[To read The Family Lukenglasse from the beginning click here.]
Ron Kim was fifteen and had been living in and out of American boarding schools his whole life. For the past year, he had been living at the Lukenglasse home against his fervent wishes. Upon starting high school, his parents thought it wise for him to actually experience some family life and signed him up with a foreign exchange program that took him from the familiarity of his dorm life and transplanted him into the loving arms of the Lukenglasse family. There was nothing Ron Kim could do about it.
His family was perpetually on vacation. And though most of their time was spent sipping champagne from crystal flutes on Paris balconies or avoiding the sun in exotic Cote de Azur, they felt their son needed to learn how to be a proper businessman and understand the true nature of money and the American work ethic, and what better way to learn this then by living in the land that originated the free market itself. After fifteen years, while Ron knew nothing but America, business, math and the economy, he barely knew anything about his parents, Korea, the taste of pricey caviar on his tongue, or even the feel of his mother’s hand on his head. His parents took this as a wild success and rarely regretted their decision, frequently boasting about their good deed of shipping the boy off and educating him American style, even if that meant that they couldn’t remember the shape of his head on a pillow or the length of his arm as he reached for salt across a table.
And for Ron himself, he rarely thought twice about his parents, that is until he moved into 134 Berry Tree Lane with the Lukenglasse family and found himself repeatedly cursing his parents’ names. It seemed that it would be no different on the day that Miranda sauntered into his room asking for advice about God.
Ron Kim was not exactly the best person to go looking for advice from when that advice entailed a deity and the probability of him turning up in an atheist home. It wasn’t that Ron didn’t believe in God or the odds of him gracing his presence here on Earth, it was just that he believed in so many other things that disproved the likelihood of their being a God instead. For starters, he believed in the language of mathematics and its characters in triangles, circles and other geometric figures, as Galileo would say. He believed in Poor Richard’s Almanac and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Thought experiments and rationalization always trumped guided meditation and prayer readings. If he had any religious leanings it was toward the Force and there were fantasies of Princesses involved, not virginal mothers. Suffice it to say, Ron believed in Science, rational thinking and the ability to logically figure out any problem that may arise using one’s own mind.
Mira tapped Ron’s shoulder as he sat in front of his computer screen, “Ron, I have a question.”
“You always have one question or another at any time so you might as well get to asking it,” Ron responded without turning around, his fingers furiously clicking away as he instant messaged his friend down the street.
Mira was not one to take to sarcasm or disdain so she continued as calm as before, “You see Ron, God is playing poker in my closet—“
“’I shall never believe that God plays dice with the world.’ Albert Einstein,” Ron quoted.
“I didn’t say God was playing dice, I said he was playing poker.”
Ron tolerated Mira like one would a little sister who was very, very slow. He swiveled around giving her his full attention, “What are you trying to say?”
“There’s a man…he says his name is God, or Mr. God or something like that…who is playing poker in my closet. I told him he could stay, but I don’t think that Gus would like that so much. So then he told me not to tell Gus, but I don’t think that I can do that either. So I was wondering if you could tell me what to do since you’re so good at telling me what I should be thinking all the time.”
“First off, how many times do I have to tell you that I am not telling you how to think, I am only presenting logical explanations to the mental ‘problems’ you so often find yourself in and hope that you hypothesize correctly and when you don’t I spell it out for you a little better? And secondly, I’m not fully understanding the conundrum. There’s a man in your room? God’s playing poker? Was this another dream? Remember when I told you that sometimes we have movies in our heads at night but it doesn’t mean the things really happened?”
“This is what I know. I heard a strange noise in my closet and I found a man digging around for some bow or tie or something and he told me his name was God and then asked if he could stay awhile.”
Ron rubbed his head, “This theory has a variety of surprising consequences that seem to violate common sense.”
Miranda looked up at him with big empty eyes like a fish begging for food.
Ron could only come to one rational conclusion. Miranda was making it all up. Much as Gus forbade religion for his own superfluous reasons, Ron just simply did not believe in religion, or God for that matter. As his favorite physicist would say, “If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.” So in one of his well practiced condescending looks, Ron graced Miranda with a reply.
“Tell your father whatever you want. It won’t matter in the long run because God doesn’t really exist.” And Mira took this advice straight to heart and marched right downstairs for breakfast to announce to her father that there was a man that didn’t exist playing poker in her closet.