on the side of the highway. Billboard. Interesting message…
you die, You will meet God.”
biggest interpretation for me is what I see as an obvious tough
love threat. Sort of (my words): “You! Yes, you. Right there.
Doing that. Stop doing that. Stop it now. Because when
you die, you are going to meet God. Is that
what you want to be remembered for?”
toss that thought off to the side for now. The quote has my mind
racing off on several tracks that seem a bit more curious.
thing that really struck me (and my outside the box and often
askew way of thinking) was a bit simpler. (Again, my words.) “Me?
Meeting God? Nice! What kind of meeting? What should I wear?”
I’m meeting God, I’m guessing a sport coat and tie. At least.
Maybe God appreciates casual. Perhaps encourages it. Eternity
is a long time to be wearing a suit. Jeans might work. Definitely
not the jeans with the rips though.
fine. I’d still like to know what kind of meeting. Are we talking
about a visit to an office? Will I get 15 to 30 minutes or so?
Maybe an hour? Will it be a one-on-one kind of thing? Would we
grab a coffee or maybe lunch?
is this kind of a group thing? A few thousand of us in a banquet
hall with God sitting at the head table. Maybe, after dinner and
before dancing there would be a reception line. The meeting takes
place there. An assistant will explain to us that we should walk
across the stage, shake hands, and remember to smile. (Smile…
smile… smile… because God has a photographer on staff. This is
a first-class operation, so God will provide a complimentary picture
of the meeting for each of us to keep.) But whatever you do, keep
it moving! Lots of people to get across that stage.
it’s some kind of combination of the two, with a personalized
moment, the length of the meeting assisted by some weird time-warp
kind of thing beyond our currently limited comprehension. (And
this is where things bring this train to a stop… because to twist
the words of Sheldon Cooper… let’s do the math.)
figures put the daily death rate in the United States at slight
under 7,000. I’ve seen most averages falling between 6,750 and
6,800 per day. Depends on the year you use and how far back you
want to go. Let’s call it 6,000 and keep our estimates to the
lower end for this.
minutes per hour… 24 hours per day… 1,440 minutes per day. Let’s
round that up and give us 1,500 minutes.
means… and remember, we approached the numbers in a way specifically
designed to hit the low end of things… about 4 people die each
minute in the United States.
just the United States. America is third in total population,
way behind China and India. And the global death rate is usually
placed at one person every barely-more-than-a-second.
now the trains and different tracks are being controlled by the
monkeys rattling around in my head. Is God just the God of our
planet? If you are religious, and you believe, then I imagine
you and most religious folks place God at the head of all creation.
Which means that if there is any life elsewhere in the universe,
this God would be that God. Are there meetings for all of the
life from other planets as well?
Wait. I’m being serious. Really. Check out the quote again…
“After you die, You will meet God.”
“After you die, those going to heaven
will meet God.”
“After you die, those going to hell
will meet God.”
“After you die, those from the east coast of the United
States will meet God.”
“After you die, you will meet God.”
the world, essentially before any span of two seconds passes,
on average someone dies. That doesn’t leave much time for our
handshake and photo just for the people on our planet. And before
you decide to point to that comment about shifting conceptualization
of time, keep in mind…
population is not in decline. (Unless you live in Rhode Island,
where the population is falling more quickly than any other state.
Probably a good idea to toss in Connecticut as well. Those two
states have populations in decline. So. Yeah. If you live in Rhode
Island, and the God banquet meetings are organized by state, there’s
a solid chance you will receive a bit longer for your meeting
with God. That’s a positive for Rhode Island residency. (And you
thought we might never find one. Anyway…))
population is not in decline. So even if there is some weird beyond
what we can conceive adjustment where time no longer matters,
the reality is we still need to deal with the inevitable difficulties
of infinity. You know… paradise… world without end… the ultimate
ever after. There are always going to be a steady stream adding
to the line behind you.
Wait! Another rattling monkey tangent!) If presented with a “let’s
agree that God exists for this” scenario, I like to think that
the God I’d have in mind likes dogs. (Sure… also likes cats and
fish and lions and elephants. God probably likes penguins and
honey badgers. Let’s just stick with dogs.)
we know for a fact that dogs can’t read? Maybe there was a meeting.
You know, a long time ago. And different domesticated animals
just decided they wouldn’t tell us. A few of them like to tease
us… using sign language and responding to directions. Mostly though,
it’s a big joke, we’re the idiots, and they can actually read.
So, you’re driving along, and your adorable puppy is enjoying
the breeze with the window open, and there’s that billboard…
you die, you will meet God.”
now means that in addition to all of the people, a photo op with
God involves a line with dogs, elephants and honey badgers.
bring some of this silliness back a bit though. From the edge
of the absurd, and the side of the road where the penguins are
hanging out. Back to the original train station, and we’ll even
shoo away the monkeys.
calling phone numbers, checking out web sites, or in any way attempting
to learn about the messages that motivated the creation of this
particular billboard display and expression, there is an implied
idea that we cast aside earlier. It’s about judgment. It’s a threat.
It’s a (back to my words) “be on your best behavior, because some
day it will matter” statement. And that being the case… I’m not
really interested in the meeting.
am most definitely a flawed person. I have my weaknesses. I have
my selfish moments. But overall, I’d like to think I have good
intentions. I’d like to think my character is solid, strong, and
respectable. I try to be good. I try to be generous. Good, generous,
helpful… all without expectations of personal gain. And if that’s
the case, then I shouldn’t change anything based on a finger pointing
billboard. I should simply continue to do the best I can, with
every moment I have. (Which is exactly what I’m going to attempt.)