February 8, 2004
Game of the Moment
An exercise in misanthropy, can you make it through all four rounds of Throw Rocks At Boys?
Interactive Quiz of the Moment
Can you spot the fake smiles? Go take the quiz, and then come back here and highlight (or hit Ctrl-A) to read the next bit:
I was like 2 for 10 'til I thought to start looking at the eyes, then I was 9 for 10. Still, I wonder if it might be better in everyday life to take smiles at face value (so to speak).
Article of the Moment
Great piece in Slate, Paradise Lite, on the Populist vision of Heaven. It's funny, lately I had been thinking about how non-biblical many of the things mainstream Christians, including myself back in the day, believe are.
The author missed two other representations of the "Heaven as Disneyland" view: it was beautifully parodied in Monty Python's "Meaning of Life" in the song and dance finale "Christmas in Heaven". More thoughtfully, Julian Barnes' A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters' final chapter shows how we aren't equipped to handle a heaven that's pretty much like life on Earth, but nicer, and forever...eventually, after you've devoured all history's literature, created your own, perfected your golf game so you get a hole-in-one each time, met all the historical figures you've ever wanted to...you're ready to end it. We are finite creatures, and while I wish I had more choice about by "3 score and ten years" lifespan, I found that idea as expressed in that book comforting.
Literary Passage of the Moment
After the sixth day I woke up and it was bright. I knew I was back. I was no longer inside a loose sack but was now inhabiting a body like my own, from before; I was the same. I stood and was in a wide field of buttercups. I could smell their smell and walked through them, my eyes at the level of the yellow, a wide blur of a line of yellow. I was heavy-headed from the gorgeousness of the yellow all blurry. I loved breathing this way again, and seeing everything.
I should say that it's very much the same here as there. There are more hills, and more waterfalls, and things are cleaner. I like it. Each day I walk for a long time, and I don't have to walk back. I can walk and walk, and when I am tired I can sleep. When I wake up, I can keep walking and I never miss where I started and have no home.
I haven't seen anyone yet. I don't miss the cement like sandpaper on my feet, or the buildings with the sleeping men reaching. I sometimes miss the other dogs and the running.
The one big surprise is that as it turns out, God is the sun. It makes sense, if you think about it. Why we didn't see it sooner I cannot say. Every day the sun was right there burning, ours and other planets hovering around it, always apologizing, and we didn't think it was God. Why would there be a god and also a sun? Of course God is the sun. Simple, good.
Everyone in the life before was cranky, I think, because they just wanted to know.
--Dave Eggers, from "After I Was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned". I'd been meaning to write this vision of a dog's afterlife down for the longest time, and given today's themes it seems as good a time as any, better than most.