A few years ago I had a very unusual experience, which my readers may find hard to believe. I was sick with a cold. A very bad cold. Probably the worst I’ve ever had. Yes, this was a real William Henry Harrison magnitude rhinovirus, and I felt like I was going to die.
I got out of bed to do something, and the last thing I remember was shuffling down the hallway, stifling a sneeze, while chasing a Kleenex. Suddenly I was hovering above my body, which I could see lying on the hallway floor.
Apparently I had passed out . . . or worse. I could see everything going on. For instance, I saw my wife step over my body several times, on her way in and out of the bathroom. And I saw my dogs licking my fingers and nibbling on my ears.
Then a bright white light approached me. Brighter and whiter than anything I’d seen since that time I bleached my briefs. “Are you God?” I asked the bright light.
It spoke to me in a kind of telepathic way. “Yeah, yeah, if that’s what you want.”
“Am, am I dead?”
“No, you’re playing blackjack in Vegas. What the fuck?! What do you think it looks like?”
You can’t live in denial in the afterlife. You have to face facts.
Next thing you know, this bright light is playing a movie for me. It’s a movie of the history of my life. Hey, if I had known some being was lurking around me with a camera, I would have lived differently. But it was too late. Now my life was flashing before my eyes.
I saw all the times I had been good and nice and kind to people. But I also saw all the times I’d been a self-centered royal asshole. There was the time I kicked the dog. There were restaurant scenes where I failed to leave a tip. And there was that string of bank robberies.
But the being of light was non-judgmental. He said that the purpose of life was to learn lessons. That was a new one on me. I’d always thought that the purpose of life was to endure the torture of hard labor for several decades, then retire and leach off of society for as long as my fragile heart could hold out.
God showed me heaven next. And it was beautiful. The streets were paved with tacos. There were shredded beef burritos hanging from trees, everywhere. Football season lasted all year. And some of my relatives were there. Not the perverts, thank goodness.
I saw a heartwarming sight. There was my Dad and Grandpa sitting on the softest couch you can imagine, with their feet propped up, drinking beers, passing gas, and watching football on TV. My Dad looked over at me and said, “You made it, son. Grab a beer and sit down with us.”
“You know I don’t drink,” I told my Dad. “Alcohol is poison.” He furrowed his brow like he always did when I told him that. Then I took a step forward.
Suddenly I heard a loud, booming voice thunder, “Ha ha! You have to go back!” Next thing you know I was sucked back into my body like a bug through a vacuum cleaner.
My wife walked over and kicked me a few times. “Would you get up and stop playing around,” she said. “I need you to empty the trash. It’s overflowing. You haven’t emptied it once since you got sick.”
I nearly gave her a piece of my mind. But then I remembered that celestial camera, heaven, and year-long football. It was time for me to turn over a new leaf.
So I quietly emptied the trash.