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ST. JOE STEP DAD

Learn the secrets to step parenting the son of God.

ST. JOE, STEP DAD

by Joe Reister © 2009

Yes, that’s right, that’s correct, I am, without a doubt, St. Joseph; husband to the ‘virgin’ Mary, step dad to Jesus, and an on again, off again friend to the big G, God himself or as we called him back in the day, Yahweh.  And without being too cocky, I’d say I know something about step fathering.  How many of you reading this article can say that you’ve personally talked to the guy who said to Moses, “I am the God of thy father,” and then told the big guy that he was being a deadbeat dad and that he needed to talk to his son more. 

Having said that, my advice on step fathering hasn’t always gone over that well.  I tried this publishing thing once before and was shot down, hard, by a publisher who I won’t mention, but let’s just say the whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth.

The thing is I’m not sure if I should blame the publisher.  A well known actor, whose name I won’t mention, but let’s call him Bill or maybe Paul, either or, just so that you can have a reference, okay?  This guy, Bill, he’d written a book about fatherhood or babyhood or something, and wanted me to do a chapter on being a step dad.  He asked me at a party if I’d do it, and I said, sure, why not, it’s not like step fathering is astrophysics or brain surgery or something hard.  It’s pretty simple stuff.  Plus, I’d known Bill for a few years around the New York summer circuit and he seemed like a nice enough guy, at least for an actor.  Sure, he was a bit self centered and insecure, but he agreed that he’d make a donation to a charity of my choice if I wrote something up, so I said “why not.”  I mean, as the stepfather of God and a saint to boot, I’m pretty well taken care of, but I still do the occasional miracle and some charity work now and then, and every little bit helps.

In fact, I had Bill’s donation pegged to help build some housing on the outskirts of Mexico City.  Twenty million people live in that megalopolis, and a lot of them should have something better than the shantytowns that they call home.  I had in mind low-level track housing, with two or three bedrooms each and one and a half baths.  I’ve got another organization working out the plumbing and electrical connections to Mexico City’s main grids, and I figured Bill would be happy to help out with some start up capital for these poor, hard working folks.  He certainly seemed interested when I first mentioned it to him.

Actors are finicky, though, and things changed.  Bill read my chapter and gave it, at best, a luke-warm response.  He said it had some interesting ideas, which I figured meant mediocre to okay: kind of like when you go on a date and you say the man or woman was interesting, but really mean, “see you, wouldn’t want to be you.”  Bill’s publisher, who again I won’t name, not even by its initials, felt differently.  They plain didn’t like it.  Some editor named Miguel - don’t worry, he now works in the auto industry - told me that I was too controversial and too straightforward.  He said not only did I sound sacrilegious, but that I had pretty much covered all that really needed to be said about step fathering and fathering in general in ten pages or less, and that nobody would bother to look at the rest of the book after reading my chapter.  And he didn’t like my take on Jesus, Mary and God either. 

I heard those words, looked Mike in the eye and laughed: like I’d make up anything about my wife, my step kid or his biological dad.  It wasn’t my fault if the Apostles and all the other religious types screwed up the truth with bad revisions and complete lies.  Step fathering and fathering in general was easy.  What did Mike want me to tell him?

I never figured that out exactly, but let me tell you, what I wrote didn’t meet Mike’s standards.  Still, at least Mike told me straight out that he didn’t like the story.  Bill just avoided me after that like the plague.  Probably because he had a seething gut of guilt for not helping those folks in Mexico City.

Believe it or not, though, I’m not bitter about my first attempt at writing.  I mean, sure, Bill should’ve thrown a few dollars to help get some housing for the folks in Mexico City like he said he was going to, but he didn’t. 

I still got some housing going without him.  I’m a saint after all and I have my ways to make up for the shortcomings in people like Bill.  I just looked through my little black book and managed to find some other donor, one who was able to keep his word.  And Bill and I squared things out eventually too.  He’s a major contributor to lots of good causes, and everybody gets to make a few mistakes.  Unfortunately, Mike the editor made too many in the publishing industry and that’s why he’s changing oil now at Jiffy Lube.  Luckily, he’s good at it and enjoys the work.

Everything turned out all right in the end because the lovely periodical you’re holding is publishing my words of wisdom, and I did get some more cash for that housing in Mexico City.  The fee’s not what Bill would’ve given, but whatever; you have to take what you can get.

Enough of my woes, though.  You didn’t start this story expecting to hear my complaints about the highways and byways of the publishing industry or about my dealing with flaky actors.  My apologies.  Let’s get on with the business of raising a stepchild. 

Step fathering God, Jesus or however you want to look at it didn’t require any special tricks.  I didn’t need to be a saint, seek martyrdom or even go to temple, although going to temple was good because they had a nursery in the back and I could get some quiet time.  I highly recommend Hebrew school, Sunday school, Koranic study or whatever your religious preference is because it gives you a little free time from the kids.  It’s a little known fact, but that’s why religious education started in the first place.  Let the religious folks deal with the little rug rats so that the parents can kick back for a while and relax. 

Anyway, I didn’t do anything fancy with Jesus.  I just tried to deal with him in a respectful and mostly honest way, just like I did with the biological father and his mother.  And that’s just about all the wisdom I have to dole out.

Now, don’t get me wrong, step fathering the Son of God wasn’t a cakewalk.  Jesus and his biological dad were a handful, and I’ll get to that in a minute.  First, I’ve got to warn you that I’m about to say some things that might rattle a few cages and confuse those people out there who’ve read the Bible like it’s really from the mouth of God.  News flash, folks, it isn’t.  Those hacks who call themselves the gospel writers and Apostles got a lot of it wrong.  What I’m about to tell you is the straight dope from 2,000 years ago.  So, if you take the New Testament 100% at its word, you might want to go read the Bible some more or pick up a cheap paperback instead of reading my advice on step fathering.  I’m not saying the Bible isn’t a wonderful book.  It is, and I love it.  But it got many of the details wrong, making a lot of things divine when really they were just pretty average.

Okay, so now you’ve been warned.  Don’t write the publishers with complaints of heresy and that you didn’t like what you read.  If you don’t want to hear the details, just stop reading.  Go do something else.  Enjoy yourself.

Enough of the warning then. 

Let’s start with Jesus.  Wonderful baby.  Cute, pretty much quiet and compared to his biological dad, an angel.  Of course, if you think about it, babies are pretty easy to take care of.  They don’t do much more than eat, sleep and poop, and once you’ve figured out how to take care of those three essentials, you just keep going with what you know.  It’s later when the real problems start.  As you know, everyone from little kids to teenagers and adults eat, sleep and poop, but unlike babies, everyone else has other problems.  If all our children ever did in their lives was eat, sleep and poop, step fathering and fathering in general would be a snap.  Jesus was a champ at eating, sleeping and pooping.  I’d say he was the best eater, sleeper and pooper in the world; bar none.

Once the talking started, though, ooh, what a wiseass.  Jesus is the son of God, at least if you believe in the resurrection, the trinity and all the other stuff of Christianity, and as such he was one smart cookie, even as a little kid.  Once he said his first word I almost immediately yearned for the simple days of his just eating, sleeping and pooping.  Luckily, he treated most folks pretty well, but watch out if you were a pagan or a rabbi.  Watch out! 

Jesus couldn’t help but laugh at the Greek/Roman gods and how wimpy they were.  Every time somebody mentioned Zeus or Apollo, or whoever, Jesus would get this twinkle in his eye.  Then he’d flash a little grin and ask if it was true, that Zeus was King of the gods, hurler of lightening and able to turn into a swan or cow or whatever to seduce some young, buxom woman.  And when the person said, “yes, that is who Zeus is, and you’re a smart little boy,” Jesus would burst out laughing.  He’d make fun of Zeus and what a wimp he was compared to his Dad, God of all there is, who needed just six days to create the entire universe, and never worried about lightning or the need to turn into an animal to get chicks.  Jesus laughed and laughed, leaving me standing there, looking stupid and yanking Jesus away before I had to explain that I was only the kid’s step dad and not his real father.

It was even worse with the rabbis.  Jesus would get on them something fierce about how ramshackle the temple looked, and you never wanted to get the kid started on the thriving money changing businesses that set up their tables and stalls right next to the Torah.  He would start a verbal firestorm, arguing that God would never live with the sleazy merchants, and that the temple should stop trying to rent out their dilapidated space and try to spruce things up for Yahweh’s people.  This attitude went over about as well with the rabbis as it did with the pagans.  The rabbis called Jesus a young punk just before he’d tell them again that they should tidy up the Temple if they knew what was good for them.  The kid would stand there with a grin, and the rabbis would look at me with eyes that asked, “Why aren’t you smacking this kid upside the head?”  I’d just smile and say, “kids will be kids,” before getting us out of there quick. 

That “kids will be kids” line still worked when Jesus was a teen too, and that was good, because that smart mouth and puberty turned him into a real pain in the ass.  Jesus as God knew all about the joys of adolescence from the squeaky voice to the growing body and the embarrassing urges from a clinical point of view, but living through puberty was a different story and not one that made Jesus too happy.  Like every other teenager, Jesus was a moody, confused and short-tempered kid.  Fortunately, he never got too geeky or gangly looking as many teenagers do.  Actually, now that I think about it, luck probably had nothing to do with it.  I’d guess a little divine intervention helped in the looks department, but even without acne and the cracked voice, teen Jesus was still a pain in the ass.  He went through all the regular growing up, teenage nonsense that we all go through, and I figured I’d just ride it out like every parent does and hope not to kill him.  Looking back now, I’m happy I didn’t. 

I came close, though, when he hit sixteen or so.  That whole water to wine thing almost became a big problem.  Yes, I know that most kids drink, and have since grapes were harvested and beer brewed, but when you can just whip up some wine in a jiff, like Jesus could, you’ve really got to lay down some rules and lay them down fast.  Mine involved spending a lot more time together.  Jesus wasn’t thrilled about hanging around with me every waking moment for several months in a row, and I can’t say I loved dragging around a pissed off sixteen-year-old everywhere, but spending all that time together ensured that he wasn’t going to go on a bender just because he was near a well.

I guess Jesus’ rebellious, almost drunken, teen years were when I first got the kid involved seriously in carpentry.  I gave him a hammer to pound out his frustration and anger, and he learned a profession, while I kicked back and watched him do a lot of my grunt work.

And Jesus never minded the work.  He knew somewhere in his head behind the hormones that the water to wine prank was just that, and he didn’t want to get into trouble with Mary and me or his real dad; not when getting in trouble meant spending all of his free time with me.  Jesus wanted secretly to be an adult just like every other teenage punk, and after a week or two of rebelliousness combined with instruction on the finer points of carpentry, he started to master the hammer, the saw and the rest of the tools of the trade.  He got good at it too.

It surprised me that he was still a pain in the ass, though.  True he’d put aside most heavy miracle making and revelry, and he wasn’t such a smart ass once he grew up, but he was still a know it all, and once he learned the fine points of carpentry, he didn’t hesitate to start telling me how we should run the family business.  The first thing Jesus did was suggest we get out of carpentry.  Plain and simple he said Nazareth didn’t have enough tree cover and lumber for us to make it big time in the wood working business.  He said it didn’t make sense to be a carpenter when we were surrounded by a whole lot of sand and stone.  He thought we should become masons, and build brick and mortar houses.  Cabinetry, fixing up roofs and doing all types of woodwork didn’t appeal to the kid at all.  He was always questioning why we would bother with the small stuff of carpentry when we could be frying the bigger fish of building stone houses, and I could never get him to focus on the fine workmanship that I had built my reputation on.  Don’t get me wrong.  He was always good at pulling things down and hauling lumber and such around, but even when he became a full partner in J&J Carpentry I was still the guy customers came to see for finely detailed craftsmanship.  Jesus was the guy they saw if you wanted to knock down a roof.

He also harped on me to do more charitable work, particularly on the maintenance and upkeep of the temples.  I remember staring at him after he’d browbeat me for a week to volunteer to fix up the local rabbi’s office, and I said, “who do you think we are huh, the Salvation Army?”  Like the know-it-all he was, though, he just smiled at me.

What a pain in the ass.

You know who was even worse, though?  God.  Yes, compared to his biological dad, Jesus was a piker in the pain in the ass department.  That’s right, the big G, Yahweh himself is the universe’s biggest pain in the ass, and he’ll admit it to you, too, if you ask him.  Two thousand years ago he was always interfering in our lives, in big and small ways, and after talking to him for five minutes you could see where Jesus got his smart mouthed attitude. 

Yahweh’s actually a pretty friendly guy once you get to know him and he’ll talk about almost anything, but there is one subject you should avoid.  The logic of the trinity, that whole father, son and Holy Spirit thing, he’s a little touchy on it.  The way Yahweh tells it, the trinity was the greatest innovation since the wheel, but a lot people don’t see it that way, and I could never buy into it myself.  One entity in three roles always seemed more than a little confusing to me, not to mention a little bit incestuous.  Let me tell you, though, that if you do want to strike up a conversation about the trinity with the big G, incest is not a word you want to mention.  It pisses him off, and like mobsters and that Incredible Hulk character, Yahweh isn’t the kind of guy you want to see angry.  Remember, he’s the creator of the universe and all, so if he wants to defy logic and be the father and the son, not to mention the Holy Spirit or ghost or whatever, let him.  Trust me.  You’ll live longer.

With the trinity concept and the whole illogical loop of being the father and the son at the same time, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that Yahweh is a big, and I mean huge, practical joker.  Not only did he create the universe to include pain, death, puberty and the menstrual cycle, but he also likes to pick on individual people too.  Remember Job in the Old Testament?  Well, Yahweh wanted to have a little laugh in the New Testament too, and he thought he’d get started early as possible now that he’d spread his seed. 

The first joke was that Jesus was allergic to myrrh and frankincense, two of the three “gifts” that the wise men gave us at an event that may have been the first baby shower.  Mary and I thought the myrrh and frankincense were great, but when Jesus started sneezing himself to death we dumped it on the local farm hands who went home to spruce up their houses while we stayed in that manger.  Yahweh couldn’t stop laughing. 

Me, I didn’t see the humor in it. 

How is it funny that three ‘wise’ men come to that barn on the night of Jesus’ birth with gifts in hand if we just had to throw it out the next day for fear that the baby would have some kind or seizure or something?  You tell me.  How is that funny?

That wasn’t even close to the end of it either.  Just a little while after Mary could walk again and Jesus had his foreskin snipped off – another joke all by itself if you ask me - Yahweh wanted us to head out to Egypt to escape that fool, Herod, who had nothing better to do that year than wipe out the first born sons and daughters.  What was up with that and what was I supposed to do?  Not only did the biological father tell me to get out of Israel, but he reinforces the point by sending angels into my dreams and nearly scaring me to death.  Like Yahweh couldn’t have given Herod a few other things to worry about, like a real palace intrigue or an invading Roman army.  Has God ever thought about giving despots and tyrants, real and potential, a few more hobbies to occupy their time so that they can’t dream up ideas for picking on the common man?  Probably not, because Yahweh likes his little jokes.  He lives for those kinds of laughs.

Mary and I didn’t think that one was so funny, though.  We had to pluck down that gold from the three ‘wise’ men in order to head out to Egypt.  And if going to Egypt isn’t bad enough, you should remember that Mary had just given birth in front of all of God’s creatures and with those three guys from China and Indian just milling about.  She wasn’t too thrilled about that, and how could you blame her? 

But Yahweh wanted what Yahweh wanted and we hadn’t reached our boiling point yet.  Plus, you’ve got to at least listen to what the biological father wants, even if he is a pain in the ass, and particularly when he’s God.  Going to Egypt for a few months didn’t seem like a big deal at the time either, and if it were just a short trip Mary and I probably could’ve managed pretty easily.  In retrospect, though, a few months in Egypt turned into a real hassle.  I ended up losing a lot of business to the other carpenters of Jerusalem who had a field day while I was out of town.  Worse, by the time we returned to Israel we were penniless.  All of that gold that the wise men gave us went to a cheap loft, mediocre food and lots of baby stuff, all of which we had to leave behind when we traveled back to Israel. 

That’s when Yahweh pulled his third big prank.

Mary and I were looking forward to returning to Jerusalem on a whole lot of levels when Yahweh up and told us he wants us to move to Nazareth.  Now I don’t have anything against Nazareth and it’s a lot nicer than where we lived in Egypt, but Yahweh always told us that we’d only be in Egypt for a little while and Nazareth sounded like a long-term deal.  And it was a deal that Mary and I didn’t want to take.  Nazareth is a nice enough town, but it’s kind of small and I had gotten very used to the thrills and chills of Jerusalem, and I liked them a lot.  I moved to the big city to enjoy some place with more excitement and opportunity than my hometown of Bethlehem or the backwaters of Nazareth.  The urban vs. rural debate still rages on today, but to me, in the end, it comes down the fact that nobody can compare the theater and restaurant districts in Jerusalem with the dinner theater in Nazareth.  It’s just not happening. 

Worse, Nazareth didn’t have a huge need for carpenters.  Jesus was right when he said we would’ve made more money as masons, but in Jerusalem I was living like a king.  I had this great thing going with porches, and just after Mary and I had gotten married my business plan had started to take off.  I had like half a dozen requests to redo or build new porches.  They were the way of the future then, and I was riding the wave.  At least I was in Jerusalem.  Nazarenes didn’t take to porches.  They never seemed to like sitting outside.

Mary wasn’t too thrilled with Yahweh’s insistence that we move to Nazareth either.  She’d grown up in Jerusalem and loved its nightlife, its parks and its big city attitude.  Plus, she missed her parents.  Yahweh thought he was having another big laugh up to that point, and then Mary put her foot down.  She lit into him like a maelstrom over Sodom, telling him that, sure he might be Jesus’ biological father and everything, but that didn’t give him the right to be a jerk just because he thought it was funny.  She told the big G that enough was enough.  That we’d played his little travel games and such, and now it was time for him to “cut the crap.”  She said that if all he was going to do was be an ass, then he should get out of our hair and just let us raise the baby alone, because she had put up with enough and wasn’t going to take anymore.  And if Yahweh didn’t like it, well Mary told him he could raise his son himself.

Man, did that shut Yahweh up.  He was flummoxed.  I don’t think I’d even seen him speechless before that day, and I certainly haven’t since.  He sat down and listened to what Mary had to say, and then apologized, saying that he’d stay out of her way and let her run the show for a while as long as she settled down in Nazareth.  He couldn’t even look her in the eye when he said this, but she said yes anyway, because she could tell he was serious about keeping his nose out of our affairs, and because she agreed with Yahweh that raising their son in small town Nazareth would probably be better than in the bigger, badder Jerusalem.

You see Yahweh had his good points too.  Yes, he was a pain in the ass, but he also saved us from that nut Herod and he actually wasn’t too pushy, considering he’s all-powerful, you know.  Yes, he thought he could do whatever he wanted in the beginning, and we never really forgave him for the Egypt and Nazareth things, but we knew that he was a pain in the ass upfront, so what else could we expect.  

Mary made up for Yahweh, though, big time.  She made up for a lot of things, actually, not just the combined pains in my behind of Jesus and Yahweh, but also all of the other stuff that sucked when you’re living in the Iron Age; like the lack of decent plumbing, unsanitary cooking conditions, no electricity or modern appliances and don’t even get me started on the lack of decent TV and luxury items.  If you’ve ever slept on the ground or even on a straw mattress you’d realize that there’s no turning back once you laid down on a Sealy Postur Pedic.  Mary made up for all of that and more.  She was good looking, smart, feisty in the right way, down to earth when she needed to be and a real trooper when Yahweh was giving us a hard time, and as I said, in the beginning the Almighty was giving us a hard time all the time.

Mary knocked my socks off from the moment I met her.  She came out of her house looking all fetching with robes laid out around her hourglass figure, her hair tumbling down to her wonderful bosom and her smile lighting up a face that would’ve launched a thousand ships if we’d lived on the coast instead of Jerusalem.  By today’s standards and language, she was a serious hottie. 

I met her of all places at her parents’ house.  I had just started hitting my stride with the porch idea, pretty much introducing them for the first time to Jerusalem, and Mary’s folks, Joachim and Anne, future saints and good people even then, wanted to be able to sit outside comfortably and watch the sun set.  So, I was their man, and I was doing a great job on their porch, with little sculptures for the steps and an ornate railing that drew people’s attention as they walked by.  I was using their house as a showcase, so that people would see how wonderful my porches were and want one for themselves.  I thought it would be a great marketing tool and make porches popular, and it did for a while, but only in Jerusalem.  Like I said, Nazarenes aren’t porch people.

Fortunately, Joachim and Anne loved what I was doing.  They thought the porch I had designed for them was the cat’s pajamas, and even though they knew I was giving them a great deal to basically use their porch as a showcase, they didn’t mind.  They thought it looked great, and they thought I was a swell guy too.  What made my day, week, and eventually my life, though, was Mary.

She hit the cliché on every level when I first saw her coming out the front door to give me a glass of lemonade.  It was hot, I was tired, and I was covered in sweat, dirt and grime, and Mary smiled.  And not just a polite smile, but a smile that made me forget I was thirsty, tired and needed a bath.  The lemonade was good too, the best I’d ever had, and in that moment I forgot all about the Israeli afternoon sun and that’s saying something.  I must’ve had a huge grin on my face because Mary laughed at me and told me I looked happy.  I nodded a yes, and immediately believed in love at first sight.  Not only had Mary bowled me over in about half a second, but when I looked at her parents I figured she had a bright future ahead of her and smiled some more.  

I knew Mary would make an excellent wife, because her parents acted so cool.  Anne ruled the roost, but was laid back about it, and even though she was in her early forties and had a few kids besides Mary, she looked fine.  Yes, a few winkles, but she still caught the eye of everyone from 12 to 120. 

Joachim was even cooler.  He didn’t take too much crap from anyone and was well respected in Jerusalem, but when it came to the design and look of the porch, he realized that he didn’t have any other choice but to defer to his wife.  And he smiled when he did it.  Joachim was like that all the time, cool, and later when Joachim suggested the name, Jesus, because he wanted his first grandchild to know about his Spanish roots, Mary and I looked at each other for not even a second and said, “yes.”  That’s how nice a guy Joachim was, and the real explanation for why Jesus has a Spanish name.

With parents like these, I had high hopes that a future with Mary would be sane, comfortable and pretty amazing.  With the future looking good and her nice rack, sweet ass, pretty face, and a great personality, I figured I was already in heaven.

Of course, the fact that she was a pregnant virgin did cause some consternation.  When we first met I had no idea that she was pregnant, and neither did anybody else.  Robes covered up a lot back then, and even Mary figured she was just late that month and eating too much falafel.  It was a surprise to all of us that Yahweh had been getting into places that were none of his business, and it took a few weeks for everyone to buy into God wanting a son. 

Yes, it was strange.  Joachim and Anne thought that since Yahweh considered us all his children why did he have to knock up their daughter for another kid.

And I had to agree.  I thought Yahweh was going Greek or Roman to boost his popularity.  Zeus reportedly did this kind of thing, remember?  Why else would Yahweh want a son?  It seemed mighty strange to me that God would need to work out his parental issues by getting Mary knocked up.

After the initial shock and disappointment of not actually having sex but still getting pregnant, Mary handled things pretty well.

I got used to it after a while too.  Of course, having Yahweh lay the law down on you personally – he can be a big guy in any dark alley whenever he wants to be – can also be very convincing.  That didn’t matter, though.  Mary was such a babe I would’ve married her even if I didn’t have Yahweh on my butt.  Me and the male, heterosexual population were in love with the girl.  So what if she was having the Almighty’s son?

And Mary handled the pomp and circumstance of Jesus’ birth so well.  Most women I’ve met would’ve at least been freaked out or pissed off about dealing with all of the hubabaloo of giving birth to the son of Yahweh, what with all the angels and animals around and those three wise men with their mostly useless gifts, but Mary took it all in with a smile and a shrug.  Sure, she wasn’t thrilled that we headed out to Egypt a week later, and neither of us was very happy with Nazareth, but in both cases Mary made the best of it.  She had Egyptian just about down when we returned to Israel, and once we arrived in Nazareth she immediately joined a local farmer’s market to bring in a few extra shekels.  As I said the one time she lost it, she laid into Yahweh like a hot knife into warm butter, but other than that she was great.

Mary was even cool about sex, and that was coming from the only woman who ever had to give birth to a 10-pound baby without the pleasure or intimacy of intercourse.  Things definitely began slowly and our first experience was shaky, but once we got the hang of it things started rocking and rolling in no time at all.  Before Jesus was four he had a little sister with a brother on the way.

Yet even with more kids Mary never gave Jesus any special attention just because he was the product of a virgin birth.  If anything, Mary gave him a harder time.  None of our other seven children could turn water into wine or have a theological debate with the rabbis, so any time Jesus started showing off in front of Mary, she smacked him in the ass to stop him from being so conceited.  By the time he turned eighteen Mary could just give him a look and he’d clam up.

Yes, Mary was the bomb.  She was calm, cool, rational, smart and beautiful.  It’s because of her that Jesus turned out so well in the end, and even though Yahweh thinks he’s responsible, Mary definitely deserves all of the credit Christians have given her and should probably get even more.

She certainly made dealing with the combined pains in the ass of Jesus and Yahweh possible.  Love is a wonderful thing and the love of Mary was even better.  And looking back, Jesus was a good kid.  Not only was he the cutest baby you could imagine - and I’m not kidding you here or just taking step fatherly pride: remember, he was the son of God - he could also host a party like nobody’s business. 

The greatest thing about Jesus, though, and I haven’t mentioned it yet, was that despite his smart mouth and pain in the ass attitude, he was a good man.  He didn’t get out of carpentry and go into his real father’s business until I had moved on from this life, and he always had a lot of respect for me, Mary and all of your family.  We may not have always agreed with one another: even Mary and I got into a few arguments; but at least we listened and tried to treat each other with respect, even when we thought whoever we were arguing with was a grade ‘A’ pain in the ass.  That includes Yahweh too.  And he was the biggest pain in the ass around.

I really shouldn’t paint Yahweh, or as most of you would call him, God, in such a bad light either.  Yes, he was definitely annoying, but he set up a decent business for my stepson and Jesus did good following in Yahweh’s footsteps.  That whole golden rule - do unto others as they would do unto you - really are words to live by. 

And I guess that’s about all I have to say about step fathering and all the other stuff I’ve thrown into this rambling mix.  Thanks for listening to me.  I know this story isn’t a gospel or anything, but hopefully you learned something or were at least entertained.  I’m not as big as Mary or Jesus in the history of Christianity, but I tried to do my bit a couple of millennium ago, and it’s still good to have people listen to me every once in a while. 

Now I’m off to do some minor miracles and build some more housing outside of Mexico City.

Have nice day and be good to each other. 

Please note that St. Joe, Step Dad was originally published in Long Island University’s DOWNTOWN BROOLYN: A JOURNAL OF WRITING in 2009.

 

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