The following humorous experience with the afterlife is excerpted from WHY ARE THERE MONKEYS? (and other questions for God) by Brooke Jones.
Eternal; all-powerful; all-knowing – According to the authors of Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, these are the primary attributes of God. Of course, according to these same authors, timidity, mildness and weakness are the primary attributes of women, so I take what said authors say with a pound and a half of salt — but that has nothing whatever to do with my story.
I spent several decades not at all convinced that there actually was a God, but it wasn’t a subject to which I paid much attention. I was what might have been referred to as a Closet Agnostic. This agnostic lack of conviction did not, however, prevent me from routinely mentioning His name—whenever I overslept; slammed my finger in a door; or got arrested…but we won’t go into that at the moment.
This lack of conviction also did not prevent me from occasionally crossing my fingers and toes and hoping (I said hoping – not praying—the concept of a praying Agnostic is too weird, even for me), that if He did exist, that in addition to His other benevolent attributes, He would also have the ability to laugh. On those rare occasions when the thought of God appeared in my consciousness, I found myself thinking about the existence of Heaven. That thought led me to the realization that, if there is a Heaven, I might want to go there someday….and therein lies the rub.
You see, due to the rather unorthodox life I had been living, I stood absolutely no chance of walking through those proverbial Pearly Gates unless the Man In Charge had the most bizarre sense of humor in the Cosmos — and what are the odds of that?
It started with drugs. I’m a child of the Sixties. For me everything started with drugs. It was just another in a long line of sad, sorry, self-indulgent nights, no different than any other…until…
They say they struggled to bring me back. They did everything they knew how to do. They held me under a cold shower. They slapped me. They slapped me again. They said they slapped, and slapped, and then they slapped some more. At some point they were slapping me primarily to vent their rage at my stupidity. It made them feel a bit better, but it didn’t do a thing for me. I was beyond their rage because …I was dead.
One minute I was alive – the next minute I was dead. Drugs can do that to you…but I’m getting ahead of myself.
It was 1950. Harry Truman was President. Everyone wore hats.
I was born into a Jewish family. Jewish families come in three varieties. There are Reform Jews, Conservative Jews, and Orthodox Jews. My family was of the Reform persuasion. Reform Jews are people who cling to a tribal identity while knowing precious little about their tribal history.
For Jews of all persuasions, Yom Kippur is the Holiest day of the year. It’s the day set aside for what is officially referred to as “The Atonement of Sin” (and unofficially recognized as a sacred excuse to visit the golf course).
Every year, on that day, the Reform Jews of my community, dressed to impress, attended Worship Services, not in the tony local temple, but at the Westchester Community Center, just down the road – a place more often used by the Ringling Brothers’ and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and the Harlem Globetrotters (the temple was just too small to hold all those mink coats).
There I would sit, hands folded in lap, dutifully watching the Rabbi and listening to the Cantor. Unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried to focus on them, all I could see were dancing elephants, and all I could hear were dribbling basketballs. By the time I was eight years old, I had concluded that if there were such a thing as the Holy Trinity (one of my best friends was a devout Catholic), it must consist of God; Celina, the Elephant Girl; and Meadowlark Lemon.
It was 1969. Richard Nixon was President. Everyone wore hair.
I experimented with Sex, Drugs, Rock ‘n Roll and Religion. In college, I majored in three of the four. At various times (and for various lengths of time), I was an Agnostic; an Atheist; a Rosicrucian; an Existentialist (mandatory for all freshman English Lit students); a Nihilist (mandatory for all sophomore Philosophy students); and a Buddhist (mandatory for nothing and preferred by two out of three Flower Children).
I practiced Yoga, religiously, so to speak. Twice a day I would contort myself into positions I can only fantasize about now. I treated my body like a temple – ingesting only natural products like brown rice, mushrooms, and…heroin.
It was 1975. Gerald Ford was President. Everyone wore heels.
Was it too much of a good thing, or was it just enough of a decidedly bad thing? Either way, I was overdosing. As I lay dying, I prayed to every Deity I had ever heard of, read about, or studied. I meditated on a framed picture of Swami Satchidananda. I chanted. I envisioned several Hollywood actors who had portrayed Jesus. I did everything I could think of. Then…I died.
I’d never heard of a Near Death Experience. For me, born and raised in and around New York City, bright lights and tunnels were nothing more than the basic ingredients of traffic jams. So, imagine my surprise when I suddenly found myself floating in a gossamer tunnel that seemed to be made of light — a three-dimensional, white light. A warm, three-dimensional, white light. A warm, three-dimensional, white light that felt alive.
It’s amazing what a dead girl can do in eight minutes. Take me, for example. I met God. I spoke to God. God spoke to me, and these are the words we shared…
“And Now For Something Completely Different”
A warm, dry fog hangs in the motionless air. I look around and realize that I haven’t the slightest idea where I am, or how I got here.
“Hello” I whisper. The stillness of the environment seems to call for whispers. No answer, so I repeat, a bit louder, “Hello?” Again, no answer. “Hello, Hello, Hello?” Silence. Silence. Silence. Unaccustomed as I am to being ignored, and brandishing the regrettable lack of civility for which I am notorious, I raise my voice and say to anyone who might be lurking in the distance, “Would someone please tell me where the Hell I am!”
Instantly, the warm, foggy, motionless air fills with something that approximates lightning, and my ears fill with something that definitely sounds like thunder. I duck and, as I hide my eyes from the lightning, the thunder becomes a Voice. “Watch your language. Try to remember where you are”, the Voice commands in a baritone that, as I think about it now, made Darth Vader sound like Minnie Mouse…and I would happily oblige, were it not been for the fact that I don’t know where I am, so it is impossible for me to remember where I am…which is what leads me to reply: “I will, just as soon as I find out where I am!”
“You are at My Front Door”, responds the disembodied Voice.
Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. Where? I’m not sure, but I think I sense progress here. I’m at somebody’s front door. (I don’t see a door, but that seems to be the least of my problems). “And just who might you be?” I challenge.
“Let’s just say I Am!”
Okay, if you insist – “I am”, I say, obediently.
“No, I am”, the Voice corrects.
“Right, you am. But who am you?” (When I lose my syntax, I know that my sanity can’t be far behind). “I’m confused”, I confess.
“Most people are when they first arrive at My door”.
Well, that was a lovely trip. We’d just gone in a complete circle and here
we are, right back where we began, which is I still didn’t know where, so I try again. “Where am I?”
And again the Voice says “You are at My front door”.
Getting dizzy…must sit down.
I look around for a place to sit. I don’t see one. Come to think of it, I don’t see anything, except that fog, and that light. Then the Voice says “Welcome”. Nothing elaborate, just one word, Welcome, and suddenly it hits me. “Oh my god!” I gasp.
“By Jove, I think she’s got it”, says He.
For another humorous look at life after death see A Little More Humor From the Hereafter excerpted from A Guidebook To The Illnesses Of The Afterlife by Dr. Raymond Moody.
Author and Political Satirist, Brooke Jones spent many years on the radio in SF and Los Angeles. Her LA Radio Show, “Brooke Jones & The Morning Muse” – Political Satire for the Deeply Twisted generated numerous newspaper articles, interviews and even an invitation to be a guest on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. She declined Carson’s offer, making Brooke Jones one of the only women on planet Earth to ever say NO to Johnny Carson.
After a long battle with Breast Cancer, Brooke now spends her time, not as a Stand-Up Comedian, but as a Sit-Down Comedian — advancing decrepitude can do that to a girl. When she isn’t writing books, or articles, or skewering Knuckleheads, Nimrods and Nincompoops with her Facebook Meme site, Camp Meme-A-Day, she’s creating Cards for CardBard Greetings – the internet’s most twisted line of Greeting Cards – sold online at www.zazzle.com/thecardoutlet
Being, as she is, a Breast Cancer Warrior (aka “survivor”), Brooke donates a portion of every sale (of her Greeting Cards and her Memoir) to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. To learn more about Brooke Jones, visit her website.