COLUMN

Wait four days, then arise

Allan Fotheringham December 19 1988
COLUMN

Wait four days, then arise

Allan Fotheringham December 19 1988

Wait four days, then arise

COLUMN

ALLAN FOTHERINGHAM

It was Marjorie Nichols, the celebrated Ottawa columnist, who first milked her snake in Victoria, who pointed out about a year ago that she was tired of people making fun of Bill Vander Slap, the intellect who masquerades as leader of British California. She said that Willie Wooden Shoes in fact plays a very important role in nation-building. Informed sources, she relayed to us, told her that at federal-provincial conferences on Meech Lake he explains the difficult parts to Don Getty.

This is undoubtedly true, given the latest mental meanderings of the boss man of Lotusland. Only in British Columbia, as someone has pointed out, could the premier live in a theme park. The Zam, from his retreat in Fantasy Gardens, the goofy tourist attraction on the underside of Vancouver where his wife knits headbands and he tends the till, has given a videotaped speech to the U.S.-based Campus Crusade for Christ in which he reveals Jesus Christ did not have a BA from the University of British Columbia.

This is a major scoop, heretofore unknown to theologians and the UBC alma mater fundraising squad. “Christ didn’t have an easy way,” the premier explained to the video cameras, which were so kind as to ship off his visage to 1,300 churches in the province. “He was taunted and ridiculed. He never had a University of British Columbia education. He would have been low in the polls.”

This is good stuff, material that both academics and politicians should chew over. Vander Zoom, who explained later that of course he wasn’t comparing his own personage to Christ, has never been contaminated by any university education himself, being one who didn’t have an easy way and is always being taunted and ridiculed by those who point out he inherited a prosperous nursery business from his father.

Never mind. His revelation that Jesus was never spoiled by a fraternity initiation or trying out for a spot on the UBC Thunderbird football team is a breakthrough. It sets the imagination aloft in all sorts of ways. Would Jesus, given his choice, have opted for the infamous Zetes, or Delta Upsilon? Could he have mastered the secret handshake that separates the frat rats from the rest of mankind? Could he have won a Big Block sweater for track—as John Turner did—or would he have chosen badminton? Would Jesus join the university skydiving club? Would he like the currently popular unisex dorms, or a quiet garret outside the university gates, full of bullfighter prints and tapes by Dylan and Joni Mitchell?

Vander Slam, who wears his Christianity on his sleeve, is also good on reminding us that Jesus would have been no great shakes on the Gallup. He would have bombed at the polls, even on his best days. One can just see God calling him in, the figures just in from Angus Reid, and saying, “Jesus, you’re no Buddha. Jesus, I knew Allah well. I worked with Allah. Jesus, you’re no Mohammed.”

Pontius Pilate, one sees it all clearly now, would have Jesus in on the mat, fuming over the polling just in from Marty Goldfarb. “Jesus, God damn it, the numbers show us that the loaves and fishes caper was highly overrated. The walking on water bit didn’t fly. And the virgin birth thing never took off. Waddya got to say about free trade?”

The premier, though he will be criticized, will have a lot of backers. Those mindful of history, who know, through their research, that Jesus never went to UBC, will undoubtedly point out that Winston Churchill never enrolled at the Point Grey campus in Vancouver. That Albert Schweitzer made it through life without doing the old sis-boom-bah for the blue-and-gold. That Albert Einstein, hard as it is to believe, never went to one sorority sock hop at the place that is the indoctrinator of Turner, Earle Bimey and three Fotheringham children.

the cross wearing saddle shoes? Waving a racoon tail? Swallowing goldfish? No. It wouldn’t be right. The premier—who once answered criticism that he is all style and no substance by saying, “Style is substance”—is entirely correct in informing us that Christ would not have fit into a campus where the engineering students every year still parade a nekkid Lady Godiva on a white horse. What would he do with the atheism classes? Jesus, like Vander Zalm, was wise to steer clear of the UBC campus, where the faculty club has the finest wine cellar in Canada and the nation’s most famous nude exhibition area, Wreck Beach, is just below the cliffs and eight minutes from the lecture hall that teaches the principles of Maj. Douglas, the British nut who invented the monetary theories of Social Credit.

The premier, taunted and ridiculed because his two senior cabinet ministers thought he was a screwball and resigned, will get a lot of backing from those who believe that Jesus probably wouldn’t have been remembered today if he had made the mistake of enrolling at UBC. He will get a lot of support from the growing body of opinion that if Jesus had been at the mercy of Dr. Gallup and Angus Reid and Marty Goldfarb, he probably would have been advised to wait four days before they rolled back the stone at Easter because that’s what the exit polls indicated would sell in the marketplace.

The Zam is undoubtedly correct. Don’t put too much faith in a university education. Don’t place too much faith in polls. It worked for Jesus. Surely it must work for the premier. And, above all, don’t place too much virtue in modesty. It’s a highly overrated virtue.