You know how originally there were the seven wonders of the ancient world, and then there were the seven wonders of everything else? I think we need to do that with other ancient things, as well, because I have a feeling history is repeating itself; it's just doing it in a modern way that we don't recognize.
I think we need to have a current take on the Bible's account of the 10 plagues of Egypt, so here are the first seven of the 10 plagues updated for our times:
1. Water to blood. You might remember the little incident that British Petroleum had with its Deepwater Horizon oil platform. You know, the one where 4.9 million barrels of oil coated the Gulf of Mexico and billions of fish and seabirds died? Seems like ages ago, doesn't it? That was in 2010.
2 through 4. Frogs, gnats or lice, flies. OK, I'll admit it hasn't rained frogs in a while. Plus, lice aren't really a big deal when people can just buy shampoo to get rid of them. Same for flies and citronella candles. The key is, though, that these three plagues all involve animals. Animal plagues have been happening, but we just haven't seen them for the plagues that they are.
• In 2011, dozens of exotic animals, including cougars, lions, tigers and grizzly bears, were set free from a preserve in Ohio to run amok, and people were told to stay indoors until the animals could be hunted down.
Now, frogs would be weird, but they're not a big problem for people who own cars. The Ohio incident is God recognizing that bears and big cats are going to seem a little scarier to modern audiences than amphibians. Plus, the part about people staying indoors seems biblical.
• A month ago, a massive shark tank at a mall in Beijing burst open, spilling broken glass, water and deadly sharks onto startled shoppers. You think it would be bad having lice in your hair? Try sharks. Of course, God probably realized shortly afterward that sharks lose a lot of their scariness when they're flopping on the ground, but this was a great idea in theory. I give God mad props for creativity.
• I also give God props for being a quick learner because, fresh on the heels of the shark plague, he gave us an even better one. This past week, 15,000 crocodiles escaped from a reptile farm in South Africa during a flood, and as of this writing, thousands of crocs are on the loose in and around one of the largest rivers in southern Africa. This is God thinking, "I see the mistake I made with the sharks, so this time I'll give them lungs and legs." Oh, but flies are scary, too.
5. Diseased livestock. It's called mad cow disease. I don't think I need to elaborate.
6. Boils. I'll be honest: I have no idea if people in general have been stricken with boils, but back in the fall my son got impetigo, which looks like little boils, and I got something called guttate psoriasis, which is kind of like red spots. Assuming that what is true of me is true of everyone, as I am wont to do, I can say that we have most definitely experienced a plague of boils.
7. Thunder and hail. Loud noises and ice balls might have done the trick once upon a time, but God apparently decided to ramp things up a little in this category. As Danny Zuko would say, "Sandy, can't you see, I'm in misery?"
It's compelling stuff, I know, so I think it's safe to assume we'll be getting three more plagues in the near future. According to the Bible, we should be on the lookout for locusts, darkness and the deaths of our firstborn children.
Locusts would be awful, but I'm going to predict swarms of rabid vampire bats instead. I think that would capture the people's fancy.
In Egypt, the darkness lasted three days. My mother-in-law didn't have power for two weeks after Sandy. You tell me which is worse. It's kind of hard to call darkness a plague when people have flashlights, so we'll just ignore this one.
Lastly, we have the deaths of our firstborn children. You know what? This column just stopped being funny (if it ever was). I just hope we can get to a place where such an unthinkable plague isn't something that parents ever have to worry about.
Todd Hartley once used the plague of a hangover as an excuse to miss work. To read more or leave a comment, please visit