12 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:
13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.
14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.
See other: Often Ignored Bible Verses
My friend’s fig-fuelled fury
That bank was like a temple to him. And in hindsight, I blame myself. I should have seen that violent incident coming. Yet it wasn’t until he started chewing out those loan executives that I realised the whole day had been building up to this. By that time it was too late of course, the table had been flipped in the blink of an eye and everyone’s documents were already falling to the floor like autumn leafs.
What I’m alluding to is this: on the morning of that day, he and I had met each other on the corner where we always used to meet – the one with the flower shop. Anyway, initially, all was well. We exchanged pleasantries, discussed his tie – which had little horseshoes on it – and then moved on to the encounter with the loan executives. We went over the points of the upcoming meeting. (I thought the horseshoes were ridiculous by the way, but I didn’t say anything.)
I guess he hadn’t had breakfast yet because when we passed this tiny little hole-in-the-wall delicatessen he told me he wanted to go in for some figs. Who feels like figs at 8:15 in the morning? I let him go in of course, tried not to make a fuss, and waited outside. At least the sun was shining. I watched the passing strangers. Everyone was busy to get their day underway. But it was not two minutes when I heard his voice exploding in all sorts of violent exclamations. Apparently, the old geezer who ran the tiny establishment had no figs in stock – something to do with the season or something. There are seasons for fruit aren’t there? As there are for wine and sun tans. Not that we take much notice of that here in the city of course. “Everything whenever” that’s the mantra isn’t? Evidently, the old proprietor was a bit of a stickler for freshness.
I stepped inside to see what all the hubbub was about. (I knew full well what his beef was of course, since I had already heard him express his indignation in the strongest possible terms; but I felt the situation called for my non-judgemental look.) Now, wearing my sober inquiry Stetson, so to speak, I found him cursing the shop’s lack of figs. It was quite a sight. Finally, having observed the spectacle for what seemed to be an hour, I caught his eye. At that point he drew a breath and walked out. I was relieved my entrance had defused the situation so abruptly, for during his brief march to the door he only shouted ‘No-one will ever shop for fruit here again!’
After his death I once talked to a psychiatrist about this incident. She told me it was clearly the act of an unbalanced megalomaniac, I didn’t see that then. For years after, to everyone who knew about the incident and wanted to discuss it I said ‘Listen, he had been under a lot of stress, and for some time he had been greatly disappointed by a lot of people who had let him down. It wasn’t about the figs.’ I explained the fig-fuelled temper tantrum as a metaphor of sorts. Silly really. But he was my up-and-coming colleague, my friend even, I think. I just wanted him to do well. I wanted the firm to do well. I believed in our firm. I believed in him. I guess that’s why I couldn’t see he was such a capricious bastard.
Ha, ha – any resident of the area of Palestine, and certainly any son of a god who created the universe, would know when fig season was – I’m not sure what the purpose of Mark’s story was, but it only served to reflect poorly on the subject. It’s a shame he didn’t have any crumbs of bread or flakes of fish left over in his fanny-pack, he could have done that whole multiplying thing again and solved the hunger problem.