This week’s inductee into the “Overrated Hall of Fame” is … your idea of Heaven.
A couple of weeks ago, the Washington Redskins squeaked into the NFL playoffs when they beat the snot out of a bunch of sorry-assed second-string Dallas Cowboys. In the euphoria of the Redskins locker room, several players commented on how the 21-point victory was more than just coincidence. This was a reference to Sean Taylor, the all-pro cornerback who was murdered in November. Taylor wore #21.
For subscribers to this lugheadded logic, this means that Sean Taylor, though dead, is still affecting the outcome of Washington Redskins games. If this is true, then heaven must be pretty damn lame. (Although it would certainly validate his sickeningly sentimental selection to the NFC Pro Bowl team. If he can still shut down a passing game from the hereafter, then on to Honolulu for you, Mr. Taylor.)
Sean Taylor died tragically in his 20s because three of the world’s biggest fuckheads wanted to steal his clothes. For this, you’d think the supreme being you believe in would at least make Taylor’s afterlife something special. The guy probably arrived in heaven and thought, “Oh yeah, baby. No more full-body aches on post-game Mondays. No more concussions, sprains and muscle pulls. No more drunk, hostile crowds calling my mother a whore. No more getting yelled at by crewcut-sporting, fat-assed coaches wearing polyester sweat pants with elastic waistbands. I’m in heaven, baby! Literally!”
And then one of the first things he has to do is figure out a way to not only get the Skins into the playoffs, but to do it with a 21-point spread? If I’m Taylor, I’m going to whoever is in charge and asking if there’s an Option B. I’m also going to challenge God on his inconsistency. I’d ask, “If I can affect the outcome of this week’s game, then why couldn’t have you sent my dead great-grandfather to stop the home invasion by the three subhuman pieces of filth who murdered me. I think it’s a fair question. Please answer quickly, because I have to make sure this extra point goes through.”
It’s not just sports idiots who think this way. Most people think this way when one of their loved ones dies. How many times have you said or heard someone say something like, “Even though she won’t be there, grandma will be looking down on us and smiling when we’re at the beach house next summer.” Funny how no one ever assigns a dead relative to hell. At funerals, everyone goes to heaven, even the alcoholic crack addict uncle who used to fingerfuck his nieces before emptying their piggy banks to help pay for his next fix. “Well (sigh), the sick bastard’s in heaven. Now he can have all the crack and prepubescent bald snatch he wants (sniff, sniff).”
Consider the absurdity of the belief that the dead, if lucky enough to find their way into some sort of heaven, are still involved, whether by choice or by force, in earthly matters. Who the hell wants that? If I do find my way into some after-death heaven, I’ll be pissed if my great reward entails not only watching the silly shenanigans that take place on earth, but also having to step in and have a say in how those shenanigans play out. Don’t we ever get to retire?
The thought of dead family still watching over shouldn’t give you comfort anyway. If anything, it should give you a shivering case of the creeps. My parents are both dead. If they’re in some kind of heaven, I sure as hell hope it isn’t a heaven with a magic viewfinder that allows them to watch my every move. “Oh, there’s Ned taking another satisfying shit after he gets home from work.” I don’t like the thought of my beloved grandmother saying, “Well, if it isn’t little Neddy jerking off to rape porn. He was always such a cutie!” If you’re watching your still-living loved ones after you die, you’re probably in hell.
It might be even worse for dead family members to watch you doing something that isn’t reprehensible. At least the nasty shit would be interesting. The rest of the time, they’d have to endure watching you live the more mundane aspects of your daily life, which make up about 99.6 percent of the average boring-assed existence. “What’s that honey? Oh, Ned’s sitting on his lazy ass watching Seinfeld. Again. It’s the episode with Lloyd Braun. How many fucking times can he watch that? Do something interesting, for chrissakes, we’re going crazy with boredom up here. Paint a picture, bake a cake, make a snuff film … something! Oh shit, hurry up. Look busy. Here comes Taylor again, talking shit about that 21-point win.”
Some people like to believe that once you’re dead, you get to do all the things you did on earth, only more often, another concept of heaven that makes no sense. They like to believe that Uncle Charlie is now playing golf every day and shooting in the low 70s, or that Aunt Mabel can now quilt all day and night with hands that no longer suffer from arthritis. In any real heaven worth its salt, Uncle Charlie would never have to golf again. The only reason the poor bastard golfed every day was because he was too old and too married to have the type of fun he really wanted to have. Just once at a funeral I’d like to hear someone say what their dead grandfather would really like to do if he went to a real heaven. “Well, he’s no longer in pain, and he lived a good life. Now Gramps can spend his days snorting coke and banging strung out strippers, just like when he was young.”
People (at least the idiot variety) also show their incurable egocentrism when they believe that their dead relatives can do things like affect the weather. You’ve heard it before, I’m sure. “Boy, it looked like it was gonna rain like shit on Jed and Clarabel’s wedding, but at the last minute, the clouds moved off and the sun come out. We knowed that was grandpa Jake who done that.” Sure, Mr. Bible Belt Bozo. Countless billions of people have died since humanoids first appeared on this planet, but your uncle is somehow able to affect the weather for something as vital to the planet as his niece’s wedding. Where was the dipshit last summer when you lost your entire lima bean crop to the drought? He was probably too busy playing golf.
If these types of activities are really what go on in heaven, I’m not interested. I’ll try hell. I can stop treating people so nicely and instead spend the rest of my days stealing, raping and perhaps even marauding. (I draw the line at pillaging.) I want no part of an afterlife that allows me to watch my relatives have anal sex or see my friends wipe their asses. I don’t want to be hassled about making sure there are fair skies for my nephew’s Labor Day picnic. (He’s got a big covered porch anyway.) I would be willing to help my Pittsburgh Pirates, but those sorry sacks of shit are even beyond divine intervention.
Please, stop abusing the memory of your dead friends and family by crediting them for everything from a lottery win to dry fart. The dead did their time on earth, so they deserve a clean break from weddings, football games and the utter waste of fucking time that is golf. If they do have earth-affecting powers, you’re just going to piss them off with your endless requests for help, and they might stick it to you just for spite. I’m sure that’s what happened with poor, beleaguered Sean Taylor After all, the Redskins did lose their playoff game the week after the big Dallas win. By 21 points.
Ned Bitters is, in fact, overrated. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.