May 22, 2024

#TwistedTropes 28. Jonah’s necessary whale

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Photo by Andrew Bain on unsplash

It wasn’t long after the prophet Jonah was thrown overboard into stormy seas that he was swallowed by a great fish. Popular belief is that it was a whale, but that would be ridiculous. It’s virtually impossible for a whale of any size to swallow a man, and for him to survive inside it’s stomach for up to three days. But I bet there are plenty of fish out there in the depths of the oceans that might be large enough to take on the job. Imagine the job description: Well-known employer seeks large fish for short-term contract to cover for maternity leave. Must be willing to swallow a full grown man, and vomit him out after three days. No other qualifications required. Training and emetics will be provided.

But whatever swallowed Jonah, it was quite necessary. Because if Jonah hadn’t asked the sailors to throw him over the side, they might all have drowned in a shipwreck. Jonah knew something. He had been told by his boss (God) that he had to go to the city of Ninevah on a PR trip. He was to tell the citizens that what they were doing was wrong and that they had to mend their ways or they would suffer an extinction level event. It was the ancient equivalent to climate change warnings, but without the social media.

Jonah didn’t want to go to Ninevah, because he knew what would happen. He would tell the people to mend their ways, they would listen to him and do so, and then he would look like an absolute mug, because the destruction wouldn’t come. So he decided to go in exactly the opposite direction. He ran away, boarding a ship to anywhere that wasn’t Ninevah.

Now his ship was in the middle of a massive storm miles from any coastline, and the it was about to sink. Jonah, being a prophet, knew exactly what was happening. He’d dealt with God before, and knew He wouldn’t give up until Jonah turned around and went back. That’s where the big fish came in. Did I say it wasn’t a whale? (yep, you made that abundantly clear – Editor). Anyway, after the fish had swallowed Jonah, and he’d had some time to marinade his thoughts, the big fish chucked him up three days later onto the beach, and he walked to Ninevah.

I imagine that the three days inside the belly of the fish did little for his personal fragrance and appearance. Anyone questioning this might be told that he couldn’t help it because it was the way he was brought up (not funny – Editor). Anyone who caught the fish after this would have made no money, because there was no prophet in it (That is even worse – Editor).

But here’s the moral of the story. If you have a job to do, do it well and do it with all your heart. It’s no good running away from your responsibilities, even if you think the outcome might not be very positive. Take pride in what you do, and don’t worry about what others may think of you. Remember that running away might get you into deep water, and ultimately, you won’t be covered in glory.

Next time: 29: Halley’s boring comet

Previous posts in the #TwistedTropes series
1. Pavlov’s drooling dog
2. Chekhov’s smoking gun
3. Occam’s bloody razor
4. Schrödinger’s undead cat
5. Pandora’s closed box
6. Frankenstein’s well-meaning monster
7. Thor’s lost hammer
8. Noah’s character ark
9. Hobson’s multiple choice
10. Fibonacci’s annoying sequence
11. Plato’s empty cave
12. Dante’s lukewarm inferno
13. Sod’s unlucky law
14. Aladdin’s miserly lamp
15. Batman’s tangled cape
16. Cupid’s bent arrow
17. Fermat’s dodgy last theorem
18. Moore’s obsolete law
19. Lucifer’s idiotic fall
20. Adam’s poisoned apple
21. Hadrian’s busted wall
22. Montezuma’s terrible revenge
23. Dale’s shameful cone
24. Maslow’s awkward hierarchy
25. Schindler’s shopping list
26. Whistler’s angry mother
27. Washington’s wooden teeth

Creative Commons License
Jonah’s necessary whale by Steve Wheeler was written in Ninevah, Assyria and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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