Round about 800 B.C. there was this guy named Jonah living over in the east Mediterranean. Despite living in one of the worst places ever, Jonah actually had a pretty sweet gig over on the West Bank seeing as how all he ever did was pray, prophesy, and smoke hookah at “Jonah’s Brothers”, his brothers’ hookah lounge/off-track-betting parlor. Yeah, life was pretty sweet for our man Jonah.
Then one day Jonah’s boss (aka God) stopped by and told him to pack his bags cause he was getting transferred to this real crap-hole called Ninevah for awhile, and just like that his life of leisure came crashing down like a Jenga tower next to Stevie Wonder.
See, God was pretty pissed at the Ninevites for a buncha different stuff, and he wanted Jonah to go tell them that they had thirty days to clean up their acts or they were gonna get Sodomized. (This being the ancient usage of “sodomized” meaning “destroyed by fire from heaven” as opposed to the contemporary usage which means…well, you know.)
Needless to say, Jonah wasn’t too thrilled about the relocation. Not only was Ninevah 2,000 miles from a decent fish taco, it was populated with the highest concentration of degenerates this side of Oakland. There isn’t a word in English to express the disgust the ancients had for Ninevah, but Spanish people have one. They call it “Los Angeles” which, as you know, translates into English as “the city of a-holes.” That’s what Ninevah was: a city of a-holes.
So Jonah, red-blooded, Ninevah-hating patriot that he was, said “screw that noise” and hopped on a ship headed in the opposite direction. Great plan, right? Wrong. See, Jonah’s boss had this whole “all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present God of the universe” thing going on. So he knew exactly what Jonah was up to. In later years, Jonah would admit that this was an oversight on his part.
God saw Joe-Joe making a beeline toward a place which was definitely not Ninevah, and proceeded to whip up a wicked huge storm. Think The Perfect Storm meets Deadliest Catch meets the end of The Little Mermaid meets Hurricane Katrina. The thing was massive. Now, normally in a situation like this you would figure out who was responsible for the gigantic hurricane by playing paper-scissors-rock or something like that, but paper and scissors hadn’t been invented yet so Jonah’s shipmates went with the next fairest thing: drawing straws. (Note: The drawing of straws is still the preferred method of criminal prosecution in many parts of the world you never want to visit.)
Surprising to no one, Jonah drew the short straw. The other sailors asked what he’d done to cause the storm and Jonah was like, “Oh nothing much, just disobeyed a direct order from the sovereign creator of the earth and the oceans” and the other sailors were like “What are you, retarded?! Quick, let’s pray to that guy and ask him to hold off on killing us!” But Jonah didn’t want to live the rest of his life like a fugitive, always on the run, just waiting for the day when either God or Tommy Lee Jones would jump out from behind a crate and pistol whip him. So he said, “Nah. Just go ahead and chuck me overboard.” So that’s what they did. And then he got eaten by a whale.
Rough day for Joe-Joe, no doubt. But, as those of you who have seen Pinocchio know, the inside of a whale is not necessarily a terrible place to spend a few days. If Jonah hadn’t spent his weekend in the whale whining, and apologizing, and trying not to breathe through his nose he might have had a real nice time in there. After three days of this gastrointestinal griping, the whale got sick of listening to Jonah cry and puked him and several tons of popcorn shrimp from Red Lobster up onto a beach.
Upon exiting the whale, Jonah headed straight for Ninevah. When he got to the city, he marched right to the corner of Hollywood Blvd and Highland Ave and started spitting the truth hot and heavy. After a couple days of righteous ranting and raving, our man Jonah had built up some serious street cred. Word started to spread from farmers market to gluten-free restaurant to pet salon to ultra-lounge that things were about to take a turn for the apocalyptic and a weird thing happened: people started listening.
Everywhere you looked people were laying down their wine skins, Satanic Bibles, and pornographic parchments and repenting of their evil ways. Skyy Bar closed down. Hooters emptied out. Athletes quit hitting their wives. Desperate actresses quit humping their way into jobs and drugs – as had been their custom. Ninevah had itself an honest-to-goodness, Bill Graham-style revival. The city was saved and everyone was psyched. Everyone except Jonah, that is.
Turns out Jonah still hated the place and was actually pretty stoked about having a front row seat for the fire-bombing. When he realized the fireworks had been cancelled, he started moping around like Al Gore after the 2000 Elections.
By this time, God was pretty well fed-up with Jonah’s bitching. So he went down and killed the plant Jonah was pouting beneath. True to form, Jonah started in with his usual “woe is me” bull spit. “Waaahh, I’m Jonah. My life is sooooo terrible. Waaaaahh. I wish I’d never been born. Waaa-.” God didn’t even let him finish. “You shut your mouth when you’re talking to me!” He said. “I do what I want when I want and I don’t need some little piece of whale vomit like you telling me my business.”
Jonah finally got it. He apologized to God for being such a baby and he apologized to the people of Ninevah for being such an a-hole. He grabbed a fro-yo on his way out of town and hopped in the next fish bound for Tel Aviv.