Letter to my Son
Sunday, 10 November
Good Morning Jack…
The first thing you’re asked to do once you have died is to write the story of the life you just finished. At any rate this is what happened to me and I suspect it is the normal procedure to determine your next step. As for myself I was more than a bit confused because I hadn't yet realized that I had died. It isn't helpful to be greeted in such a manner no matter one’s state of mind. I would have thought a ‘Welcome!’ of some sort would have been more in order. It was disappointing to be received in such a disinterested manner but I guess bureaucracy is the natural resource to be called upon when there are so many souls to process every minute of every day for what must seem an eternity. At any rate who am I to complain? Like I’m going to get indignant over my treatment when, let’s face it, I’m more than a little concerned about my ultimate destination. No. I try to compose myself so I can write.
My first effort was along the lines of filling out a form applying for life insurance. I gave my date of birth, what I was named and who my parents were. I had a normal schooling and a comfortable upbringing. I was thoroughly undisturbed as I entered adulthood. Once I was grown up I pulled all the expected levers in order to advance along the course of my existence. I got a job. I got married. I had kids. I bought a home and drove my own car. The family watched television together in the evening. It was a lovely time for all. Of course, there were the usual disagreements and occasional squabbles but nothing out of the ordinary. I did, though, go through a divorce. Actually there was more than one. I admit I can be a bit difficult. Still, life once again settled into a tranquil routine while I continued to grow old and, as I now appreciate, died. Thank you. I am most happy to be here.
Apparently this wasn't good enough. Not good enough? What is it you want? There was no explanation, no further elaboration. No one seemed to know anything. They are simply the messenger. Please, take the time to tell the story of your life.
OK, so maybe they expect me to put more effort into it. I’m wondering just how long this should take. I decide to embellish my narrative with a few events illustrating my reactions to life. I describe how I was involved in a fist fight that broke out right in the middle of class one day at school. I tell of the time I flunked a Spanish test but was saved from punishment by a timely death in the family. Once I was grown I described how it was to drink my way through my entire first marriage. My second attempt at matrimony was more productive but I did wind up locking myself away in a room for long periods of time before I was eventually thrown out and fired as both husband and father. I suppose I should also add that I shot some people without much caring because, after all, we were at war and I was just doing my job. Don’t get the wrong idea, though, there were many rewarding moments. I was present at the birth of all my children and there were family trips to Disneyland. Life was mostly one of contentment. I grew gracefully old and died. Once again I would like to express my gratitude for being here. Thank you.
This time I got pretty annoyed when they, once again, asked me to give them the story of my life. Are you kidding? What the hell do you want? You’re screwing with me, I can tell. Is there a supervisor here I can talk to? No? Thanks… for nothing. Who’d a thought the Feds had taken over the afterlife? This is crap.
I think swearing in a sanctuary is probably what did me in. Next thing I know is that I am assigned to an area for souls waiting to be born again in a new body. This is not good. They’re probably thinking I have some rough edges that need smoothing out. I know their type. I’ll probably be born as an infant in a marsh in some country like Bangladesh. Whatever happens – don’t expect a postcard. I won’t remember a thing. No telling how many times I've been through this turnstile.