“Maybe I’m not really meant to be a public speaker,” he said. “Or an entrepreneur, or an extrovert, or a leader, or any of these identities I’m trying so hard to maintain.”
The weird things people say in pubs, his friend thought.
“Do you know who my favorite figure in the Bible is?” he said after a while.
“No,” his friend said.
“Another round?” the bartender said.
“Yes, please,” he said.
“Yes,” his friend said.
“Joseph,” he said.
“Who?” his friend said.
“Joseph, Jesus’ father,” he said.
His friend sipped from his mug.
“Because he’s the coolest dude in all of the Gospels, man!” he said. “He’s just there, you know? He’s just chillin’. He’s just working hard, man, and not saying anything. What I mean is, he’s the most silent dude in the New Testament. But his was not a useless kind of silence. No. His was the silence of a ro… rock, of a foundation, of an oak tree, if you will.”
His friend noted that his friend really only uses the expression “if you will” if he’s really, really drunk.
“He was doing his du… dudy, duty, man,” he said, gulping from his mug. “He was faithful to his purpose, his mission, and that was to take care of Mary and the infant Jesus inside her womb, and bring them to a safe place, nurture them, protect them, and raise them as his family. He took care of his family without any complaints. He was silent, but he was strong, reliable, dependable, brave, wise. What I’m really getting at is this.” He took another gulp and said, “Another pint, please?”
The bartender filled his mug.
“What I’m really driving at is this,” he continued. “Joseph was a man of very few words, but he was effective. He was a man of action. That’s what I admire about him. He’s the kind of father I’d like to have. The kind of father I’d wish I’d be. Look, all I’m saying is,” he said. “All I’m saying is maybe I’m just striving for the wrong things in this life. I mean, maybe I’m trying to be the wrong kind of person. Maybe it’s Joseph who I should really try hard to be. I don’t even have to try hard. I’ll just let myself be myself.” He emptied his mug with a couple of gulps and, after a some time, stood up from his stool, nearly losing his balance.
“Woah, easy there,” the bartender said.
“He’s all right,” his friend said.
He went over to the Wurlitzer Jukebox and dropped some coins. He pushed some buttons and a Bob Dylan tune began to fill the pub.
“Yep, he’s all right,” his friend said. “He’s out of the woods now. You know he’s out of the woods when he starts playing Bob Dylan.”
“I didn’t know that thing still works,” the bartender said.
He returned to the bar and ordered a couple more pints for himself and his friend.
“You sure?” the bartender said. “You guys look really drunk. And people don’t talk about the Bible unless they’re really, really drunk.”
“I’m sure, Barry,” he said. “I’m just a little tipsy, that’s all. In fact, it’s quite the other way around. I’ve been drunk for a long time until I came to this pub. My br… brain was a haze up until this moment. This is the most sober and lucid I’ve been in years. So please.”
“If you say so,” the bartender said.
They both sat there at the counter for a long time until either of them had anymore to say.