“Wow, I feel weird…where am I?”

“I hear that a lot, that it feels weird…I’d better look into that. It’s not supposed to. You just came through the portal. Welcome.”

“Who are you?”

“God. You’re dead.”

“Whoa! Dead? What happened? Was it coronavirus? And why don’t you have a beard?”

God chuckles. “Coronavirus, no. Very low odds on that one. I was just messing with you guys, you know, you get bored after a while. And the beard…how would you describe what I look like now?”

“Good question. You look like nothing and everything at the same time.”

“Well said. Trying to picture that blows tiny little human minds. So I let the beard thing go even though it probably needs some updating.”

“So how did I get here?”

“You probably don’t want to know. Ever heard of the Darwin Awards?”

“Oh no…”

“Doesn’t matter. If you provide a lot of people with a laugh on your way out, and I mean a lot, well, that’s not such a bad thing, is it? And legacies are really overrated. Anyway, we have some work to do. What do you want to be next?”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re going back in. Reincarnation.”

“Really? No heaven?”

“That is heaven.”

“So all those religions…”

“The Buddhists and Hindus were close in some ways. Buddhists mostly. All had some parts right, but wow human interpretive skills are a mixed bag…”

“Oh wow. So I get to pick who I go back as? This is pretty cool!”

“Umm, no, you get to pick what you go back as.”

“Duh. I’ll take a human again.”

“Saying “duh” isn’t the smartest thing you can do right about here and now.”

“Oh yes I suppose so. Sorry. But it’s an easy choice, I definitely want to be a human again.”

“It’s natural you’d say that. You were one of the lucky ones. Did your whole stint in Canada, right?”

“Not sure why you say one of the lucky ones…kind of cold and boring…maybe California this time.”

“Hold on, that’s not how it works. You’re going to need to think a bit. First, everyone says human right away. But there are advantages to trying something else.”

“What could possibly be better than a human?”

“Well, how’d you like to fly?”

“Ooh, never thought of that. So, like an eagle?”

“Could be. Or a mosquito.”

“Who the hell would want to return as a mosquito?”

“First, we don’t use that phrase here. Second, as far as mosquitoes, do you remember all those really annoying people on earth? A lot of them choose mosquito. Plus, there are advantages. You get to fly, and because the entire life cycle of a mosquito is a fraction of a summer they get to come up here and pick again before they know it.”

“Oh wow I never thought of that either. So I could pick something and live a really long time then right?”

“Yep. Best bet if you want that is a tree, but same thing – you have to think about it. Do you want to stand in one spot for 400 years like redwoods? Or grow fast and furious for a few decades then come on back up? Flowers are nice, they make people smile, but that bee thing isn’t fun…I get a lot of complaints about that. Again, quick rotation though.”

“Wow this is complicated. But I think I’ll take human though, that was probably the most amazing way to live.”

“It is indeed. Here’s the part that’s challenging though. If you become a human, you’re going to land randomly. You had it pretty sweet in Canada.”

“Not really. I wasn’t rich. I didn’t drive a Porsche. I could barely afford a holiday a year. I had a small house.”

God sighs. “This is always the hard part…ok, if you go back down randomly there’s a very low chance you’ll have anywhere near the life you just had. There’s a one in three chance you wind up in China or India. On average, you can forget the comfortable life you had. Nearly 20 percent chance you’ll wind up in Africa. Again, pretty scenic place, but you get dealt a totally different hand I can assure you.”

“Whoa…I was thinking like living in LA or New York…”

“Point two percent chance of that. And if you do land there…hold on while I pull up your file…you’ve been to LA I see. Think about your trip. What did you see more of – famous movie stars, or guys laying on the ground with their feet sticking out of hedges toes up in the middle of the day? There’s a lot more of the latter. Odds are if you land in LA you’ll be in that camp. And calling. Same as New York. All those people protesting racism? Could be you getting the shaft this time around.”

“Never thought of that…”

“Few ever do. The rich ones that come up here – and you’re rich, believe me, a total two-percenter – think the whole world has it like them. North Americans and western Europeans are the worst. [mocking voice] ‘Can I be a vegan?’ ‘I don’t like dry air.’ ‘I want a house with a view.’ You have to reframe things. A house is luxury. Reliable heat in winter is a luxury. A full grocery store is a luxury.”

“So I don’t get to pick any of that stuff…”

“Nope, sorry. Unless you want to go to Cleveland.”


“Just kidding. I like to throw that out randomly. Everyone turns up their nose but no one’s ever been. It’s a really nice place.”

“OK, I’ll take Cleveland.”

“I was joking. You go down randomly. Can’t change the rules now.”

“Sure you could, you’re God!”

“There’s another level of bureaucracy you can’t even imagine.”

“Ah. So what is it with humans anyway?”

“Good question! They were a weird experiment. Give them the ability to reason and holy hell – “

“I thought we couldn’t use that phrase up here.”

“I can. You’re just here for another five minutes. Surely you can play by the rules for that long. There’s the human thing again. ‘What if I don’t want to?’ You know how sick I get of hearing that? All the other creatures just get on with it, but some human is always whining.”

“Is that the human condition?”

“Ugh, I’m afraid so. People need to get a lot more tolerant of little things, more accepting. The whining drives me crazy. It just gets them more mosquitoes.”

“So if I choose human again, what should I do differently?”

“Now that’s a great question, I’ll see if I can upgrade your seat a bit, so to speak. And I can, because, you know, just look at me…anyway, here’s something to think about. Somehow, and I still scratch my head about this, humans figured out how to keep 7 billion people alive at the same time. The web of stuff they stitched together to make all that happen boggles even my mind, it’s like a Rube Goldberg machine that would have taken me forever to build. And trust me I know about forever. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good, and it self corrects a lot. It’s getting harder to hold it all together. A lot of species are getting squeezed, or we’re having trouble getting recruits if you want to look at it that way, so I’d say work on that, making room for all of them. But overall, I’d say respect that big system that works so well, it feeds almost everyone and keeps them warm and entertained and educated. Pitch in to make it better, but respect it. It’s one hell of a piece of work; sometimes I get caught up watching it. It’s totally fascinating.”

“OK! I like the sound of that, and I like the challenge of being a positive force to make it better. That’s a great roadmap!”

“No, it’s not. You’re all idiots. Er, let me rephrase that – you all have perfect capability for infinite good, but too easily get sidetracked and petty, complacent, too self-invested, or just plain nasty. The good of you will fight to overcome that, and one in a million will make a real difference. So maybe it will be you. I’ll keep an eye on how you’re doing. Good luck!”

[Voice fading rapidly] “A trap door? Really?”

Having trouble understanding how we’re supposed to be shutting down the fuels that keep us alive? You’re not alone, find some answers in “The End of Fossil Fuel Insanity” available at, or

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1 Comment

  1. […] “Somehow humans figured out how to keep 7 billion people alive at the same time with a Rube Goldberg machine that would have taken me forever to build. And trust me I know about forever…respect that big system that works so well, it feeds almost everyone and keeps them warm and entertained and educated.” Read on… […]


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