The List and the Gate
It's all written down, somewhere...
There's the list. You know? Of course you do. The list, the big list. Everything we do, everything we want, is there. Right there. To be ticked off.
So... you live for seventy, eighty years, maybe. Say you spend one hour a month having a hair cut for fifty years, then you spend 25 days of your life doing nothing
but sit in the big chair, listening to the snip snip and desperately hoping not to have to make conversation about pyramid power or how all you ever see these days are immigrants.
So on the list goes:
Sleeping: one third of your life, or twenty-five years. Done that. Tick.
Eating: one-sixth, or twelve years. Tick.
And so on it goes. A little more, a little less. Everything we want. Or more precisely, everything we don't want, and that's a lot of it, but has to be ticked off:
Standing in line: 4 years.
Being cold and wet: 5 years.
Being bored: 10 years.
Watching a TV program you hate rather than face any of the above: 5 years 7 months 22 days.
Mumbling at the Gate
But what about the Gate?
You've heard about the gate. That one day, in the end, we'll be called on to account for our lives.
It's all a bit vague. There's a big white gate in the sky, old man with a clip board, white toga, looks like an escaped mental patient. One quick glance and yes, fine, pass through, I see you were a good person,
kind to puppies. Next! Or else, no, sorry, down you go.
But we're assuming they (St Peter, whoever) doesn't havbe the List. What if he has the List? Hwt if he goes through the List,
ticking it off? Where is our good and evil then?
This is how you might measure up, being good:
Saving kittens from marsh: 7 min 32 seconds
Inspecting own bottom: 2 years 4 months (women)
Inspecting other bottoms: 2 years 4 months (men)
Staring dully at shop displays of things you don't need, or want, or even like,
but still you do it because they're there,
like a milch cow at a gate: 13 years 4 months 12 days.
Or, if you choose evil:
Pretending to calculate tip, knowing it to be a lie: 3 hours
Lying on bed amazed at fecundity of own gas: 17 hours
Picking teeth: 1 year
Idly wandering around the supermarket wondering whether to have sausages for dinner, or a quiche, or maybe a curry, or what are these new fruit things anyway: 4 years 6 months 23 days
Good deeds, evil deeds, they all become quite insignificant when compared to the sheer creativity of our own time wasting.
The gatekeeper can add it up and find look 0.23% good, 0.13% evil, the rest, 99.64% mere vegetation. So what should be our heavenly reward for that?
Where do we end up?
A plant pot?
So much more useful if we could take our list in lumps as it should be.
Proper planning. No more uncertainty. No more doubt. You could leave a message:
"Sorry I'm not in to take your call. I'll be sitting in an office meeting trying to squeeze out trapped wind without anyone noticing.
For the next nine days."
"Can't make it next week. I'll be staring at my own feet for no particular reason for the rest of August."
And the best part is, these are real excuses - not some phoney "Uhh, I'll be umm, busy that day" sort of thing.
These are real things that must be done during your life. They're on the list.
Staring, fretfully, at own nose in mirror : 49 days 7 hours. Everybody has to do it. So why not get it over with?
My CV is full of lies. Look it says here, attended university for four years. Ten years work.
Lies! No more pretense:
June 96 - February 97: XSoft Ltd. Filled embarrassing pauses in conversation.
March 2001 - August 2001: MeagerCorp. Fretted over shoe/trouser combinations.
October 2001 - present: Slowly rotated buttocks one day, then the other.
So relax. The next time you hear about some over-achiever spending, oh, twenty years to paint the cistine chapel, just remember:
scratching bottom, chewing lip, taking breaks, playing spit-on-the-cardinal's-domey-head: 19 years 238 days.
And it goes without saying...compiling lists: 2 years 4 months.