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Ben Zuckert | Straight Out of the Bible

Fire up the grill

Published: Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 01:10

Last week I said I’d reveal if God exists and after much deliberation, I’m ready to put it all on the line. The answer is yes, there is indeed a god and his name is Walt “Clyde” Frazier, former point guard for the New York Knicks. Currently a commentator, he wears cow-print suits and has a better command of the English language than William Shakespeare. He uses the word “percolate” and rhymes nearly everything. He also frequently says, “you know who the Knicks could use right now? Ben Zuckert. Once you look past his complete lack of muscle and four-inch vertical leap, you’ll see a kid who’s definitely ready for the NBA.”

If I could write this whole thing about Walt Frazier, I totally would, but I can’t because I have editors.

Okay, this week we’re moving on to the fourth book of the Bible: Numbers. In Numbers 11, the Israelites have been wandering the desert for a while and start to complain about the lack of food:

“If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost — also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic.”

That diet sounds incredible — probably super local and organic as well. You can’t blame them. Then they asked, “Where is the corned beef? Where is the tender pastrami?”

I think I regret making that joke, but I had to do it.

So what did the Israelites have to eat? Basically all they had was manna, which was like “coriander seed and looked like resin.” Okay, that sounds terrible, but it gets better.

“It tasted like something made with olive oil.”

Who doesn’t like olive oil? And who complains after being freed from slavery? Moses hears their complaints and speaks to God.

“What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me?”

Moses is so troubled about it, he continues.

“If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me.” 

This is my kind of leader.

Some other things happen and then God creates a wind, which drops three feet worth of quail around the Israelites’ camp. All is good in the biblical hood, right? No, because two Israelites were prophesying so God hits them with a plague. Everyone knows Moses can be the only prophet. Well, not according to Moses, who says, “I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” Moses has some serious issues.

Let’s take it back to Tufts. Jumbos have the luxury of really good dining hall food, but sometimes those options can get repetitive. So when you call home, you say to your mom, “Mom, I miss your cooking — your chicken pot pie, your chocolate cake, your slow-roasted pork with Cajun seasoning.” Then your mom says, “You want me to send that stuff up to you?”

You start to dance a little bit, but then you hear a low voice come on the line: “Son, your mom’s not sending you any of that. You hear me?” You answer, “Fine, dad. She was just offering.” Then he says, “When I was at college all I ate was bread and meatloaf.” You say, “You didn’t even go to college.” And he says, “That’s right because I’m a self-made man. So cook your own food, goddamn it.”

Your dad hangs up the phone, but luckily your sweet, sweet mother is still on the line and she agrees to send you some meat. You eat it and then realize it wasn’t refrigerated. You get food poisoning (the plague), but watch “The Wire” so your roommate finally stops telling you about it.

Ben Zuckert is a senior majoring in political science. He can be reached at

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