900 days

LIFE IN THE SURREAL ZONE

Nine hundred days plus. I couldn’t believe it. I had to punch in the numbers on the calculator several times before I figured I was right. It always came out the same — 923 to be exact. Two and a half years.

Two and a half years ago the wail of the death screamer stopped in the driveway. Medics rushed in with all their gear. Voices of urgency. I stood on the other side of the bed. The gurney was wheeled in.

Cut to hospital room, ICU, two o’clock in the afternoon. The steady beeping of the life support machine. Her hand still warm in mine. Reality ebbing away. Time slowly stopping. And then all at once. The hand turned cold. The monitor flatlined. I heard the words, “We did all we could.” I was in the room and I was not in the room.

Back in the death house, the real inexorably became the surreal, days dissolved into darkness, the nightmare came back with the light of day. Day after day. Nine hundred days. As far as I can see, that will never change.

Millions of people in the world believe in an afterlife, be it heaven or reincarnation. Actually about half the world’s population, close to four billion people. Amazing number. Nonbelievers say dream on, we’re all going to oblivion.

THE DISADVANTAGES OF HEAVEN

If you end up in heaven you’re stuck there forever. Like being on a cruise ship of fools that never docks. What if you want to get off? Get away from the relatives and acquaintances you couldn’t stand in life. Heavensayers believe all will be bliss and everyone will love everyone. Forever and ever. That sounds kind of sickening. Like piling twenty-seven teaspoons of sugar in your coffee, or watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ over and over and over. Give me reincarnation over that — at least you have the element of surprise.

On the other hand, oblivion could be cool, a whole lot of peace and quiet. The only regret would be that Oblivionites would have no memory, no recollections of the good times.

Be that as it may, wherever we’re going, we’re all going to the same place.


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