Plagues. Can’t live with ’em, can’t enjoy a proper pharaoh smackdown without ’em. And while most of us are familiar with the Ten Plagues of Egypt chronicled in (no, not I or II Chronicles) Exodus chapters 5 – 11, few of us know why God chose these specific abominations to rain down upon the unbelievers. (And fewer of us have any idea of what “pestilence” is beyond being vaguely related to lice and/or Pamela Anderson.) And this column will make you none the wiser in that department. What it will do is illuminate your minds to a few of the potential plagues that Jehovah, in his omniscience, rejected for reasons that remain lost to the mysteries of time and common sense.

A Plague of Tartar – Strongly favored by Johoichim, chief (and only) dentist to the enslaved Hebrew nation, this plague was deemed too slow to be useful as the cumulative effects of halitosis and gingivitis could easily be ascribed to a diet high in onions and Ben & Ramses Scarabs ’n’ Cream.

A Plague of In-Laws – At a glance, this plague may seem to fall under the category of “cruel and unusual punishment,” never mind Egypt’s lack of an Eight Amendment. In truth, the issue was that some in-laws are actually nice – prone to baking pies and helping the man of the brick hut finish that sarcophagus he’s be working on since 1315 B.C. All in all, too iffy.

A Plague of Bunnies – Bunny rabbits. They’re the fuzzy cockroaches of the animal kingdom. If you’ve seen one bunny you definitely haven’t seen them all. One minute they’re wriggling their noses at you like Thumper on a cuteness binge. The next, they’re ravaging your papyrus garden like Homer Simpson at a Chinese buffet. Some even sport nasty, big, pointy teeth. In the end, God tempered his wrath and opted for locusts.

A Plague of Baldwins – Every generation has its own particular set of Baldwin brothers, placed by the hand of the Almighty for such a time that their boorish-yet-perfectly-coiffed behavior will effect the most despair. Lucky for the Egyptians, the Lord chose to wait 3,400 years before unleashing this hydra of hair gel. Not so lucky for us, “30 Rock” notwithstanding.

A Plague of Hangnails – Recent archaeological digs point to the ancient Egyptians as being a rather vain people. Among the funerary artifacts discovered within the tomb of one Princess Kimye Kh’rdishen was an ovoid piece of polished onyx with dozens of sharpened perforations – a forerunner to today’s Ped Egg. However, God surmised that toying with Egyptian cuticles would only lead them to soaking in a primitive form of Palmolive.

A Plague of Beans – Never let it be said that Yahweh has no sense of humor. However, in his infinite wisdom, the Lord withheld this plague until 1974 when the idea was delivered via divine inspiration brought on by bad pastrami to one Melvin J. Kaminsky. The rest is Slim Whitman-based history.

A Plague of Tax Returns – If you think trying to figure out what percentage of your home office/man cave is legitimately tax deductible (legally, the correct answer is “jack squat”), just imagine trying to fill out a Schedule C that’s made from a 40-foot papyrus roll with a balky reed pen that smears beet ink even if you’re not left-handed. Then imagine doing it in triplicate.

A Plague of Donuts – I know what you’re thinking: How could an abundance of delicious, delicious donuts ever be considered a plague? And shouldn’t it be obvious why “death by joy” didn’t make the Lord Thy God’s top ten list of ways to harass the heathen? Not quite. See, as any scientist worth his (rainbow) sprinkles will attest, donuts are, in moderate to large quantities, good for you in that they spike endorphins and whatnot. However, in jumbo quantities, donut consumption may cause a small increase in what is medically known as “lardification” of the arteries, veins, lymph nodes, bone marrow and bronchial tubes until such time as a single breath results in the expulsion of Boston cream from one’s proboscis. And no one, not even YHWH, wants to see that. At least not before the advent of cell phone cameras and YouTube.

A Plague of Bloat – Obviously, if the Plague of Donuts went buh-bye, so did this follow-up bit of gastrointestinal blight. Besides, anything that can be cured by an afternoon nap doesn’t rate very high on the old Scourge o’ Meter.

*Jason Fox believes “A Touch of the Bloat” would be a great band name. *