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Tiny Tom's Talks with Dear Old God

Archer Swift

ISBN-10: 154253013X

Tiny Tom is an eight-year-old British schoolboy – that is, a boarding schoolboy at a boys-only ‘public school’. This is actually a private school set in a remote and chilly part of the island.  As Tom daydreams in class after class, a mountain of questions rises in his consciousness about The Meaning of Life.

His teachers, including men of the cloth, merely respond by saying ‘Have faith!”. Tiny Tom is counseled just to accept the mountain of mysteries that rise up before him. Why is grass green? Why is hair? Why are clouds? Why are we here?

In his dreams, he turns to what he thinks is The Ultimate Authority. This is an entity commonly known as ‘God’. It turns out that this entity prefers to be known simply as ‘We’ or D.O.G. (Dear Old God).

The revelations that follow would likely mortify most clergy across the entire religious divide – and yet, as The Ultimate Authority answers Tiny Tom’s questions emerge, he learns with increasing clarity why all creatures great and small are here at all.

Many years later, Tiny Tom as an older adult revisits the questions and answers in his quest for clarity.  

Grass, Gravity, and Why Hair Is Rarely Rare

Tom (T) : So,, Dog, I have lots more questions. Here’s one about grass. Why is grass, and why is it green?

 Dear Old God (DOG or D): Why not? I mean, can you imagine living your life as a human on mud alone? And as for color, I did try purple. But the horses were allergic…and it gave the spiders dizzy spells. Then I tried blue…sky blue, in fact. Thought it would blend rather nicely with the heavens. But then the birds couldn’t handle it and kept flying into the grass. Then I said—let’s find a color contrast that works. I then tried green, and it worked beautifully! So then, I thought, let me make all the trees brown and, for contrast, make the leaves green. Birds loved them; these gave them cover, somewhere to hide and sleep and lay their eggs. Then, as an afterthought, I created the Irish and the Muslims, and, just as I predicted, they all just adored anything green. So there!

 T: But why not red grass, or bright yellow?

 D: Why not indeed! But I ruled out red because it looked too hot…and if blood were spilled, no one would see it. And yellow—well, I felt that would be a nice accent color…but better for flowers than for grass.

T: That’s so interesting, Dog! Thank you. Here’s my next question. Why is gravity? Why do we have to have gravity? Our science teacher showed us a movie of men in space, and they seemed fine just floating around!

D: Dear boy, do you really want to live in a world where everyone and everything is just floating around?

 T: No, but couldn’t we just lock down the things that need to be locked down and let the rest float?

 D: But, child, do you seriously believe that humans could ever agree in the first place about what should be locked down and what shouldn’t?

 T: Maybe not, Dog! But here’s another thing I still don’t understand. Hair. Why do we need hair? And why do we have hair in all those funny places?

 D: Several good reasons, dear boy, like keeping the head and other hairy parts of the human body warm and acting like a blanket.

 T: But my daddy has hair under his arms. My mummy does so too—but she’s always shaving it off. So, what’s the point of having hair in the first place if people just shave it off?

 D: Well, boy, let’s go over the hairy parts of the human body, one by one. Obviously, you don’t have a very smart biology teacher! First—there are what you humans call “chemicals” in the body. The ones that come out of the hair and that helped bring your mommy and daddy together are what humans call sex pheromones. They smell—yes, they do smell, and quite intentionally so. They’re not exactly nice, as smells go—they are a happy medium! The notion I had was to use them to get people of the opposite sex excited enough to increase their sex drive. And that helps create babies.

 T: But, Dog, when my daddy comes back home after running for exercise, the smell from his armpits is…yuk! Does that make him sexy?

 D: Hardly, son! But that’s because when the body sweats, the sweat chemicals get mixed up with the nicer-smelling ones.

 T: But Mommy doesn’t run, and I don’t think she sweats. But she’s always shaving under her arms. Why?

 D: Perhaps you should ask her why?

 T: Well, if she shaves there, then won’t she stop being sexy?

 D: Dear boy, I really don’t think that’s for you to say. I’ve already told you how hair helps spread the nice smells around.

 T: Well, why does my daddy have hair down there, where he pees? I think Mommy does too, because I think I saw it when I surprised her last week in the bathroom. Is it supposed to smell good down there too? And, why would anyone want to put their nose down there anyway?

 D: So many questions, so little intelligence, dear boy! Did your daddy ever tell you about the birds and the bees?

 T: Well, yes, he did tell me once about a woodpecker that pecked its beak at a tree till it made a hole, and then it went in there…and about a bee called Honey…

 D: Well, in a manner of speaking, he was right. You see, child, mummies and daddies sometimes like to…touch…each other. It’s all part of making babies.

 T: Does that mean when I see Mom and Dad touch each other that they are making another baby?

 D: Our short answer to that is—no.

 T: Well, so we talked about the hair on the head and down there. So why do my mommy and my daddy both have hairy legs? Is that to keep them warm too, or do they have smelly chemicals on them too that make my mom and dad want to make more babies?

 D: Understand, dear child, that your ancestors did not have warm beds with blankets as you now do to sleep in, or even clothes to wear. Therefore, I gave men and women hairy legs—they were the very first blankets! Now, some of the ladies have evolved since then to a point where they like to show off their legs as another way to attract men. That’s why they shave them…though unfortunately, some don’t shave them, ever.

 T: That’s funny. Because sometimes I see my dad looking at other women’s legs. Does that mean he wants to make babies with other women too?

 D: That is a question I suggest you ask your father directly, son, and perhaps when you are a bit older. But meanwhile, let me share some fascinating facts with you about hair, as you have so much curiosity. I already told you the average human scalp contains more than one hundred thousand hairs. And that the average human loses forty to one hundred strands of hair each day. Right? That means an average head of hair would be completely lost every four years unless it grew back, because one hundred thousand hairs divided by an average seventy hairs lost per day equals about four years! Isn’t that fascinating?

 T: Dog, I don’t get good grades at math! But it does sound interesting!

 D: And did you also know that beards are the fastest-growing hairs on the human body? And that if the average man never trimmed his beard, it would grow to almost thirty feet long?  And did you also know that blonds have more hair than dark-haired people? We could go on and on! Isn’t hair just a wonderful invention, Tom?

 T: This is great! I’m learning so much about hair. But can I ask you a question about life? Why am I here in the first place?

 D: Good question!

 T: Well, my history teacher says that Homo sapiens appeared more than 250,000 years ago, when stone tools were first used by people. But why did humankind appear, only to die and disappear? What’s the point?

 D: Well, you know, I always rather liked games, especially games of chance…even though I always know the outcome. Anyway, I thought it might be rather fun to create millions upon millions of people and lots of different Earth languages alone (there’s about sixty-nine hundred of them, by the way) so that people could confuse one other, misunderstand each other’s motives, and end up squabbling over their possessions. Then, I would just sit back and amuse myself watching the unbelievable mess they would make!

 T: But you mean I’m just here, all of us are here, just so you can just have fun?

 D: Basically…yes!

 T: But my religious teacher says we’re all here on Earth to be tested and to see if we should go either to heaven or to hell. He says that at least all the Jews and Christians and Muslims believe that. Is he right, or not?

 D: Well, let’s put it like this. While you live, your life can be fun—and sometimes not. And I never said you must live like this or that, did I? I just suggested a couple of ways to live so that people might possibly choose to behave better with each other. Fat lot of good that did, but at least I tried. So, we left it to you all to decide.

 T: But you said you always know the outcome of everyone’s lives. So why bother to have human or any other lives in the first place?

 D: Well, it’s just fun creating a life and watching it play out, with all its ups and downs.

 T: So, does that explain why I was never asked to be here in the first place? And why I have no idea what will happen to any part of me when I die?

 D: Basically, yes. You’re my toy.

 T: Then it doesn’t matter really if I pass or fail my exams, because it’s all pointless anyway?

 D: Well…I wouldn’t want you to tell your teachers that, but…but basically, yes, you’re right.

"An insatiable curiosity, a healthy skepticism of orthodoxy and a reasoned irreverence for bedrock tenants of all the world's religions are front and center in this latest tome of Archer Swift.

One must surely empathize with Swift's parents during his pre-boarding school days in having to address his barrage of "WHY" questions so prevalent among young children.

It is our good fortune that Swift, unlike so many, refused to abandon the "WHY" question in his quest to understand the profound and consequential issues facing all adults. In the persona of an eight year old boy, Swift has the temerity to address his "WHY" questions to none other than God. And, he gets answers! Even Moses did not enjoy such an inquisitional dialogue with God.

Inter alia, the reader encounters discussions about the gender of God, the defective design of the human body, the real reason God populated the Earth with humans, God's disclaimer of biblical text and God's disfavor with the religious "mumbo jumbo" of all clergy.

Interspersed throughout are anecdotes recited by God to emphasize his responses to Tom's questions. Although the topics addressed in the book are deep and profound, they are addressed in a non-dogmatic and, in some instances, humorous fashion.

It is a book well worth reading for multiple reasons, not the least of which is that you will have to ponder the question posed by Swift after quoting Genesis 1:31: "And God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. " Really....?" - RBW

"The questions that Tiny Tom poses to DOG are timeless and, for some readers, they are the same ones that they themselves have been searching for the answers for some time. For others, like me, who have not been thinking much, if any, about these questions, well here they are. And, the author navigates the reader through this challenge without dogmatic pressure or preaching. In fact, Swift's delivery is quite logical and fact based with an undercurrent of humor that is relaxing and a whole lot of fun. This is another winner from Archer Swift." - RB.