Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction
Seventy Times SevenVentriloquism and summer camps seem to be a match made in heaven, which is one of the reasons why I spend almost my entire summer traveling around the state of Maine teaching at different camps, and entertaining children (and teens!) with my ventriloquial figures (or, as some would call them, dummies).
One week I was speaking at a teen camp. When it comes to teens, you never know what they'll think of the puppets, but at this camp, I would have had a mutiny had I chosen not to bring out Jeorge, or Uncle Jim, or one of the other characters.
I was teaching that week from the words of Jesus in the Gospels, and I spent quite a bit of time talking about that passage where Peter asks him: "How many times should I forgive someone who hurts me? Seven times?"
Jesus' reply is quite shocking: "Not seven! Seventy times seven!"
Which, in case you don't want to work out the mathematics of forgiveness, comes to four hundred ninety. I strongly suspect the point really was that we shouldn't keep track.
There was one camper there who harrassed me all week long.
"Doug, that was a great sermon," J.D. said.
"Yeah, I was so tired from playing mission impossible last night, I needed something to put me to sleep. Thanks."
But, I must admit - he was quite funny. Every time I saw him he had a new insult for me (some of which, in subsequent years, my puppets have thrown at me!), and it always made me laugh.
But I couldn't let him get away with being so insulting...could I??
So Thursday night I took him aside and said (with twinkle in my eye, of course), "Look, J.D., you know I've been talking about forgiveness this week, and Jesus said to forgive four hundred ninety times, and you're already up past four hundred. If you continue at this rate, you're going to reach your quota before the week is over. Then, I'm afraid, you'll be quite sorry."
"Oh," he said, "What in the world can you do to me?"
I thought for a moment. I thought some more. Then I said: "What can I do to you? Well, I could name a puppet after you..."
"You wouldn't dare!" he said.
Actually, I did.
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