– Now, Nimrod, we all have a soft spot for your great granddad Noah, who got us out of a spot of bother, but the same can’t be said for you. This Babel thing – what on earth got into your head?
– I’ve never understood why a bit of ambition is equated with arrogance. What’s wrong with building a tower to heaven? OK, so it presented a few technical difficulties, but that’s what architecture’s all about. The Burj Khalifa, the Petronas – you’ve got towers all over the place now and no one bats an eyelid. I was a pioneer.
– But all the way to heaven? Didn’t it occur to you that God wouldn’t like it?
– That’s another thing that’s got around – that I had some sort of plan to chuck Him out, wage war on Him. Not at all, I simply wanted to take a peek at what’s up there. I mean, it’s all very well for Him, all high and mighty and omniscient, I can’t even pick my nose without Him seeing, but we haven’t got the foggiest how He lives or what His tastes are. Scrambled or sunny side up? Apple or Samsung? Beyoncé or Taylor Swift? It’s not as if it would cost Him a lot to tell us.
– I think His point is He likes to be shrouded in mystery. A bit like the royal family. People would lose their awe if they knew all about Him. But tell me about the construction itself. Must have been a huge challenge.
– The difficulty was calculating the height to width ratio. Bear in mind we only had bricks and mortar back then, none of your steel girders or reinforced concrete, so to suppport the weight, it had to taper up to a point at the top. My worry was that we’d reach that point before we got to heaven. I mean, no one could actually tell me how high heaven was, so there was a bit of guesswork involved. But I think our calculations must have been close, otherwise God would never have freaked the way He did.
– What exactly happened? He saw what you were doing and flew off the handle?
– He totally lost it, man! I mean, talk about overreacting. You’d think He’d caught me peeping through his bathroom window. I though He was going to smite us all dead or something, but He just made everyone jabber away in different languages and it was total pandemonium. You had the foremen squabbling over the plans, bricks going to the wrong place, scaffolding falling apart. In just two days, the whole site ground to a halt. And I was running round giving orders that no one could understand – it was a nightmare!
– Well, it gave a lot of work to teachers and linguists and interpreters, that’s for sure. And you know what? The number of languages in the world today is dwindling rapidly. Barely 7000 left, a quarter of them spoken by fewer than 1000 people. And English looks set to become a global language, not that everyone’s happy about that, mind – ask the French!
– Well, maybe one day you’ll build a tower like mine. All you need is funds, technical savvy and loads of slave labour. So you’ve got it sorted, I’d say – I mean, that’s how it’s done in Qatar, isn’t it?