Thursday, October 23, 2008


Dateline October 19, 2008


I am a leper. I have been declared unclean. Along with 1200 of my fellow lepers, I have been exiled from society. We live in a leper colony encaged by two high fences encircled by spools of razor wire and perimeter alarms. Guards armed with high-powered rifles stand atop tall towers watching us, prepared to kill anyone foolish enough to flee. I will remain exiled until I am declared clean again, after the priests conduct ritual sacrifices, and I can return to society.

I didn't realize I was a leper until I read the Book of Leviticus in the Holy Bible one day. Chapters 13 and 14 explained it all to me, why I must be exiled, live outside the camp, and what must happen before I can return.

Silly me. I thought I was in jail, under arrest for murder, but that didn't make sense. I hadn't murdered anyone. Surely I would have remembered. So it must have been something else. Little did I know I was a leper, surrounded by other lepers, awaiting the ceremony that would direct me to the leper colony.

I thought he was a judge, but he was actually a priest, the only one qualified to decide whether I stay inside the tribe or must go out into the wilderness, calling out, "Unclean, unclean," to whomever approaches me. That must be true, since the priests' helpers (we call them guards) put on rubber gloves before they run their hands over us and examine us quite frequently. They aren't quite as stringent now as they were 3000 years ago. We are allowed visitors, but before we go to the special area set aside for us, we must strip off our clothes so the priests' helpers can examine us. They are particularly interested in looking at our private parts, and we have to perform a ceremonial dance where we turn our backs on them in unison, spread our "cheeks," as they call them (this is very embarrassing, but after they've made you do this dance several hundred times, you can blot it out), alternately lift our feet, squat down, and cough. They must be checking our lung function.

After the ceremony, we enter the special area where our family members await. They've already been through a similar ritual, but they leave their clothes on. We have very limited touching, an embrace and a kiss, and can only hold hands. I suppose that's to prevent them from catching anything from us. We don't want to spread our disease to loved ones.

When we return to our exile area, we go through a similar exit ritual, with the ceremonial dance without clothing.

I've been in exile for a long time - a lifetime, it seems, and twice I've been before a triumvirate of high priests who determine whether I am still unclean, or can return to my tribe. I didn't realize they were high priests - we called them parole commissioners, and I didn't realize what we were doing wrong until I reread the rules in the Bible. We don't have any doves or pigeons for the sacrifices, or the bucket of fresh water, the quantity of flour and oil, or the male and female lambs. No wonder they wouldn't release me!

This next time I'm going to ask my countrymen to bring the offerings and sacrifices to the high priests' temple in Tallahassee, ask a priest to sacrifice the birds, drip their blood in the fresh water, dip the dove into it, then free it to fly into the desert. After he sacrifices the male lamb, rubs the blood, flour and oil on me, cleansing me, then, cooks the sacrifice, there's a good chance I'll be declared clean, free of the leprosy, and allowed to return to my people. It is worth a try. What do I have to lose?


Vox Populi said...

Vox Populi said...

read that. my comments to you and my blog on the subject have a lot of people out here mighty pissed. Which, since they're actively harming myself and family and involved in stealing from all of us and MURDER in my own family, I don't give a DAMN.
Anyway .... read that post.