Joan of Arcadia
Requiem For A Third Grade Ashtray

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

It's time for some poetry reading. Joan and Adam watch a guy with long grey dreads begin reciting his poem, called "Through the Third Eye." And it goes:

I close my eyes to this advertised reality
This Dow Jones international corporate double-tall latte
And I open my eye to what's really real.
I open my eye to light restored
The blessed light that cures the ailing mind
I'm talkin' the merciful assistance of sister to brother

At this point Joan interrupts, saying, "Okay, okay, I get it." The poet is puzzled. Adam whispers, "What are you doing?" Everyone stares as she continues, "I'm getting the fuse, I'm restoring the light, I'm helping out my stupid brother. Are you happy now?" Adam: "Jane." The poet is flummoxed. It dawns on Joan that the third's time not a charm as the hipster audience expresses its disapproval in the mildest possible terms, by shaking heads. She turns to Adam and says, "It's not you, I just -- I'll explain later." Adam doesn't know what to say as she takes off. The poet takes another stab at the poem, but quickly falters and says he's all messed up and can't even remember it now.

Maria is actively labouring now and Dick, who by my estimate has had his arms cuffed behind his back for something like eight or nine hours now, seems to have been promoted to breathing coach. As far as I can tell he was arrested in mid- to late morning, and it's after 7:00 PM now. Toni says, "So Wayne, do your kids know that Daddy's a criminal?" Yeah, that seems like appropriate midwifery chatter. And "Wayne?" Too late. I'm sticking with Dick. Will watches fretfully in the back corner of the elevator as Dick says, "I'd like to talk to my lawyer before I answer that. Just keep breathing with me!" Maria moans and pushes; Toni tells her to try to hold off pushing: "We're going to be out of here soon!" Yeah, that works. Dick says her contractions are two minutes apart and the baby's dropped: "The lady has to push!" Will: "Oh, God, she's pushing." Dick tells Will to take off his shoelace, because he's going to have to use it to tie off the umbilical cord. Will seems slightly woozy: "Ooh…" Toni barks, "Will, the shoelace!" Dick says, "All right, here we go! Ho-ho, I see the head! Houston, we have crowning!" Uh, maybe someone not in handcuffs would like to catch this baby? Dick tells Will to get ready because he's going to do it. Will's a complete dork about it and says he thinks Dick should do it. Dick: "I'm in handcuffs." I'm impressed that he refrains from adding, "Jackass." Because I would have, service revolver or no. Toni: "Catch the baby, Will!" Maria howls and pushes really hard, and Will somehow gets it together and helps the baby out with Dick's guidance. We see Will lift a reasonably convincing neonate from between Maria's legs, which doesn't look like the usual three-month-old Special Effects 101 TV newborn. Well done. Will: "Holy mother of God. It's a girl! Look at her." Toni laughs and smiles. Dick says she's beautiful. Maria suddenly says, "I don't want to see it." Will, surprised: "This is your baby!" Maria says through half-gritted teeth, "Take it away, I don't want it!" She cries. The other three look at each other, confused, as the baby cries.

Rabbi Polonski answers his door to find Joan standing there: "Ah, you again." Joan apologizes for bothering him, but asks to speak to Grace for a minute. He says, "I'm afraid she just left for Hebrew class." "Family thing," huh? He says she'll be back around 9:30 or 10:00. Joan: "Did you say 'Hebrew class'?" He says he did: "You know, when pasta begins to get cold, it's really…" Joan apologizes and says Grace has a notebook she really needs. He says she's welcome to come in and look, but that Grace took her books with her and said something about a chemistry exam. Joan mutters, "Perfect. Cursed by Hebrew class." She suddenly realizes how bad that sounded and gasps: "No offense, Rabbi." He replies, "Well, unfortunately, Grace seems to share your point of view, which is why she's managed to put off her bat mitzvah for three years." Joan: "Bat -- her what?" Oh, please. Is Joan really this sheltered, this uninformed? Honestly, even if she'd never met a Jewish person in her entire life, surely she's watched enough TV to pick this up. I knew what a bat mitzvah was before my age was in double digits. Then again, she didn't seem to have picked up the fundamentals of laundry from watching television either, so maybe she just has never watched television, or she's exceptionally oblivious. But then, why would God select an exceptionally oblivious person for all these missions and projects? Yeah, yeah, "mysterious ways." The Rabbi explains what a bat mitzvah is. Joan: "You've given up on the pasta, right?" He agrees: "Mmm, a while ago, yes." Joan: "So, after you do this mitzvah thing…that's it, you're all grown up?" Rabbi Polonski: "In theory, yes, but in practice, becoming an adult is more a series of steps and missteps. Don't you think?" Joan's cell phone rings and she answers it, saying, "Luke, I'm working on it." But it's Helen: "Joan Girardi, where the hell are you?" Joan says she can explain everything, but Helen doesn't want to hear it: "Just get your butt home right now." She hangs up, and Joan turns to Grace's father, saying she has to go: "I think I have some coming of age to do." He wishes her luck, and makes a mental note to install a peephole first thing in the morning.

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Joan of Arcadia

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