Here’s an old joke that Andy Greeley told me many years ago.
There was once a very successful American businessman, who, despite his humble origin, earned billions and achieved much more wealth than he could have ever dreamed of. He was nearing his retirement, but, before he retired, he wanted an opportunity to thank God personally for all the fortunes that He graciously bestowed upon him.
Through his contacts, he learned that there were three telephones, located throughout the world, that would allow him to speak directly to God. So he hopped on his private jet and flew to the first location, which was a synagogue in Jerusalem. There he spoke to the chief rabbi.
“Rabbi, I heard that there was a telephone located in this synagogue, which would allow one to speak directly to God. Is that true?”
“Yes, it is true,” the rabbi answered, “but a three-minute conversation to God would cost you 10 million dollars.”
“Okay,” the businessman said, “I’ll get back to you.” He then hopped on his private jet, and flew to the second location, which was the Vatican City. There he gained personal audience with the Pope.
“Holy Father, I heard that there was a telephone located in the Vatican, which would allow one to speak directly to God. Is that true?”
“Yes, my son, it is true,” the Pope answered. “But a three-minute conversation to God would cost you 15 million dollars.”
“Okay,” the businessman said, “I’ll get back to you.” He then hopped on his private jet, and flew to the third location, which was an Irish pub outside of Dublin. There he spoke to the bartender.
“Excuse me, Barkeep, I heard that there was a telephone located here, which would allow one to speak directly to God. Is that true?”
“Yeah, mate, it’s true,” the bartender said, “You can talk to God for as long as you want, but the call’s gonna cost you 25 cents.”
“Twenty-five cents!?” the businessman exclaimed. “Why so cheap? It was 10 million dollars in Jerusalem! It was 15 million dollars in the Vatican!”
The bartender said, “Yeah, but it’s a local call from here.”
Tip your waitress! I’ll be here all week!
P.S. Here’s an indication of how many years ago it was that Andy originally told me the joke. In his original telling, the prices of the phone call in Jerusalem and the Vatican were $10,000 and $15,000, respectively. But I didn’t think it was realistic that one could speak to God for the small amount of money that Mitt Romney could comfortably bet in an off-the-cuff remark during a Republican primary debate. So I increased the prices of the phone call in this updated version for the new millennium.
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