"A prayer for the vying" 

"Don't thank God. God's busy working on the tsunami, so leave him alone." – Chris Rock, advising potential Oscar winners how to behave; The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Feb. 21

Hi, everybody. God here.

I know you weren't expecting to turn to this page and find Me prattling away at you. Well, what can I say? I work in mysterious ways.

Believe it or not, I've had a long and healthy relationship with the regular author of this column, and he once told Me that I could take over for a week any time I wanted to. So what I want to do in this space is address some false perceptions that have been spread about Me recently by My son, Chris Rock.

Now, I love Chris to pieces. He's a bright, funny young fellow, and I'm proud to say that I've lent a guiding hand in every turn his career has taken so far. (Except for Bad Company. The other guy green-lighted that one.) But when Chris takes it upon himself to state what My priorities are and where My interests lie – well, that's when he's overstepped his bounds. And I just can't rest without setting the record straight.

Specifically, I need to correct the idea that I'm somehow disinterested in your Earthly awards shows. To hear the Rocks of the world tell it, I'm too busy caring for orphaned kids and repairing battered coastlines to give a toss how many gold statues Meryl Streep has in her pantry. But you know what? I love those awards shows! Can't get enough of 'em, in fact. And I'll gladly blow off a thankless evening of disaster relief to watch one in its entirety. From the Daytime Emmys to the Westminster Dog Show, all you have to do is get a bunch of random mammals chasing after a glorified bowling trophy and I am so there.

I know that this news may shock and dishearten you, the members of My faithful flock. I'm aware that your opinion of Me may sink the lowest it's been since the Holocaust or Nov. 2, 2004. But confession, as they say, is good for the soul. So I'm taking the next few paragraphs to explain just where I stand on the top popularity contests of our day. (A hint: Praise Joan Rivers and pass the Fig Newtons!)

THE SOURCE AWARDS – Yes, my focus should technically be elsewhere while tsunamis are raging and whoever designed Michael Stipe's wardrobe is walking around unpunished. But frankly, I'm all up in this bitch. Any time you see some beady-eyed bling addict take the dais to thank Me for his good fortune, you can bet your sweet Beemer that I've been working hard all year to get him there. There wouldn't be much in life to celebrate if I didn't spend untold hours steering hip-hop's finest toward the dopest rhymes and filling their hot-tub videos with quality camel toe.

What I like best about the Source Awards, though, is the violence that's practically guaranteed to take place before, during and after the show. If you've read the Old Testament, you'll understand why I'm in awe of any gathering that seethes with enough tension to make the story of Cain and Abel look like Frog and Toad Are Friends. It beats seeing Rob Lowe try to dry-hump Snow White, that's for sure.

THE TONYS – I watch them religiously. (Joke!) That doesn't make Me gay, does it? (Also joke!) Truth be told, the Tonys are infinitely more worthwhile since that Hugh Jackman came along – and if you think he can do anything, just you wait until you find out what I have planned for him as soon as I can get him on a plane bound for the Middle East.

If I could turn back time, I might want to take back those seven Tonys from Andrew Lloyd Webber, but knowing that I let him have them doesn't make me any more embarrassed than Pope Leo X was after proclaiming King Henry VIII the Defender of the Faith.

THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE – Chris Rock is right when he says these things deserve more attention than the Oscars. That's why I handed out the very first one – and all it did was get Me accused of nepotism for centuries. Since then, I've tried to stay as neutral as Switzerland, so you can't blame me if the Nobels score slightly less Google hits than Anson Williams' home page. Though I did send Jimmy Carter a nice fruit basket the morning after he won his. It was the least I could do for saddling him with Billy.

THE PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS – I was pulling for Fahrenheit 9/11 but not The Passion of the Christ. Let's call it a draw, like the Crusades.

THE GRAMMYS – Time for a reality check. Yes, I called Ray Charles home; but what you all did to that poor Milli Vanilli guy was your own business. And that in a nutshell explains what so many people find wrong with the Grammys, which they say fail to honor artistic accomplishment or even spiritual worthiness. Hey, geniuses: I didn't invent these awards so that Carlos Santana could polish My apple eight times in one evening. I invented them to remind you that life isn't fair. Remember what it says in Leviticus 3:19: "Into each life, the Starland Vocal Band must fall."

THE GOLDEN GLOBES – Some people like it that the Globes have separate categories for drama and comedy. They think it increases everybody's chances of winning something. I say that's a great idea – if you're handing out achievement badges at summer camp. Plus, all the nominees are picked by foreigners, which pretty much negates the two centuries I've spent trying to show you that yours is the only country that matters. (Kidding again!!)

THE ORLANDO METAL AWARDS – You'd think I'd instinctively shy away from any event where a goat is likely to be blown up on stage – too many bad memories of that whole Moses mess. Yet I always find this scruffy little shindig a hoot. And it was even more fun before Pain Principle sold out.

Now, you may be surprised that I'm down with the concept of awards at all, since they place some of my children ahead of the others. You might wonder how I can decide which of my disciples is the most deserving. Guess what? You're all undeserving in my eyes! (Especially that Renée Zellweger. Oooooh, how I hate her!)

So whenever you're lucky enough to win something, just thank Me for it nicely and then sit back down. And for the love of Pete, don't bend anybody's ear about the sacrifices you had to make to get it. Trust Me, you don't know from sacrifice. Waste My time moaning about how you had to suffer for your art, and I'm going to come back at you with this:

"You call that art? My kid can do better than that."


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