Sunday, April 19, 2020

The Afterlife's Pretty Cool

Part 19 of 30

O the beautiful afterlife we're all looking so forward to. I get up every morning wondering if I've died in my sleep. I look around and if things aren't heavenly and sparkly I get up and take the dog out. It’s a huge thing with me and proves I'm above-average optimistic. And it's only natural when everyday we're facing viruses and death is the main off-ramp. Or you survive and "get" to carry on with the same old drudgery, paying the bills and washing the dishes.

Then what do we do? Put on our mask and hit the local hospital to comfort a dying friend, standing 20 feet away across the room and wishing this could be one of those hospitals that doesn't allow visitors during a pandemic. And there I am, standing, my fingers rubbing my nose, trying to shoo away the virus. A nurse comes in with a glass Jello dish and it falls and cuts your foot really bad. Just another place for the virus to take root and kill me. I finally decide, next time I'll send a card.

All of us are facing the death penalty, though, sooner or later, whether we're 15 or 50 or 75. So it may as well be the virus, or a traffic accident, or we meet someone who gives us a massive hickey and turns out to be a vampire. I was surprised a few years ago to learn how many people are literally into vampirism. It makes you wonder what other abominations are out there. Although if they're doing it with safeguards, not literally sucking your blood, etc., then I’m sure it would be an interesting kink. We’re all looking for interesting kinks. Check that, my kinks are much more innocent, involving me not leaving my house and you being perpetually disease-free.

I’m fairly old here, older than average, for sure. But there’s older yet out there. I saw one old guy in the store the other day, and with the virus flaring up all around us I had to wrestle him in the aisle for the last roll of toilet paper. I was “that close” to extricating it from his feeble hands, bulging vessels, the works -- and pretty close to calling for the jaws of life against him -- when he clutched his heart and played the old heart attack ruse. The booing of other shoppers and the way the store manager ran in shrieking at me that the police were even now on the way -- they sit outside the door playing cards smoking -- helped loosen my grip. Short story end, I got up, cussed out everyone involved, fingered them with some speed, insistence and prejudice and got the hell out of there. There was a kid that took down my license number so now I’m banned. But look how nice I was. I didn’t fight till he had a heart attack, they all made sure of that.

Anyway, the afterlife’s out there. And whether you go now, today, or wait a few days, or maybe your appointment is still years away, it’ll be over before you know it. I think of it everyday when I sleep. Say I sleep eight hours at night, an obscene amount of sleep for our mortal bodies to demand. That’s a third of your life right there. And the afterlife’s always on the horizon! Then another third is spent watching TV, fixing meals, taking the dog out, etc. With the other third being spent, for those who have jobs, making enough money that you’ll have a bed to waste the first third and all the stuff needed to waste the other third on dogs, meals, and TV. Essentially life is vain, but it’s the best we’ve got.

Once we get to the afterlife we’ll likely find it’s no bed of roses either, but something else to manage the best we can. Ultimately I hope it’s not all in vain, lots of stupid tasks to waste your time. I know it’s forever -- eternal -- but that doesn’t mean we’ll use the time wisely.

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