Monday, November 15, 2010


“Welcome” is what they said when I got there.

From the moment I got there I was certain I was in the wrong place as they kept telling me I “ought to have brought something with me.”

I told them that “I didn’t know I was supposed to bring anything with me.”

Before sending me on my way they aptly responded, “Why else would anyone spend a lifetime collecting all that shit if it wasn’t meant to go anywhere?”

“Indeed. Why else?” is what I thought as they pushed me along my way.

After life. What comes after life? Death. What comes after death?

First of all, when they tell you… “You can’t take it with you” they are dead wrong. It’s the first time that old saying no longer held any type of meaning.


“Welcome to Eternity. Your life after life.” is what the sign read when I got there. Like a roadside billboard it shouted out the message that was now clear as day. If it wasn’t before.

From the moment I got there I was certain that I was in the wrong place. I had nothing to bring with me and no one to see. While there were no angels and halos, there were signs. And much like an airport the signs will keep telling you where to go and when you need to be there. Rushes of people follow the signs and continue with their business. All coming and going hustling about through long lines and short lines to get to the next place. Some are passing through corridors and others through gates to meet what comes next as I follow the signs.

And the signs tell me to follow the arrows and keep right before telling me to put my things on the counter and itemize my list. While I pause to read the paperwork the overhead speaker makes an announcement.

“All claims must be processed within 24 hours of arrival.” 

I look to my left at the middle age man with his oversized golf tournament trophy. He gleefully smiles with bit of a laugh when handing over his list. The man tells him that it will be one moment and it’s not longer than that when the man returns with box. It’s a box that brings about a wave of excitement that leaves the golf trophy shoved aside.  It’s a box of old baseball cards from the man at the counter that makes him giddy. With a smile he looks at me and says, “I can’t believe this is happening! I thought I’d never see these again. It’s been at least forty years. Don’t worry they’ll find yours too. Just write it down.” I smile and try think about what it is that I might want to see when the man walks away with his claim. As he nears the gate he’s greeted with a kiss from his wife who’s been waiting for his arrival. Standing next to her at the opening of the gate is his old dog “Spot” that jumps and barks with excitement. And by the time he heads out the gate his face is almost full of tears from the unexpected welcome.

As I settle in to figure out what thing I can’t go on without seeing once more, a man from the front of the line steps up from behind and nudges me a little with his arm. I can’t help but wonder what he wants as I turn around and step back.
“Don’t know what you want, eh?”
“How’d you know?”
“You’re the only one holding up the line.”
“I don’t know if I want… Not everyone must want to see it all again.”
“Don’t be like that. Go on and ask for something though. Get into the spirit of it.”
“It’s too silly.”
“There are no silly questions or silly answers,” says the man at the front of the line before it’s my turn to step up once again. “Go on and ask for anything. That’s what they all do. It won’t hurt none, not even you.”
So as he coaches I ask for something that I don’t believe I’ll find here and hand over my list. I tell the man at the counter not to worry if it can’t be found. He nods and turns around. Rather sooner than longer returns with an old leather baseball glove that I hadn’t seen since I was ten. And much like the old man before I can’t believe what is in front of me. It’s full of old wrinkles and smells of little league. I’m speechless but thank him before telling him to take it away. The man behind me looks aghast as I order it away, but there’s no need for it here. No need at all.

“Sir,” another voice conjures up from behind as I’m walking away from the claims counter. She is a petite woman, no taller than 5ft looking straight into my eyes with her crystal blue gaze and bright smile. “Sir, I’m Aades. Your Personal Guidance Counselor. Your advisor for financial matters in the hereafter. Can you follow me?”

We walk toward another bank of signs. Ones that point to move left instead of moving right. Ones that point toward claim processing centers. And ones that point to accounts specialists. All the signs point before telling you to keep moving. Just like the signs the people keep moving. Moving people keep on moving by with their things, their valuable and possessions. They all have the deeds to their houses, their furniture, and most importantly the things they don’t need. When I stop to wonder if it will be enough to sustain them through eternity a man zips by on an unbalanced people mover with his electric scooter instead of walking. It’s then I know that it will never be enough.

At the moment I must have made the face of shock as Aades steps up with words of reassuring.
She says, “Don’t’ worry we’ll settle you up. Someone will arrange for you to have your things brought up. It’s not a problem.”
“It’s not a problem,” I try to intercede.
“Of course it’s not. Once we set you up with a Personal Account Specialist they’ll take care of all the details. They can see all the things you’re missing. They have a knack for those things.”
Although I continue to try and tell her different she tells me not to worry. And all I can think is how much I want to worry when she points us to another room with a sign that tells me to keep right.

Upon entering this room I’m struck by the size. The ceiling vaults to unseen heights. Hanging from the ceiling of the oversized room there are a dozen low fans circling with the slow pace of a wheel that has just enough momentum to rotate around once more. Amid the center of the room there are several desks arranged in a line. At each desk there’s someone who “can” helping someone who “lacks” in this oversized room. And also in this room I’m guided to a man who is supposed to be able to help what I lack in this place where unnecessary should no longer matter yet it does.

Sitting with a Personal Account Specialist is much like sitting with a banker who thinks he knows how you want to spend your money better than you do. It’s a bit of struggle between stubborn and foolishly arrogant as the tug of war begins with a man named Captain. Three suggestions fly out from his end as I toss a few responses back from mine. It’s the expression that you can’t take it with you that I’m basing my calculations on. In the end I tell him there is nothing and nothing is final. According to Captain I have to do better than that because this line of thinking won’t work. And before giving up he offers another loan followed by a line of credit. I tell the Captain that I didn’t live on borrowed money and certainly wouldn’t spend eternity on it. With that I get up and keep walking. Away from the Captain with his borrowed money. Away from the desks where deals are made. Away from the ceiling fans that slowly move around. Away from the oversized room that isn’t really necessary. And finally away from all the unnecessary.

It’s not long before Aades returns from the bowels of the room to collect me once again. She points me toward another long hallway without her kind smile. The glimmer of promise is no longer in her face as she directs us further away from the busy corridors before stopping. Aades then points to another set of signs leading toward a door labeled exit. The signs tell me to keep right once more and to watch out for the first step before exiting.
“Sir, you’ll need to take that exit.”
“What comes next?”
“For you there is nothing.”
“What do you mean by “nothing?”
“You’ve chosen a life without anything. Without means. And here… you must understand there is no life here without means.”
“I don’t understand.”
“It’s about ego. It’s about power. It’s about all those things you lied to yourself to deny. It’s…”
“What do you mean? I can’t stay.”
“No. Sir, you can not stay. You have nothing here and that’s not going to work. You must follow the signs.”
“Is there a way?”
“There is. But as you told the Captain, that wasn’t going to work with your values.”
“Now what?”
“You go back. And maybe you’ll learn a thing or two.”
“Maybe I will. And if I don’t?”
“Have a nice life, sir.”

You can’t take it with you?!? Well, the Ancient Egyptians thought you could. What do you think about that? And if you’re counting on taking it with you… GOOD LUCK! I’m a believer in you-never-know. So it may be possible. How about we have a chat when we’re all dead? We can trade uses for all our useless things.  This particular idea has me thinking there could be more to it. Needless to say it was somewhat inspired by a few recent experiences that I would share had they not made me sign a non-disclosure agreement. Yeah anything after the fingerprinting has to be taken in a serious nature. Boo! Anyway, tonight I’m still juggling, recuperating once again, and writing. Hope you are all doing fabulous! Are you? Some things are as always amazingly savage. Enjoy! kisses. m. 

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