Ripeness Wants to be Ravished
A month away from 70 and I thought
I’d understand everything by now because,
by 70 I would have been dead for 16 years.
None of the men on my father’s side
made it past 54. Why am I the exception?
Probably because of my cardiologist,
Abe Friedman, who prescribed statins early
and enalapril when my blood pressure revolted
in my late 40s. For 25 years I tried to make
Abe laugh but gave up after he asked me,
while I was on a treadmill, if I got any exercise.
I replied, breathlessly, that “I always make sure
to walk from my car on my way into a restaurant.”
All I got was, “I’m not amused!” He saved
my life and didn’t want a goodbye card
or the flowers I tried to send him when
he retired. Maybe I’d understand that
if I was dead. And where is it written,
in the book of religious fairy tales, that
we achieve omniscience after death?
Sister Mary Nevertouchyourself taught us
that, after death, we wouldn’t be interested
in seeing our loved ones again because
we’d be in the presence of God. I guess
we thought, if we were that close to God,
we’d acquire his eternal knowledge almost
as if we’d become God ourselves which,
strangely enough, both Kierkegaard and
Joseph Smith believed. Smith claimed that,
along with becoming God, we’d get our
own planets. Wow! What would I do with
my own planet? First I’d lay in an eternal
supply of Diet Wild Cheery Pepsi--
wouldn’t want to run out of that.
I’d make sure my wife and son lived
on the planet and that we had baseball
and a fine symphony. All the dogs and
cats we loved would be there with us
along with our friends. We’d write poetry,
drink beer, and eat pizza every day. Abe
Friedman would be there. He’d check my
blood pressure, laugh at my stupid jokes,
let me give him flowers and thank him for
all he’d done while we were both alive.
Oh, and he’d listen to my heart.