Hello, God. It's Me, the Annoying One

Everyone has different views of heaven and our ability to interact with God. I’m a subscriber of the Oh God and Bruce Almighty versions, but not the one where Robin Williams goes to hell and back to save his wife and you get to be a beautiful Asian girl if you want. Too much hellish desolation. I think hell is more painful and less depressing.

Some people hope that right after we die, we get to ask God questions so that we’re privy to all the mysteries of the universe. I am one of those people. It makes me a little bit nervous, though, that I’ll get to the meeting and won’t have my questions prepared and end up asking about things I am too dumb to understand or “Does this white robe make my butt look big?”

I have lived through meetings like that. As a reporter I was sent on assignments with no background and had to wing it. The results weren’t good, so I’m hoping my big meeting with God goes a little bit better than my interview with Phyllis Diller. Otherwise I’ll end up asking about plastic surgery.

My friend Beth’s mother claimed that she got some questions answered by her late husband, whose spirit came back to tell her stuff. Stuff like where his pea coat was (in the little guest closet) and that she should give it to one of the grandsons. Also that Beth’s son was a genius, and that she should write a book about what heaven was like (it’s very complicated, according to Beth’s dad. There are levels and depending on how good you were on Earth, you sometimes get to skip the lower levels where you’re basically Heaven’s janitor slave.)

Other than the heavenly org chart, Beth’s dad didn’t have a lot of answers. Because most of the big questions have to be directed to God.

Here are six questions I think I’d like to ask when I get to that meeting:

1. How did Mary really feel about labor and delivery in a shed? Really. I know she was patient and laid-back and all, but immaculate conception notwithstanding, she was human. If she bitched about it for the next 20 years (“Chosen one, my ass.”) do you think it would have ended up in the Bible? I don’t think so.

2. How clean is clean enough? I’m thinking it’s somewhere between the French and their bathe-only-when-you-run-out-of-cologne and the OCD freaks with their blood-stained scrub brushes. But where exactly? Some people say Americans are crazy, with our daily showers. But my friend who grew up in Bombay said they wouldn’t dream of having dinner without bathing and changing clothes for the second time in a day. Go figure.

3. Could you please explain to me in layman’s terms how women who live in the same household have their periods at the same time?

4. What happened to Mary Ann Groff? In the 1970s, she was a housewife and mom who disappeared off the face of the earth one day. I babysat for the people next-door to her, so I knew her and her family a little bit. I watched while the police dug up their back yard garden, looking for evidence, while Mr. Groff stood there off to one side, looking like the saddest person I’ve ever seen. Everyone wondered if she ran away, was kidnapped, or was murdered. I think the God interviews will have a lot of these kinds of questions about unsolved crimes and missing persons (more than one will be about Jimmy Hoffa); mine will be about Mrs. Groff.

5. Since I’m standing here talking to you, I’m going to assume that I’m not going to hell. So can I conclude that it is not a mortal sin to take birth control and skip mass for no good reason other than you don’t have anything to wear and there’s a Law & Order mini-marathon on? Would it not be wise to get that word out? There are a lot of guilty Catholics down there.

6. Were humans meant to mate for life? I’m wondering since there are so many divorces and it just doesn’t make sense that in order to have children before menopause, we have to get married when we’re still too young to know with whom we want to spend our empty-nest retirement years. I think God has lots of opinions about how we should live and what rules we should follow. I’m just not sure being married only once and staying married is one of the requirements. I’d like to think that I’m getting extra credit for doing it.

If I get to my meeting before any of you, I'll try to get the answers down to you. Or you do the same for me. And don't waste your questions on the meaning of life or why hot dogs are sold in packs of 10 and hot dog buns are sold in packs of 8. Some things you can just look up while you're still alive.

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