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Ben Zuckert | Straight out of the Bible

Moses and me

Published: Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 02:12

This is it: my final column. From goatskins to penis skins, it’s been a great semester. I could spend this column reflecting on what I’ve learned, but that wouldn’t fill a whole column.

First, though, I want to say thank you to Moses for putting these stories down on papyrus. I couldn’t have done it without you. That’s why this week it’s just the two of us: Moses and me.

In Deuteronomy 34, Moses finally arrives at the Promised Land but doesn’t get to enter. How could he have gotten this far and not be let in? Apparently, he struck a rock to get water out of it instead of speaking to it, as God had instructed. That’s it? After 40 years of wandering the desert, that’s the reason?

So Moses climbs a mountain, looks at the land and says, “Damn, I would love to Instagram this right now.” Then he dies. But this isn’t any ordinary death — it’s “at the mouth of Yahweh.” Yes, that’s right, Moses dies when God kisses him. They only got to first base, and for that we repent.

So, does my life have any relation to Moses’? Absolutely.

It’s graduation, May 2014, and joy is in the air. I sit in my seat and think to myself, “I am completely unemployable.” Soon, I’m asleep and start to dream about my first job interview: “So, Mr. Zuckert, it appears you have an odd fixation on foreskin. Care to comment?” I turn white. I can’t believe he’s read my column. “I was young then,” I tell him. “It was ... senior year of college.”

The guy in the seat next to me wakes me up because we’re about to go on stage to receive our degrees. The political science department chair calls his name and says, “Give these graduates a big round of applause.” I’m standing at the side of the stage in shock. I run up to the dude in the robe and tell him, “There must be some kind of clerical error. You didn’t call my name.” The dude stares at me and asks, “Who are you?” I look around and watch everyone hugging their families and taking pictures. I see my dad holding my mom, who’s in tears, and my sister shaking her head. I’ve ruined the family name.

I hop off the stage and sprint toward Dowling. I immediately stop to catch my breath because it’s the first time I’ve exercised all semester. I finally get inside, but Dowling’s a ghost town. There’s only one person on campus who can remedy the situation.

I run over to Gifford House, where I find Monaco sipping on an Appletini in a large leather chair. “Monaco, something’s gone horribly wrong,” I tell him. “I’ve been waiting for you, Benjamin,” he says. “Please, take a seat.” The problem is, there are no other seats, so I have to sit on the floor. It’s a key power move by Monaco. “You’ve shown no academic or personal growth in your four pathetic years at Tufts,” he tells me. “You’ve been removed from the system.” I watch him finish his Appletini. “Removed from the system?” I ask. Monaco stands up from his chair and lights a Cuban cigar. “I’m afraid so,” he says, and takes a puff. “Oh, and before I forget, I’ve enlisted you in the military.” A single tear runs down my face. “I’m not built for it!” I cry. Then I feel another tap on my shoulder. I wake up and realize it was just a dream within a dream. Everyone’s staring at me because I’ve been talking out loud the entire time.

But unlike Moses, I get to live in the Promised Land: my parents’ house.



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

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