Gay 'n Gray
|by John D. Siegfried|
|A Tale of Two Sarahs
I've always loved the name Sarah. It has a soft sound and for me conjures an image of a beautiful intelligent woman. Perhaps that's because the two Sarahs I personally know fit that description. Now that a Sarah is in the national spotlight I'm sure the name will move to the top of the newborn naming list. Goodbye Lindsay, Britney, and Paris. You've been replaced by good old fashioned Sarah.
In the aftermath of the nomination of Sarah Palin for the Vice Presidency on the Republican ticket, I was prompted to go back to the Book of Genesis to see how the Alaska Sarah stacked up against the original. Granted, the original Sarah lived between 15401677 BCE and a few things have changed since then, but there are some interesting similarities.
Both Sarahs were/are known for their beauty.
Sarah Palin won Miss Something-or-the-other in her younger days in Alaska. According to media commentators, now in her mid-forties, Alaska Sarah still is an attractive and vibrant woman. Biblical Sarah is also recorded as being beautiful. At age sixty-five, she went with her husband Abraham to Egypt in order to escape a famine. Because of her beauty, Abraham was fearful that the Egyptian Pharoah would kill him in order to claim his wife. So, they both lied and said Sarah was his sister. And that was before Botox.
Turns out the lie was only a half lie. Sarah was his step-sister as well as his wife. Go figure. It sounds like an early version of Desperate Housewives.
Sister, half-sister, or no sister, the plan didn't work. Pharoah took beautiful sixty-five year old Sarah to be his own. Then Jerry Falwell's God visited plagues on the house of Pharoah to punish him. Maybe it was floods, or tornadoes, or grasshoppersor an early form of AIDS. Were there gays in the court of Pharoah? Who knows? But as a result of divine intervention Pharoah released Sarah and sent Abe on his way.
Similarly, the two Sarahs are famous for their assertiveness. Alaska Sarah is reported to have been known as "Sarah Barracuda" in her younger days because of her aggressive style of play in high school sports. Biblical Sarah probably never played high school sports and, in the middle of the desert, never heard of a barracuda. But she was a woman to be dealt with.
Feeling her responsibility to be the mother of the Hebrew race, and with no children to begin the project (the nearest fertility specialist was centuries away), Biblical Sarah offered her maid Hagar to Abraham. The result was Ishmael, Abraham's first child. But nine months or so later, when Hagar had her son and Sarah had nothing, Biblical Sarah became jealous of Hagar and Ishmael.
They were getting more attention than she was. Biblical Sarah kvetched and nudged and bitched to her husband. Upstanding Abrahamwho had lied to the Pharoah, screwed his wife's maid and who was probably considered a maverick in his timeeventually got rid of them so he could drink his evening goat's milk in peace. He sent Hagar and Ishmael off into the desert on their ownno retirement benefits, no health care, not even food stamps. Way to go, Abraham!
And then there's commitment to family. Both Sarahs are in the forefront of advocacy for the family.
Despite Hagar and Ishmael and all that messy stuff, Biblical Sarah kept on trying to have kids
of her own. Finally at age ninety she succeeded. Abraham was one hundred at the time, which set a paternity record that even Charlie Chaplin couldn't break. Chaplin fathered a child in his mid-seventies, but Abraham had him beat.
Isaac was Sarah and Abraham's first born and without question it was a miracle. What's unclear to me is whether the miracle was the child, or a pregnancy after ninety barren years, or Abraham's ability to get it up at age one hundred. Slice it anyway you want; it's a miracle worthy of Saturday Night Live.
Alaska Sarah is so committed to family values that she's willing to put all five of her childrentwo of which are special needs childrenin the glare of national publicity. Her youngest child, only five months old is a Down's syndrome child. Her seventeen year old pregnant unwed daughter, in my book, is also a special needs childand publicity isn't one her needs. But if Alaska Sarah, with five kids by her mid-forties, follows in the path of her ancient predecessor, by the time Palin reaches ninety there'll be enough Palins to make her election a family affair.
John Siegfried lives in Ft. Lauderdale but maintains close ties to Rehoboth Beach. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 18, No. 13 September 12, 2008