The afterlife has been on my mind lately. Trying to come to terms with what happens to us when we leave this world is one of the biggest questions we will ever face.
I was reading the newspaper and having a cup of tea the other day when there was a knock on the door, the kind of knock reserved for debt collectors and Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was the latter, a couple of very pleasant septuagenarians trying to get me to sign on the dotted line. Saving my soul from eternal damnation is a very admirable thing to do and I told them so. I’m not one of those people who slams the door in their face. It doesn’t cost anything to be nice and anyway, if there is a supreme being keeping score, I don’t want to lose points for being horrible to pensioners.
I’ve been watching ‘The Good Place’ on Netflix, a comedy about people trying to accrue enough good points to live forever in paradise. If they fail, they face an eternity of being tortured for their bad choices.
It got me thinking about what hell would be like for me. There would be lots of DIY and picking up dog turds with rubber gloves. I would have to live on a diet of tomato soup and read books by Jeffrey Archer. I would spend my days drinking Vanilla Coke and watching Adam Sandler films. All accompanied by blaring mid-nineties techno.
If Jean Paul Sartre was right and hell really is other people, waiting to greet me down there will be a particularly vindictive girlfriend I had when I was sixteen and Piers Morgan. Jim Davidson would be my best mate and I’d be married to Ann Widdecombe.
If I were Dante, I’d have reserved a special level of Hell for the people who, whenever anyone mentions going to a pantomime, immediately replies with ‘oh no you didn’t’. Also, people who say ‘Breg-sit’ and fuss at supermarket checkouts. Which is most people, I know.
Perhaps there are an infinite number of alternate realities, all overlapping with this one. Perhaps the universe is a series of Russian dolls, each one containing the paths we did not take. I’d like to think that there is an alternate reality in which Alan Sugar had never been born.
When I look back on my life, there have been lots of bad decisions. I’m not one of those people who say they have no regrets, I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I do know, however, that there is still plenty of time left to get some points on the board and send me to the good place. Failure is a good teacher. That’s the wonderful thing about humans, we can learn from things that go wrong.
I don’t know much about karma but I do know that I don’t mind making mistakes, as long as they are not the same ones I’ve made before.