As you may know, I was out of work for quite a few days recently. I had a very high fever and spent the better part of my time in bed, having nightmares. The fever broke, and I now feel better than I have in ages.
Just before coming out of my fever-induced dreams, however, I had a singular vision concerning an angel descending from Heaven. He hovered over my bed, and seemed to be examining both me and my surroundings. While he was thus situated, he looked intently at a sheet of paper, occasionally nodding his head (apparently in agreement with what he was reading), and sometimes shaking his head from side to side (apparently not quite believing what he was reading.) As I came more fully awake, he noticed me looking at him and he disappeared. I’m not sure, but I could almost swear that I heard him say, "Oh, shit!" as he vanished from my sight.
Of course, I assumed that this vision was only a result of my being feverish and perhaps having taken one too many swigs from the cough syrup bottle. However, when I got out of bed, I felt something under my right foot. I looked down and saw the paper from which the angel had been reading.
I will reproduce it here.
"It’s Where You Want To End... Up!"
To: Soul #126,748,055,129
From: Gabriel, Archangel, Senior Traffic Manager, Births Division
Date: 3/1/1957 (Anno Domini)
It is my pleasure to inform you that your request to be born has been granted. You will be delivered tomorrow, March 2nd.
We realize that this doesn’t give you much time to prepare, but your paperwork was significantly delayed due to the extraordinary (some might go so far as to say bizarre) requests you made in conjunction with your application. Details concerning the approval or rejection of said requests appear below.
1 – That you be born into a family of great wealth.
2 – That you be granted a physical constitution able to withstand unbounded debauchery.
3 – That you be given good looks. Specifically, you requested a full head of flowing blond hair; a square jaw; sparklingly white teeth; a 52-inch chest accompanied by a 32-inch waist; rock-solid muscles; and a sexual tool magically able to change length and width in order to conform precisely with whatever female partner you might currently be bedding.
4 – That you be allotted the eyesight of an eagle; the hearing of a bat; the sense of smell of a bloodhound; and the speed and agility of a cheetah.
5 – That you be allowed to requisition from this office, on demand, further blessings which you may have forgotten during the application process.
This office, in response, has granted the following:
1 – You will be born.
2 – You will have free will with which to debauch to your heart’s content.
3 – You will not be severely misshapen or grotesque.
4 – You will have five senses. You will be able to run, after a fashion.
5 – You will be allowed to request further blessings, but they will most certainly not be guaranteed, nor will they be given according to your schedule.
Explanations Concerning Those Things Granted Or Denied:
1 – It is the considered opinion of this office that putting great wealth into your hands would be akin to granting a meteor the ability to tap dance. It would serve no useful purpose whatsoever and, in addition, would cause great concern among the general populace.
We do understand your request. You have discerned, quite correctly, that your mercurial temper and general tendency towards sloth will not give you a very good chance at anything more than a subsistence level existence, but you certainly must realize that these same qualities would undoubtedly result in you inadvertently killing yourself if we gave you anything more than that which you require to be comfortable. Therefore, we will never let you starve, and you will always have a bed to sleep in, but extreme wealth is entirely out of the question.
2 – Since you will not be given the means with which to debauch to your heart’s content, we see no reason to give you a body able to withstand such rigors. However, since we also know that you WILL debauch up to the limit of your available cash - as well as whatever credit you can scam from the unsuspecting - we ARE willing to outfit you with a body that heals relatively quickly (although, we must stress, NOT instantaneously, so you’ll probably be able to smoke cigarettes for 40 years or so before permanent deleterious effects set in, but we would suggest that you refrain completely from juggling chainsaws or having sex with any women named Bobbitt.)
3 – This one did give us a good chuckle, and we thank you for that.
Your hair will be red, not blond, and if you don’t like it, we can arrange for it to fall out beginning somewhere around your 21st birthday. Your jaw will not be square, but will instead be somewhat pointy. In order to make up for this, we WILL give you the sparklingly white teeth you’ve requested, but you will have to wait until you reach your fifties to receive them and they will be made out of porcelain. You will have the 32-inch waist, but only until 1981. The largest chest we could requisition for you was 42 inches, but we will attempt to deliver a 52-inch stomach by the time you reach age 60 (IF you reach age 60.) We are unable at this time to supply you with a full complement of rock-solid muscles, but we pulled some strings and you will be given them in the following locations: right thumb, left fingers, and ass. This will allow you to become either a relatively unknown bass guitarist or a renowned and gifted gay prostitute - your choice.
Speaking of prostitution, we found it rather presumptuous of you to assume that you would be born a male. As it turns out, you will, but your request for the magical shift-changing sexual appendage is flatly (even laughingly) denied. Yours will be strictly standard issue. On the bright side, it will work very well and never be subject to erectile dysfunction. However, opportunities for use will be far fewer than you’d prefer, unless you choose the previously mentioned male prostitution option.
4 – You will be happy to know that we are granting the great eyesight and hearing. We expect, however, that you will choose to not see what is in front of your face and to not listen to what you need to hear. You will have the speed and agility of a bloodhound, and you will smell like a cheetah.
5 – This office will do all in its power to grant additional requests made through the proper channels, but we have little reason to believe that, in most instances, you’ll understand what the proper channels are until it’s too late. Nevertheless, we have seen fit to supply you with some items that you didn’t request, but which we expect you would wish you HAD requested, once born.
You will be equipped with:
A – Two loving parents, and a near endless supply of caring relatives and friends.
B – The ability to rationalize almost anything.
C – An above average set of vocal cords, as well as an ample supply of blarney.
D - The ability to be very easily amused.
E – A sincere belief in the fact that you are blessed.
F – A WIFE (sense of humor and patience included.)
You may not realize it, as you embark upon your journey, but all of the above are invaluable gifts and much more important than any of those things you requested.
If you have any comments or concerns regarding this letter, we are unable to answer them at present due to time constraints. Also, as you know, none of these particulars will be remembered by you, or be available for your inspection, during your time incarnate. Your guardian angel will, at regular intervals, check to make sure that all of the particulars mentioned herein have occurred, are occurring, will occur, or will never occur, depending upon which one of the items we’re discussing. Upon your return to this realm, we will make every attempt to satisfactorily answer whatever questions you may still have concerning your sojourn. In the meantime, you have been equipped with a fully functioning conscience. If it should fail at any time, you will be automatically directed to your owner’s manual (known in the native parlance of your new home planet as “The Bible”) and instructions for repair and re-start of your conscience will be made apparent.
Please report to the birth canal by midnight to begin processing. You need not pack anything; all promised supplies will be provided upon your arrival, and any attempt to smuggle contraband will only result in unnecessary delays.
Oh, one last thing: Your name will be "Jim." Your request to be christened "Rocky Thunderballs, Supreme Lord Of All Men And Extremely Potent Satisfier Of All Women” is not only denied, but would be entirely blasphemous if we didn’t consider it completely ridiculous. Consider yourself lucky to get "Jim." We could have easily gone with "Needledick Lipschitz."
We truly wish you nothing but the best. Whether or not you realize it at the moment, that’s what you'll receive.
GABRIEL, a.a., s.t.m., births
So, that’s what I found on my floor after the angel disappeared. I’d appreciate your thoughts concerning it. In the meantime, I've set a trap in my bedroom just in case he returns, and I’ll be re-reading the document carefully, looking for loopholes.
Soon, with more better stuff.
(My sincerest thanks to Shrinky for the inspiration - again.)