Low Concept

Thou Shalt Not Disrespect Top Chef 3.

The Vatican expands its Ten Commandment franchise.

“The Vatican on Tuesday issued a ‘Ten Commandments’ for motorists to keep them on the road to salvation, warning drivers against the sins of road rage, abuse of alcohol or even simple rudeness.”—Associated Press, June 19

Pope Benedict XVI

To: Cardinal Renato Martino

From: Pope Benedict XVI

Re: Commandments

Dear Renato,

I was a little surprised when I saw on Jalopnik that you wrote a “Ten Commandments for Drivers.” You’ve really got to run stuff like that by me. That said, I think it was a good idea—it’ll get people thinking about religion instead of Top Chef 3. I’ve been fiddling with some ways to expand the franchise, and I wanted to run them by you. Feel free to criticize—I may be infallible, but I do sometimes need an editor.

Ten Commandments for Airplane Travelers

—Thou shalt have patience with security personnel, for they art underpaid, and their feet hurt like those of Saul of Tarsus after his escape from Damascus.

—Thou shalt not have to pay $3 for bottled water from a price-gouging airport merchant. Instead, thou should put an empty bottle in thy carry-on and fill it at a water fountain.

—Thou shalt honor the proper boarding order, and shalt not pretend that thou hast a sprained ankle in order to be allowed to preboard. Thou aren’t fooling anybody.

—Thou shalt not attempt to chat with thy neighbor while he is watching a Top Chef marathon on the seatback television, Renato—even if thou hast a “very interesting” theological point to discuss.

Ten Commandments for Summer Dieters

—Thou shalt set targeted goals for thyself, and thou shalt supplement thy diet with regular exercise.

—Thou shalt not kick thyself if thou slippest every now and then with a shortbread cookie, or some of those delicious chocolates the Swiss Guard are always leaving around. [Can we try to get Keebler to co-sponsor this one? Can you get an intern to look up the church’s position on elves? MUST TREAD CAREFULLY.]

—Thou shalt not waste thy money on diet pills that claim to eliminate “belly fat,” for their promises art empty.

Ten Commandments for Discount Shoppers

—Thou shalt not covet designer merchandise when thou can get knockoffs from a street vendor for a fraction of the price. [Guess how much I paid for those “Prada” loafers I always wear. Just guess!]

 Ten Commandments for Baseball Tonight Anchors

—Thou shalt work harder on thy nicknaming skills. Thou shalt not call every Rodriguez in the league “First Initial-Rod.” [Hey Renato, wouldn’t it be neat if there was a player called Rodney Rodriguez? “Rod-Rod?” I bet he’d be a shortstop.]

—Thou shalt give Joe Torre a break. The man hast won, what?, three or four titles in the last 10 years? All the criticism he gets wouldst try the patience of a saint.

Ten Commandments for Contestants on Top Chef 3

—Thou shalt not make thy dishes too complicated, and thou shalt take it easy on the saucing, lest the flavor of the marinade overwhelm the flavor of the protein.

—Thou shalt stop being so prickly all the time, Tom Colicchio. Yes, thou art a fantastic chef and successful restaurateur, but the contestants are under a lot of pressure and are trying their best, and sometimes thou art too critical.

—Thou shalt maybe think of asking the pope to be a guest judge one of these days. I wouldst deliver gentle and constructive criticism, and would invite the winner for a weekend getaway at the papal retreat, where I would cook a hearty Schweinsbraten.

Ten Commandments for the Secretarial Staff in the Vatican

—Thou shalt not leave before 5:30 p.m. on weekdays.

—Thou shalt not try to claim that thy daughter’s birthday is a Holy Day of Obligation. Didst thou really think the pope wouldn’t know what is a Holy Day and what is not?

—Thou shalt not refer to the Pope as “Ben,” unless thou art an archbishop or higher.

—Thou shalt label thy lunches and clean thy damn breakroom refrigerator once in a while, for it is currently as squalid as the tomb of Jehoiakim.

What do you think, Renato? Coffee sometime next week? I’m free pretty much any time except for Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights.