Saturday, May 27, 2017

Oh God - Part Nineteen

Oh God – Part Nineteen
            “Intel? That’s information you gather about somebody you’re snoopin’ on.”
            “Would that be like intelligence?”
            “Ya, somethin’ like that.”
            “You talk funny, Schwartz.”
            “That’s how everybody talks these days.”
            “Why? What’s wrong with sayin’ the word ‘intelligence’?”
            “It’s too long! Nobody’s got time for that.”
            “What? You got that much to talk about, or too much to do?”
            “Both,” said Schwartz. “Life gets busier and busier. That’s why we have to rely on acronyms in order to get everything said and done.”
            “Schwartz,” said God, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. “You’re sittin’ here at our dinner table, havin’ a conversation an’ I don’t see anythin’ that’s so busy we haven’t got time to talk about it.”
            “Ah, time. That was probably one of the dumbest things you people ever thought up. I gave you time. I gave you daylight and darkness. Your ancestors used it well and wisely. They lived according to its law and did so very well. So what’s your problem?” asked God.
            “Well there are so many things to do and to discover about our world, we just don’t have the time to do it all!”
            “Well. LOL with that!”
            Schwartz was trying very hard to control his frustration. “That’s not even the right acronym,” he snorted.
            “I know,” laughed God, “but it works either way, doesn’t it?”

            Schwartz couldn’t say anything.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Oh God - Part Eighteen

Oh God – Part Eighteen
            “I hear you’ve got Alf Loewen up here to fix Tony’s harp,” commented God casually, sitting suddenly beside Schwartz. “Good move.”
            “If I can make St. Peter happy, it’ll be a relief,” replied Schwartz. “Loewen’s pretty good at what he does.”
            “No question. Professionally he’s the best. Personally – well that’s another matter. But I’ll leave you with him.”
            Schwartz left Tony washing and straightening his wings, humming a haunting little tune, and went looking for old acquaintances he might encounter. There were so many people here he found it hard to focus. Oddly enough they seemed to all know one another. He didn’t know anybody.
            Loewen, having finished with Tony’s harp, commented to Schwartz, “Nice place you got here.”
            “Thanks, I like it.”

            “How’d you get here anyways?”
            “I don’t really know. I was workin’ on makin’ a new language for people to use universally when I suddenly ended up here talkin’ to God. It seems he gets a little crotchety when people are tryin’ to figure out is world.  They keep tryin’ an’ he keeps catchin’ them. Since I was workin’ on that project, I guess he figured we needed to have a chat.”
            “Strange,” said Loewen. “After what I done in my ‘alive’ world, I never thought I’d end up here.”
            “You sound remorseful Loewen.”
            “Of course I’m remorseful. Who wouldn’t be? When you’re alive in the real world you do such stupid things that ya can’t take back. There should be a set of instructions that come with bein’ born,” Loewen lamented.
            “I think there is,” noted Schwartz. “I’m gonna find out, get some intel from my grandma. She’s gotta be up here somewhere’s.”

            “What’s an ‘intel’,” Loewen wanted to know.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Oh God - Part Seventeen

Oh God – Part Seventeen
“Schwartz, you haven’t even met any of your contemporaries yet. I would suggest you spend some time getting to know some people. It’s surprising what and who you may find here. First thing you know, you’ll be busier than you’ve ever been,” God smiled.
            Well, good idea thought Schwartz and started to look around. Low and behold, the first person he met was Tony Bennett. He didn’t even know Tony was dead, but here he was, singing away sadly while washing his face in a little hand bowl. His angel wings were all crooked and dirty and an old harp with several broken strings lay at his feet.
            “Holy Hannah!” exclaimed Schwartz, “If it isn’t Tony Bennett! What are you doing here? You look a total mess!”
            “I am a mess,” whimpered Tony, “it’s awful.”
            “What happened, Tony?”
            “The thing is that during my lifetime, I grew up with my boyhood buddy Sam Frank. We made a solemn promise that when the last one of us died, we’d meet up. Turns out he was designated to hell. So I begged my way into going down to see him for an hour or so. Turns out he’d never mended his ways and he had a little Bistro down there- wild place. We had a blast, just like in the good old days but when I realized what time it was I ripped outa there with my wings all bent and of all things, I left my harp in Sam Frank’s Bistro. I finally got it back, but look at the shape it’s in.”
            “A sad story for sure Tony, but maybe I can help. I remember seein’ Alf Loewen, the piano man down there a while back. I imagine he can fix up your harp. I’ll see if I can get him to help.”
            “Oh that would be amazing! I just don’t want St. Peter to be mad at me anymore.”
            “Aw relax Tony. Why don’t ya write a song about it. That’s what ya do ain’t it?”
            “Ya, that’s what I do. . . . ‘I left my harp . . . in Sam Frank’s Bistro . . .catchy first line Tony admitted.” He was happy.
            And Schwartz was happy too. The thrill of accomplishment rippled through his soul. He’d get Tony’s harp fixed an’ at the same time have a new recruit for God’s endless dinner table (maybe).

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Oh God - Part Sixteen

Oh God – Part Sixteen
Thinking there must be a downside to living in heaven with God and the multitude gathered around his table, Schwartz tried to analyze the pros and cons of it all. Not that he had any great attachment to Satan, but there was the excitement of the art of the con that he was used to and good at. He’d never be able to practice that here. He’d have to find a new discipline to practice so he didn’t get bored. First thing he’d better do was to make some friends if he was to stay here.
            The thing that worried him about staying in hell was what God had said about judgment day was that Satan would be released and he would turn the heat up in hell to fry all its residents in an eternal fire. That was not cool (to coin a phrase), unless there was some truth to the story about the Toronto Maple Leafs winning the Stanley cup. But he was doubtful about that. He just didn’t fancy bein’ fried into eternity.
            On the heaven side, he had the pleasantries of conversation at the family dinner table which was nice and comfortable. It would expand as he made friends and met new people. Mind you, there was Petronela and her iron-fisted discipline about cussin’ an’ civility. But that was a minor irritant he’d likely get over in time. The only question was if he could stay here after being judged as he surely would be.
            Things were weighing heavily in favor of heaven for Schwartz. Surely he would be able to incorporate his freewheeling ways up here to one degree or another. Surely God must give him some degree of latitude in this. It was one of the few talents he had and without the ability to make a deal, what else would he do? Schwartz had almost decided for certain he would take his chances and stay in heaven. There were too many good things here to go back to that potential fire pit. If he had to learn something new, he’d do it. God would certainly have some suggestions. Well, they were at the family table after all where you could discuss things and come out with a compromise of sorts. ‘Okay, that’s it! I’ll mend my ways and stay,’ he muttered under his breath.
            Magically, God was again sitting at the table next to Schwartz and the latter suddenly realized the power of this guy. This was not somebody you wanted to fool around with. “It’s something you have to follow through on yourself,” God continued, as though he had never left.         “The thing you want to do Schwartz,” God said, “is to focus on your path from here on in, once you have determined what that path is.”
            “That’s just what I wanted to discuss with you God,” replied Schwartz.
“Good thing Schwartz. That’s why we have this lovely dinner table.”
            “The thing is, that I’m in a bit of a dilemma. Down in hell I’ve got all kinds of latitude to do my thing – exercise my talents as it were. If I give that up, exactly what will I have to do here?”

            “Good question,” God replied.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Oh God - Part Fifteen

Oh God – Part Fifteen
            “It seems that out of all the creatures I created, mankind was about the only failure I had. Not a bad average I would say. Mankind was not really a failure as such, but I made him more complicated than I needed to. If only I hadn’t given him dominion over all the other creatures, he may well have been satisfied.”
            “Do you really think that was the thing that caused all this expansion?” asked Schwartz.
            He really wasn’t thinking about the time of creation, but more about the chaos that was going on in hell right now and what that would be like in the future when Satan was finally released and turned up the heat, and did he want to be part of that.  He was in a real turmoil about it. Here there was no shouting goin’ on. There were no insults bein’ flung back an’ forth an’ no screamin’ for first place. Oh, there was all kind of banter an’ discussion about every subject under the sun around the seemingly endless table, but it was all discreet an’ friendly like.
            “I kind o’ think I like it better here,” said Schwartz hopefully. “Do you think I might have a chance to stay?”
God laughed out loud. “That Schwartz, is entirely up to you. It’s not something I can determine ahead of time. I’ve told you that I will judge every soul within the universe. By the look of things it will be sooner than later. When I examine your very inner soul, I will decide.”
            “Aw crumb,” muttered Schwartz.
            “I don’t know what you’re fussin’ about Schwartz,” God commented, “you’ve known what’s right or wrong since you were a youngster, so it’s all on your head. I can’t help you with that. Well, I could, but I won’t.”
            Schwartz had nowhere to turn but inward. He wasn’t used to that. Up to now there was always somebody else to blame for his shortcomings, but now he’d have to face himself. It didn’t seem fair somehow. But he quickly realized that that’s how it was, so he’d better button down to reality. The one thing in his favor was his tenacity.

            Schwartz grew quiet. God, realizing what was going through his mind, moved on to address some of the others.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Oh God - Part Fourteen

Oh God – Part Fourteen
“They are so set in their ways and so attached to their ideas that they are prepared to overcome judgment day altogether. Their opinions are set to overrule anything I might confer upon them. It’s the usual; ‘We’ll deal with it when it comes up’ attitude’.
“You’ll judge them too?” asked Schwartz
“Absolutely. Every last one o’ them.”
“How about me?”
“Yep, you too.”
“HOLY CRAP!” Schwartz yelled suddenly, realizing that he too was under scrutiny. “How’m I doin’ so far?”
“Don’t push it Schwartz. You know very well what the rules of life are. You have to choose what course you want to pursue. I won’t do that for you.”
“Figures,” grumbled Schwartz.
“In fact”, continued God, “I was a bit worried about people taking over the universe, but I see now that they’ll never get there, so I won’t even put my plans into action. Let the chips fall where they may.”
“Maybe you could explain that to me,” said Schwartz.
“Easy,” answered God. “Firstly, they’re so busy makin’ up a new language using acronyms, they themselves don’t understand the language, not that it makes any difference since they’re so busy yellin’ at one another, nobody’s got time to listen to anybody but themselves. Secondly and more importantly, they’re busy tryin’ new things an’ doin’ new stuff with every aspect of my green earth an’ they don’t take account of how it was made in the first place.”
“How does that affect anythin’” Schwartz asked.
“Manipulation of one part directly affects the reaction of another,” God explained patiently. “It’s like cause and effect – well in fact, it is cause and effect. You know, if a man speaks in the middle of a forest where no one can hear – is he still wrong?” God chuckled at his own joke. “Of course he is. Just ask his wife.”

“Well that’s a bad example, but it serves to highlight what really happens. If I tell a funny story, you smile.  If a man drives his car, the carbon emissions create clouds of carbon monoxide in the sky and pollute the atmosphere. If you clear cut a forest, the ground becomes unstable, causin’ landslides. Misuse of water supplies causes the dryin’ – up o’ lakes an’ rivers. I could go on an’ on.”

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Oh God - Part Thirteen

Oh God = Part Thirteen
“It is really nice Schwartz,” commented God rather deliberately, “that you and I can sit here at the dinner table and casually discuss all the world’s problems in a friendly and relaxed manner without rancor or blame. Best thing I ever did was to make this family dinner table. It’s a good job Jesus was such a good carpenter. He put a lot more in it than just wood.”
Schwartz could feel it too. There was a genuine warmth around the table, inviting friendship and a sense of belonging. He’d never felt that at Satan’s place. Oh, there was lots of partying, screaming and yelling going on but somehow it felt cold. It was like everyone was trumpeting their own importance, trying to outdo the others. Well you couldn’t blame them. It was the only way to get ahead. You had to trumpet your own importance louder and more often than anybody else. What was that saying: ‘The squeaky wheel gets the grease’? Of course, they didn’t have to do that any more but they were so accustomed to it, they couldn’t quit. The noise and chaos was enough to give even Schwartz a supreme headache.  Sitting here with God and the others was enough to cause him to want to abandon his former boss. “Whatever happened to Purgatory for those people in hell? Aren’t they supposed to be asleep?” said Schwartz.
“They had a choice. They could either go to sleep until judgment day, or carry on with their antics. They are obviously beyond redemption, come judgment day.”
“Oh,” commented Schwartz. “How did I get here then?
“You’ll notice that this is a pretty big table. It’s almost endless. There are some pretty big sinners sitting at it who thought they’d try out our side of things and have come to prefer it. But you are a special project of Satan’s. He sent you here to disrupt my concerns about human behaviour. He’s such a jackass that it never occurred to him you might prefer the sanctity of a dinner table where family and reason prevail, much as some of the others.”
Schwartz looked around and sure enough the table seemed almost endless. The multitude of people around it was varied. They certainly weren’t all angels, that was for sure. Yet they were all comfortably conversing with one another, thoroughly at home in this environment. “So, what’s with the people partying an’ dancin’ an’ yellin’ their stupid heads off in hell? What about them?” he pondered almost absently.
“Oh, those are people who sold their souls to the devil. They bypassed purgatory altogether and went straight to hell. There’s not much chance for them to be ransomed outa there.”

“Hm,” said Schwartz.