TSoA: Chapter 16: Weights and Stuff

Showing us again what a paragon of Manly Manliness he is, Murphy heads to the gym.

A step machine was one of the few sanctuaries he knew where no student was likely to ask him about an assignment.

Murphy is such a devoted teacher!

(Also, it is unlikely that a student at admitted party school Preston University would bother Murph at six in the morning.  Also unlikely that a student would have a membership at the local health club, when they no doubt have free access to Preston’s athletic facilities.)

Anyway, Murphy is benching two hundred (Manly!  I guess!  I’m not entirely sure because I do only light weights for toning!) when our old friend, lousy father and FBI agent Hankl Baines, who offers to spot.

(I always thought it wasn’t the safest thing in the world to lift without a spot, but wow, it’s sure manly, eh?)

The two men bond in a manly way by lifting weights together, and it turns out that Baines has been stalking the gym in hopes of catching Murphy.

THAT’S NOT CREEPY AT ALL

Baines reveals that things are going better with his daughter, but now he wants to talk about his EVEN MORE PROBLEMS WITH HIS DUMB WIFE.

Women, amirite?

“We’ll be discussing a problem and I’ll explain to her why her way won’t work and why we should do it differently.  I try to be real patient, to show her how she hasn’t thought it through completely.”

So, it turns out that Baines is just as clueless when it comes to having a civil conversation with his wife, as he was when it came to his daughter.  Not that this is surprising—after all, Baines is a dirty non-churchgoer, so it is only to be assumed that every aspect of his life is in shambles.

Credit to Murphy, he correctly lays the blame on Baines for this little problem:

“Sounds like you might not be giving her a chance to disagree with you.”

That’s a pretty diplomatic way to say, “You’re a condescending asshole, Baines.”

Murphy magically susses out the true problem: Baines has a girlfriend!

(Seriously, it’s magic.  Phillips calls it an “educated guess,” but I’m pretty sure that God put the thought it Murph’s head.)

“You know, Hank, it’s been my experience that people who have gone through a divorce end up with a lot of regrets.  The biggest one usually is they didn’t try harder to make it work.”

Yeah, I bet loner Michael Murphy has a ton of divorced friends.

Spoiler alert: he doesn’t.  Levi is twice-married, but he was widowed the first time.  The only other friend of his we meet (I think ever, in the whole series) is happily married.

BUT THE LORD HATES DIVORCE!!!

And God gave us the Bible with all kinds of good advice about marriage:

If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

-Deuteronomy 22:28-29

Oops, not that one!  This is the one that Murphy meant:

Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

-Colossians 3:19

Diplomatically, Murphy leaves out the preceding verse:

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

-Colossians, 3:18

Actually, as I read this verse, it seems to me that Baines wasn’t precisley wrong, biblically speaking, that is, in how he discussed things with his wife:

“We’ll be discussing a problem and I’ll explain to her why her way won’t work and why we should do it differently.”

I mean, if only his wife would submit, as is fitting in the Lord, all would be well, no?

But no, actually, Murphy does not take the advice of his own Bible.  Instead, he counsels Baines to say he’s sorry, say “I love you,” and not to go to bed angry.

DARN SKIPPY BECAUSE MAKE-UP SEX ROCKS

Oh, and he tells Baines he should consider going to church.

He’d planted the seed.

Yeah, yeah, sure he did.  Yanno, if I cared about Baines AT ALL as a character, if he wasn’t just A Sinner for Tim LaHaye to preach at, I might give a damn about his personal life.

As it is, I can only point out that 36% of the way through this book, and not yet even getting ready to go to Mount Ararat.

But next time, we will actually get some HOT PLANNING ACTION.

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Posted on October 3, 2012, in Books, The Secret on Ararat. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Wow, seriously, we’re a third of the way in? And the only marginally plot-relevant thing that has happened is Talon murdering some guards and failing to kill Isis, plus Murphy getting his hand on the wood (tee-hee) in the prologue. Impressive. True, it took some time for Murphy to get going in the first book, but at least the villains were already active by this point*. But I guess Ruby was right, this book just is a ‘what to do’ guide for evangelicals with, relucltantly, an adventure story attached.

    * Even though nothing whatsoever came of most of it. I mean, have we heard anything about the manipulated media messages demonizing Born Again Bible Believing Christians (that phrase will never get old) for their alleged role in the UN vandalizing and church bomb factory?

  2. “Honey, I’m sorry, but I’m right. Hey! I said sorry and everything!”

    Presumably the Murphy Way to a Happy Marriage is to give your wife the chance to disagree with you, then (because you are right) do the thing you’d planned anyway.

  3. Is this scene supposed to be foreshadowing, or some kind of Chekhov’s Gun deal? Like, does Murphy walk into a deathtrap later that can only be escaped by bench-pressing?

    ISIS: “We’re doomed! That crushing block — it must be at least two hundred pounds!”

    MURPHY [ripping off shirt]: “Spot me, sweetheart.”

    • Vermic, I’m now seeing Murphy played by Sean Connery circa 1998. It’s not pretty.

    • Isn’t there a scene just like this in Batman Begins? Bruce Wayne has some big piece of the Batmansion fall on him, and Alfred asks him, “What’s the point of all those sit-ups if you can’t get that off you?”

  4. But next time, we will actually get some HOT PLANNING ACTION.

    She blinded me with LOGISTICS!

  5. But, slightly more seriously… you can really see how different a book is with a different not-even-pretending ghost writer.

    Also? Michael Murphy should be the last douchenozzle anyone goes to for relationship advice, even if one is looking for douchenozzle-grade advice.

  6. Also, I will say I was relieved to see the story actually admit that “I explain to my wife that her way is wrong and my way is right and she gets mad at me.” is not a reasonable position to take. It’s may be a ‘have a cookie’ situation, but still, given Christian writing thus far I was actually suprised that Murphy responded with a reprimand instead of with a bro-fist.

    Although as vmink said, Murphy showed how he would deal with woman questioning his decisions to risk his life finding Methuselah’s table scraps . Don’t listen to her, then when she questions your actions, dodge the question. Preferably with statements that aren’t technically lies but you know will be misunderstood.

    Seriously, sorry for the tangent, but those scenes in Left Behind and other Christian dreg piss me right off. Their solution to ‘should you lie to do X?’, IMHO, tells you everything you need to know about their moral system. Namely
    A: You must never lie, even if other people’s lives are riding on it.
    Which means: God doesn’t give a shit about you or any of your loved one’s lives, only that you obey his rules.
    B: You may say something that is technically true, but which you know will make other people believe something that is false.
    Which means: God’s rules are completely arbitrary. He does not prohibit bearing false witness for the damage it may do, or the sinfulness of misleading other human beings. He’s fine with either of that happening. There is no reason for the rule, other than to let God check if you obey it.
    C: You are safe if you can find some kind of reasoning as to why what you said is true, no matter how clearly it sounds like a false statement.
    Which means: God is a rule lawyer. Although he is omnicient, he still only cares about obedience to the letter of his rules, not the spirit.

    Combine it all, and I must conclude that these people worship a being that they actively know to not care about human life or well-being, only about strict adherence to completely arbitrary rules that may be about treating others with kindness, but actually treating others with kindness is in fact completely irrelevant. Only blind obedience to the arbitrary rules matters. That’s pretty much the attitude you need to start a bloody holy war in god’s name.

    • [like!]

      The Cthulhu-cult makes much more sense. Cthulhu doesn’t care about how you treat your fellow human beings. Cthulhu regards all humans in the same light (yes, all right, as nummy ‘thulhu-treats, but nobody’s perfect). Nowhere in the Necronomicon will you find anything to support a holy war.

    • I also liked Diamanda Hagan’s explanations on why her Evil Overlord persona was a better god than the one in Rapture movies.

      “I don’t need my followers to kill unbelievers, because I can take care of that myself, thank you very much.”

      “Unlike me, I will only torture you for a finite amount on time.”
      — Vote Diamanda Hagan for God 2012! —

    • Likety-like!

      Also, what’s interetsing is the amount of projection they do. They lie for God, so they have to make out like the whole rest of the world is a bunch of no-good backstabby backstabber-thugs, because otherwise it wouild look like a pack of self-serving rationalizations to say “Well, *shading the truth* is fine BECAUSE LOOK JESUS.”

  7. (I always thought it wasn’t the safest thing in the world to lift without a spot, but wow, it’s sure manly, eh?)

    Pretty much! Anyone who wants to risk choking themselves or a crushed chest lifts without a spotter. (O.o)

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