I think I have figured out the afterlife.
If I go to heaven I will be surrounded by wonderful delights that are no longer accessible to me here on earth.
For example, for years I enjoyed eating a particular mint candy that, in addition to having just the right amount of zing, also happened to be sugar-free. What a perk for the diet-conscious. Good taste without the calories. Suddenly it is gone! I check out all my former suppliers; the drug store, the super market, the convenience store. I am told by all of them that the manufacturer stopped making it. I’m sure there was a good reason. Probably all the toxic chemicals that made it so tasty. But still…..
Then there is my V-8 Juice. I love V-8 Juice, and unlike the sugar-free mints, which were a guilty pleasure, when I drink V-8 Juice I feel like I am infusing health into my body. So convincing are their commercials. My V-8 Juice of choice was the one that the label indicated was calcium enriched. I am having a tasty drink and at the same time daring osteoporosis to attack me. Slowly, this particular type of V-8 began fading from the store shelves. First one supermarket, then another. I finally found a store that still had some and I bought all of the remaining bottles. I am down to my last one. I still search when I go food shopping, ever hopeful it will reappear. So, while there is regular V-8, salt-free V-8, fiber-filled V-8, tangy V-8, not so tangy V-8, V-8 with fruit, V-8 fortified with calcium remains missing.
And Mello-Rolls. Whatever happened to Mello-Rolls? Cylinders of vanilla ice cream wrapped in paper that we carefully placed into the rectangular top of an ice cream cone. I haven’t seen those since I was a kid. I miss them.
I could go on. TV shows I loved that are no longer on the air. The car I used to drive, a compact Chevy Corvair convertible that today would be considered enviro-friendly. My favorite shade of lipstick that the manufacturer made a unilateral decision to discontinue. Gone, all gone, but waiting for me in Heaven.
I have also imagined Hell.
I am convinced that if you go to Hell you are condemned to an afterlife of grating, irritating, obnoxious sounds that constantly call out to you and you have no choice but to respond. There is no rest. You run from one demanding sound source to another for all eternity.
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Is it your coffee maker, your microwave oven, your dishwasher, your refrigerator scolding you because someone left the door open? Maybe your washer or dryer, demanding to be emptied, filled, folded? Your electric iron that is ready, not ready, yelling at you because you have ignored it for too long.
Ring! Whoosh! Clang! Sing! Your cell phone won’t take no for an answer. It is smart, smarter than you. It beckons, and like Pavlov’s dog, you respond. Phone call, phone message, e-mail, headline, appointment alerts. Two o’clock in the morning. It doesn’t care. If you are summoned, you leap out of bed. Your training has been successful.
Turn left! Turn right! Make a U-turn! Don’t turn! Your GPS badgers you until you do what it says. This is the part of hell where you ride around and around at the whim of the voice from the dashboard and never, ever arrive.
So for the rest of my days here on earth I shall strive to be a good person. Not that I’ve been a bad person, but I will become an even better one. I want to be let into heaven. Once there, I will drive to the store in my white Chevy Corvair with the red leather seats, stock up on sugar-free Menthos, calcium enriched V-8 Juice, and Mello-Rolls to my heart’s content. Drive home, lie down on a soft comfy cloud, and watch brand new episodes of Seinfield, The Guardian, Northern Exposure, Route 66, and all three versions of Law and Order on my celestial flat screen TV that does not make one single sound, unless I want it to.