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Genesis Eleven:
the Tower of Babble

Janet Kuypers

At the beginning there was the great town of Babble;
back then all from different lands spoke the same language
and speech, and all revered this one sacred place.

Eventually the people in the town of Babble realized
that the only place where different social types can
genuinely get along with each other is in heaven *,

so they decided to build a tower, one so tall, taller than
any skyscraper you could ever imagine, so that it could
actually reach heaven, and people could be like gods.

So people from different lands came together to
create brick and mortar for this tower to the sky;
now, they say that once they all had one language,

but with enough time apart, people create new words
for new things in their different environments, and before
you knew it, no one could understand each other at all.

Even the valley girls and the girls from Sherwood Ohio,
even though their towns were close, they seemed to
speak different languages. “What’s your damage?” the

Ohio girl would ask. “Like, gag me with a spoon!”
the valley girl would answer, as they would babble...
“Did you have a brain tumor for breakfast?”

“Like, take a chill pill.” “You’re such a pillowcase.”
“But you’re like, grody to the max!” And they would
continue to trade insults that no one could understand.

When thinking about the Tower to heaven in Babble,
these girls could at least agree, still stating in their dialects,
“This so like, so totally tubular!” and “This is so very!”

As people came from far and wide to build the bricks
for this great building, men from the east came,
exclaiming this was “Ono što mi treba u životu,”

while women from the south and east said this building
to heaven was “Mga Kailangang ispiritwal sa buhay” —
and “ceea ce avem nevoie în viaţă” was extolled

by women from the north and mid-east, while
men from the west and south exclaimed that the
Tower of Babble was “que necesitamos en la vida...”

Wine-filled men from the north even sang that this tower
and get-together was “was wir auf das Leben brauchen,”
but no one understood a single word from each other,

even if they were all probably saying the exact same thing.
More people came from other lands, saying more things
no one could comprehend, and so it came to pass

that no one knew what materials to use in this sacred town
to build the best bricks for this imagined tower. So no, they
never built their tower to the sky, no stairway to heaven

has been made in any giant tower. But it’s good to know
that even though there are plenty of language barriers,
humankind can share a station at the edges of our sky

to learn not only about the earth from way up high,
but also about the earth deep at the bottoms of the seas,
and all over this land, making earth a bit more like

the one place we all imagine, the one place we were never
so impractical as to try to build a tower to. We can all
do things here to make earth a little more like heaven.


* Quote from Jason Dean in the movie Heathers.
Quoted argumentative phrases are also from
Frank Zappa’s song Valley Girl and the movie Heathers.

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