by Jeff Johnson
Do you believe in heaven? Will you “make it” up there, one day? Looking down on your loved ones for all of eternity? Do you think looking down on your loved ones for all of eternity sounds like heaven? Does it sound pleasurable? Being able to see what your kids, relatives and friends are up to and not being able to do anything about it? Except for maybe sending them a sign? Do you really believe you could send a “sign” that one of them would understand? Wouldn’t be too cryptic?
Don’t you think that if everyone in heaven could send a sign to someone on earth, it might get sort of chaotic? Or mundane? Wouldn’t a telecommunications company try to start profiting in some way off of this? Could you really cope with not being able to just blurt out, “He has herpes, Louise!” or “Don’t you have a job interview tomorrow? Why are you up smoking pot and watching ‘Law & Order’ reruns, Keith?” or “Watch out for that bus, Gary!” and have it, you know, get to Gary, and save Gary, and not freak Gary’s ass out, or subsequently send him off on some path where he becomes a guru, holding seances in mini-malls? Wouldn’t the worst thing be to send a sign to Gary and then have people think he was crazy? What if he lost his job? Lost his home? Started doing push-ups for pennies in fast-food parking lots while teenagers taunted him? Would you quit with the signs? Or torture him with more?
Could you cope with being in heaven, and being lucid and coherent, but not able to watch over your loved ones still on earth? Wouldn’t you be curious? What else are you going to do with your time? Would you maybe feel sort of “stuck” up there? Wouldn’t that drive you insane? Wouldn’t that be hell? Wondering over and over again how they were doing? And would you be prepared for them just to arrive one-by-one, out of the blue? Could you handle hearing all of their causes of death? “I was beaten by my husband for 40 years,” or “I drowned” or “I fell off a chair lift in Tahoe,” knowing you had been playing 7,562 holes of golf, listening to harp music and chewing on clouds?
Does heaven have the Internet? Are there interesting activities? Do you get to watch Keith Moon and John Bonham participate in a drum-off? What if you got there and had amnesia about all of the things that could potentially worry your soul? Would heaven even feel good? Or would it be just like having Alzheimer’s for eternity? “I don’t know who I am or why I’m here, but I know that nothing bad is happening to me — but not really, since I don’t even know what BAD is! Because I have no frame of reference.” Would that suck more or less than the fears about the people left on earth? Should I just go with the flow? Feel confident in the fact that all of this shit somehow makes sense? That it is coherent in a way we don’t understand? Will never understand? Doesn’t being alive come with enough challenges as it is? Crummy ones? Unresolvable ones?
Will there be animals in heaven? Is there a separate heaven for that? Is heaven “vegan”? Because if you shared heaven with animals and were walking around up there eating a cheeseburger would it not be possible to run into the cow that was turned into that very burger? What would be the proper thing to say? “Thanks for taking one for the team?” What if it was a bacon cheeseburger? And the cow and the pig both were like, “Motherfucker”? And God was like, “They actually have a point, you know”? What if once on earth you went out and got wasted? And you got very hungry? And you didn’t need the calories, but you bought and ate a chicken sandwich? Maybe you even puked it back up later? What if you later happened upon that chicken in heaven? Or its soul? Is this too Safran Foer for you? What if the chicken was like, “I was killed so you could eat me when you were drunk. Nice meeting you. As I recall, you went to the gym the next day because you thought you were fat”? Would that ruin heaven for you? Would you start having to hide in heaven? Would that not suck having to hide from random animals? “I was your pork chop in Hilton Head, ‘97”? What if that didn’t bother you? If you did not give a shit? Surely, someone else would be after you, no? Who would be all, “I see telling on you in the 2nd grade had a positive effect on you. You corrected your behavior. Kudos. Care to go on a walk sometime in the next 1,000 years?”? How would you avoid those fuckers?
Is there garbage in heaven? Plumbing? Charities? Social workers? Do you care? Do you get it? If you would rather die than read one more question, let me ask you this: Will you be going to heaven?
Photo by h.koppdelaney, from Flickr.