Joan of Arcadia
Requiem For A Third Grade Ashtray

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Are You There, God? It's Me, Joan

Friedman, Grace, Joan, and Adam emerge from their chemistry exam. Joan (who's wearing an eggplant-coloured sweater that looks nice on her) and Adam think they bombed it. Glynis comes twitching after them and asks Joan, "How is he?" Joan laughs a little: "Luke?" She touches Glynis's hand and says, "He's sick, but he's going to pull through." Glynis clucks, "I hope so! I'm sorry -- it's just -- it's been so hard…" She throws them a panicked look and runs off. Adam asks Joan what happened last night. Joan: "Oh, I'm sorry…just…poetry kind of freaks me out, and I had to meet Grace after her bat mitzvah class." Grace, at her locker, turns her head and says, "Shut up right now!" Of course, Friedman's in between them, and didn't miss a word. He stands up and says to Grace, "Bat mitzvah. Going for the full Jew, huh?" Grace snarls at Joan, "Great. Why don't you just broadcast it over the PA?" Man, don't give her ideas. Friedman's full of advice: "I say, soak it up. I got totally wasted on kosher wine at mine, kissed Jennifer Cohen, and made two grand!" Grace slams her locker and takes off: "You never let me down, do you, Girardi?" Adam calls after her, "Wait…what's a bat mitzvah?" Oy. Him, too? Friedman comes over, puts his arm around Adam, and starts walking him along as he explains, "Well, you see, Adam, even before we were slaves in Egypt, there was this tiny baby floating around in the bullrushes. Now, the little tyke's name was Moses. Now, Mo, as we call him, he apparently was a stutterer…" Ha! How much would I like to hear the rest of The Pentateuch According to Friedman?

But it's time for a chat with Goth God, who approaches Joan, finally alone at her locker. Frink, checking out his makeup job: "It must take God forever to get ready in the morning." Joan sees him and says, "Oh. You again. Do you ever show up when I actually need help?" He says, "You don't need me. You're doing great." Joan: "Oh, okay, so you're here to, what, show me your new nose ring?" Heh. I bet God's piercings always heal perfectly. Actually, he wants her to pick up some Cream of Wheat on her way home. Joan: "Cream of what?" No, Cream of Wheat, Joan. God says, "It's got a lot of iron. Luke needs it." Joan says he doesn't understand: "I'm done. Luke gets to put on his space suit, Mom got to her meeting, crisis averted, have a pleasant day." She salutes him as she turns and walks away. She stops short after a few steps, frustrated. She stamps her foot and turns: "You're not going to stop me?" He shrugs, saying it's her choice to walk away: "I just think it's interesting that of all the tasks I've given you, buying Cream of Wheat is the one you're abandoning." Joan bursts out: "Because it's endless! It's a black hole of never-ending worries and responsibilities." Girl, you have no idea. Goth God: "It's called growing up." Joan: "Oh well, what if I don't want to?" Then you'll end up on The Jerry Springer Show someday. Or if you become insanely rich, you can be Michael Jackson. Goth God gets all Deepak Chopra on her: "In the brief time we've been talking, thousands of cells in your body have died and renewed themselves. You're changing all the time. It's how you know you're alive." Joan thinks it seems scary. Goth God just stares at her. Joan: "And now here's the part where you reassure me…" He just says solemnly: "It is scary." I was hoping Joan would say something here like, "Well, thou hast comforted me marvelous much," but maybe she hasn't studied Romeo and Juliet yet. He reaches toward Joan's shoulder bag and unzips the outside pocket, pulling out the Archie, the turtle ashtray. He hands it to her, saying, "Fortunately…you're not alone." He walks away.

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Joan of Arcadia

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