pathetic greying alcoholic knock your mother around as he gracelessly and miserably wobbles his way towards the grave, but if he’s not around, he could be a movie star, or a spy, or a bank robber. Or god, if you’re really a fucking committed narcissist and willing to suspend your disbelief to breaking point.

So like, my dad’s a mechanic, which is kind of like being a carpenter, only with engines, not wood. He’s not a very good one but he pays his taxes, which is more than Jesus’s dad bloody does. Anyway, I’m just thinking, like, what if I’m not meant to be a mechanic? Maybe mum played away. I don’t look anything like dad. Maybe my real dad’s out there somewhere robbing banks or in deep cover as a secretary in the office of the Chinese foreign minister. No, not Chinese. I don’t look even a little bit Asian. Russian then. It could happen.

Anyway anyway anyway, that’s not the point, so anyway, Jesus had this too, he had this mechanic dad and he had this spy cyborg superhero whatever dad. And maybe Joseph got drunk once in a while and knocked Mary around when she was all like ‘No no no I’m a virgin forever’ and he just wanted a bit of fun. Which is fine. The wanting, not the knocking.

Except, Jesus went the other way. Dad wants to teach me to fix up engines but Jesus was all like, no, I’m going to be the fucking saviour and they’re going to build giant statues of me in Brazil. Fuck you. Don’t drink the vinegar wine, don’t dull the senses, suffer through, feel everything, become something more than a man.

Then dad comes home again, and I reach for the bottle, because I have to. Drink the vinegar wine. Dull the senses. Plug my ears. I’m just a man. But I’m not Jesus, and I don’t have to forgive.

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Eli Keren is a playwright and aspiring novelist based in Cambridge, UK with a master’s degree in Creative Writing from Cambridge University. Every time he sees one of his plays on stage, he swears that this is the last time and after this he’s going to focus on his prose. With his eighth production wrapped up and a ninth in the pipeline, he really, really means it this time.

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