The Bite of a Red Delicious
Would you like an apple? They’re a prized variety with supernatural vitamins. Come on; eat one! It’ll open your eyes to good and evil. See those thugs over there on the street corner? They’re evil. That troll on my social media post? She’s evil too. So is that group of mean girls who are bullying my daughter. Evil. But my kids? Oh, they’re good. First responders are good too. Democrats are good. But Republicans? You guessed it—evil. The apple in my hand tells me so. You really have to try one.
These judgments come easily with the apple in your hand. After all, bad things happen to bad people and good things happen to good people. You’ve been to my house; it’s a nice home in the suburbs. I’ve never been in jail. There’s no welfare check in my mailbox! So, you see, I’m good.
But those people in the trailer park a mile down the road? ICE is always pulling in there. Have you seen them? Their kids are on free lunch. Rats infest the place. I see them walking to the grocery store, carting bags of food back and forth because they can’t afford a car. They’re bad, and bad things happen when you don’t follow the rules. God makes sure of it.
This apple sure is delicious … are you sure you don’t want one?
There’s no way God—who is good by the way—would let bad things happen to good people. Well, then he wouldn’t be good would he? It would be like he isn’t in control. Bad things happening to good people and good things happening to bad people … it’d be chaos! No, everything is in order because God is clear: right is right, and wrong is wrong, and if you follow the rules good things happen.
“But what about the Muslims who were killed in their mosque last month?”
I told you: bad things happen to bad people. They were Muslim.
“Then what about the hundreds of Christians who’ve been killed by Boko Haram this year? Are they bad too?”
No! Well, wait. Here, just eat an apple. We can figure it out together. There’s a whole bunch of us apple eaters out here who gather on Tuesday mornings to make sense of the world, judging good and evil. We eat bushels of these things! You should join us.
“Actually, I’ve tasted that apple already.”
You have? Then you know it’s fantastic! Did you hear about that movie star who got #MeToo’d last week? He’s so bad. And that woman from down the block who got arrested for killing her husband! I mean, seriously, how evil can you be?
“Don’t you think you’re being a little presumptuous? I heard he was—”
No way! This is the apple of good and evil! That’s the whole point: to let us determine who is good and who is evil.
“Seems to me you have just enough knowledge about good and evil to make you dangerous.”
Oh no, my friend! This knowledge keeps the whole world running smoothly. It’s how we know who to lock up, whose funding to cut, who to let in, who to invest with, who to trust, and who to pity. If you eat enough of these beauties it all comes together. Trust me.
“I imagine the only one who could figure all that out would be the one who made the apple tree, don’t you think? And maybe the garden too. You know, because he’d have a bit broader perspective and understanding about it all, like the nutrients in the soil, the force of the wind—”
Nah, don’t underestimate yourself! You’re smart. You can read and learn and make sense of things. You should join us. We’ve got unions and universities, Facebook groups and funded lobbyists. There’s very little we don’t know.
“That could be good. A guy I went to college with is a lobbyist for a pharmaceutical company, and—”
Oh, they’re bad!
“But his drug saved—”
No. No way. Pharmaceutical companies are definitely bad. We decided that at our last apple-eating meeting.
“Do you all ever use those apples to judge yourselves? You know, hold that apple a little closer to your heart and see what’s in there first?”
Oh no, my friend! That internal stuff is way too complicated. See, I’m going through this divorce right now, so I’m not thinking clearly. I have all these defensive walls up that are triggering my temper. My ex says I’m too critical, probably because I’ve never traveled outside of New England, but I think it’s from my dad’s emotional abuse when I was a kid. I’m not really a bad person. Or maybe I am just a jerk. I’m not sure. See, I can’t judge myself! There are way too many contributing factors.
Wait, are you judging me? I see that look on your face! You think I’m bad, don’t you? I’m not! I just had a few bad breaks. I mean, really, no one is really all bad or all good, right? Come back! Don’t walk away! You forgot your apple!