CONTINUING a tradition, the annual dialogue between God and Your Favorite Columnist.
God: I'm a little ticked.
YFC: What's got your robe in a bunch?
God: That new "Exodus" movie. They got a 10-year-old Brit playing me. I mean, Me.
YFC: Others have complained about the casting. All white characters in the Middle East?
God: Meh. How're you doing, sonny?
YFC: You know by now I don't like being called sonny. Your handle, "I am who I am," that's kind of smug. I'm fine, but I've got one for you, God.
God: Locked and loaded. Shoot.
YFC: Why is there so much misery in the world?
God: Be specific.
YFC: The global economy, the gap between the rich and poor, racism, sexism, the temporary shutdown of "The Interview," Taliban child-killers.
God: The Talibum, I call them. I am no more responsible for them than you are for the comments that follow your column.
YFC: If not you - who?
God: The devil.
YFC: The devil?
God: The devil.
YFC: It must be great to escape responsibility by pointing at someone else.
God: That's what you do with your editor.
YFC: I'm beginning to understand why belief in you seems to be declining.
God: Why's that, sonny?
YFC: It's been a really long time since you performed a miracle. Maybe you need to do something to get people's attention away from BuzzFeed and the Kardashians.
God: You want me to make the Statue of Liberty vanish? David Copperfield did that.
YFC: No, no. Something ginormous. Make the Earth spin the other way on its axis, turn the oceans to minestrone, give the Sixers a win. You know, something really unbelievable.
God: How about if I send Jesus back in a moto jacket and neck tattoos? Would that do it?
YFC: I'm trying to help here.
God: That's so like you. Can you tell I'm being sarcastic?
YFC: Yes. Here's another one. A couple of weeks ago Pope Francis said dogs can go to heaven.
God: He didn't say that.
YFC: It was reported in the New York Times.
God: Why did you genuflect when you said that? The Times is run by heathens. It was following up on a faulty report.
YFC: So dogs don't get to go to heaven?
God: I didn't say that.
YFC: What are you saying?
God: Here's what Will Rogers said: "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."
YFC: That's an answer?
God: It's a metaphor, sonny. If you were truly good - and in your case that's doubtful - the heaven you go to is the paradise designed for you. If you love dogs, and I know you do, your heaven would have dogs. If you were afraid of dogs, there would be no dogs in your heaven.
YFC: So in my heaven, there would be hoagies, but in my girlfriend's heaven there would be hairstylists.
God: You grasp the concept, sonny. Have a cannoli.
YFC: That means we wouldn't be in the same heaven.
God: Sheesh. You're so literal sometimes you get on my last nerve. Think of it as the Reading Terminal Market - everything's under one roof, but in different areas. Dog lovers at the Dutch Eating Place, nail salon near Iovine Brothers, classical music at Kamal's Middle Eastern Specialties.
YFC: Reading Terminal Market is heaven?
God: Heavenly, at least.
YFC: OK. See you next year.
God: Only I know that, sonny. Heh, heh. Happy New Year, anyway, and remember to treat others as you want to be treated.
On Twitter: @StuBykofsky