I Was Waitlisted… From Heaven
I’ve been waitlisted from colleges. I’ve been waitlisted from parties. Every time you get waitlisted from something, you get the same type of feeling in the pit of your stomach: This sucks, but I guess it could be worse.
In a sense, I’d rather be flat out denied than waitlisted. At least if you get denied you know right away you aren’t good enough. Waitlists are like the girl from the bar that keeps leading you on:
“Oh, I’m busy tomorrow, how about next weekend?”
“Change of plans, I’m booked. Can we schedule something next month?”
Ugh, it’s the worst.
What I’m saying is, I hate the concept of waitlists. Last weekend, I was put on the waitlist for something that far exceeds a college or party in terms of importance. That’s right. This wasn’t just for anything inconsequential like so many other things are.
This was a waitlist for Heaven.
It all started in line at the Pearly Gates. There I was, with about ten or eleven other recently departed souls. I imagine this is where DMV employees go when they age out. The service could not have been worse!
I tapped the guy in front of me on the shoulder and quipped, “Am I getting into Heaven, or getting my license renewed? Am I right?” He just stared at me blankly. He looked middle eastern, so there was a language barrier, for sure.
Then I said to this lady behind me, “It ain’t like I got all of eternity! Come on!” She offered a polite smile. She was white, but maybe Russian or Czech or something. I’d know if she spoke English, because she’d be laughing to the high here. This was a failure to communicate, indeed.
I leaned out of the line and offered my thoughts: “What’s taking so long? One person working? Is today a federal holiday? Come on!”
My voice echoed to the Pearly Gates and bounced right back. I was expecting this wisecrack to elicit more of a response, but only about 16% of the human population speaks English, so there’s a good chance this zinger fell on deaf ears as well.
I took a deep breath and admired my surroundings. A beautiful landscape. It’s everything I dreamed it would be. It’s like I died and… well, yeah.
Not as many Mexicans as I expected, though. Not that it’s a good thing, but I just thought they were all God-fearing. Maybe they have another line they go through. Or they just know an easier way to get in. Huh.
After what seemed like a lifetime, I made it to the front of the line. The lady behind the desk might as well have been a living, breathing cigarette. She smelled like a pack of menthols. I wonder how she got up here.
“Hello sir, welcome to Heaven. Fill out this form and questionnaire and wait to be called in. Thank you.”
“I have to wait again? That hardly seems — ”
“ — Thank you. Next!”
I rolled my eyes. Maybe they save the good angels for inside Heaven.
I sat in a chair in the waiting area and my back immediately tensed up. For a place like Heaven, this chair seemed like something God and his associates pulled from a back alley. It was lavender and I could see different cracks in the fabric from aging. Poor old thing needed to be put out to pasture.
After spending some time positioning myself on this uncomfortable, abomination of a chair, I got to filling out the form — name, date of birth, social, etc. — and then looked at the questionnaire.
Oh boy. A lot of these questions seem like deal breakers.
Have you ever worshipped any other Gods?
Um, no. I don’t think so.
Have you ever taken the Lord’s name in vain?
People lie all the time on these things, right? Who hasn’t used the Lord’s name in vain? There’d be no one in Heaven if we actually followed that rule.
When was the last time you remembered the Sabbath?
Ugh, I knew this one was coming. I mean, who goes to church on football Sundays?
Have you ever used a curse word in front of your mother and/or father?
Have you ever committed murder?
No! I haven’t! Whew, there’s a win.
Have you ever been guilty of bearing false witness against your neighbor?
What does this even mean? Like lying? Of course I’ve lied.
Have you ever felt envious of something someone else possessed?
Have I ever had a feeling? Is this a real question? I can get rejected from Heaven for experiencing a human emotion? God shouldn’t have invented jealousy then!
Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
My mom called me her “little angel” when I was a boy, so I would be a perfect fit for Heaven.
Okay, so apparently I’ve broken every single commandment other than worshipping other Gods and murder. Does that make me a bad person?
Probably not. They see all sorts of people up here. I’m definitely a good person. It’s not about going to church and playing pretend for people. It’s about having a good heart and being — A FUCKING MOUSE! GET THAT FUCKING THING AWAY FROM ME!
I the-floor-is-lava-ed it onto the chair and swiped at the mouse with my forms. What’s a mouse doing in Heaven? Did he die pushing a stroller out of traffic? The bimbo secretary finally corralled the little mouse into a coffee mug and released it outside the door.
“You’re not gonna kill it???” I was incensed.
“All life is precious, sir.” She whipped her hair and walked back to her desk. It sounded like she was in a cult. This place doesn’t make much sense. It really needs some new management. Shitty chairs? Mice? What’s next? Asbestos?
I seriously considered fibbing on the forms. I almost did, but then looked at the bracelet on my left wrist. It’s been there since I was a child, always acting as my moral compass, guiding me in the right direction.
Livestrong. It made me think of Lance Armstrong and what happened to him when he was caught lying. I didn’t want to meet the same fate. No way, no how. I answered the questions honestly with a let’s-see-where-this-can-get-me type attitude. I thought, thou shalt not lie, the ninth Commandment. I was just being a good ‘ol Christian boy.
I waited for maybe another ten minutes. Finally, the secretary told me Saint Peter was ready to see me, and she sent me through the door.
It was an office — just a plain old office. A frail man with a white beard sat behind the desk. I deduced that this must have been Saint Peter, judging from his appearance, the fact that I was supposed to be meeting Saint Peter, and the fact that there was a golden nameplate on his desk which simply read “Saint Peter — Gatekeeper.”
“Hello.” I cautiously waved.
“Jared! Come in, come in. Take a seat.” We shook hands and Saint Peter rummaged through my form and the questionnaire. I sat there quietly as he took some time to review the information. “Hmm… Hmm-hmm… Interesting…”
“… Is there anything you want to ask me?” I twiddled my thumbs in the chair.
Saint Peter put the forms down and looked up at me. “So, Jared, I appreciate your honesty with the questions. The truth is… We know all the answers already. We just make you answer to see if you’ll be deceitful. And you weren’t, so that’s good.”
I beamed. Heaven here I come!
“But,” Saint Peter continued. My smile faded. “We took a look at your life stats. From conception — which is when life begins — to the moment of your death. Some things were cause for concern.”
“What things? I never killed anyone. Isn’t that like the big one?”
“Well, yeah — ”
“ — And I never worshipped anyone but God. Not once. He’s the only one for me.”
Saint Peter sighed and rubbed his forehead. “Yes, yes, that’s good, too. But, the fact is, you’ve spoken facetiously about a wide range of topics, from death to murder to rape and other tragedies... You tweeted after the Sandy Hook school shooting…” Saint Peter cleared his throat and read off of a piece of paper: “SANDY HOOK IMMA LET YOU FINISH, BUT COLUMBINE WAS ONE OF THE BEST SCHOOL SHOOTINGS OF ALL TIME.”
Shit. I knew that would come back to bite me in the ass. “That was a joke! Kanye West? Ever heard of him?”
“Sometimes it seems your desire for attention conflicts with your Christian morals. That’s not good, Jared.”
I cleared my throat and took a long sigh. “So that’s it? I’m out?”
Saint Peter vehemently shook his head. “No, no, Mr. Hussey. You’re not out. God forgives all, don’t you know? We’re even letting your more serious transgressions of pre-marital sex and homoerotic thoughts slide.”
“What? So I’m in? I’m in!” I was a roller coaster of emotion.
I sunk back in my chair. “Then what?”
“We cannot recommend you for immediate admittance into heaven at this time. However, we can put you on the waiting list.”
I raised my eyebrows, confused. “What does that mean?”
“It means exactly how it sounds. It’s a waitlist. For Heaven.”
I opposed. “But you just said God forgives all! Shouldn’t he forgive me? Why can’t you just let me in? I’m not a bad guy. Come on.”
“I’m sorry, Jared.” Saint Peter shrugged. “There’s not much left I can do.”
“But…” I began, “I’m my mommy’s little angel…”
“It’ll be okay. It’s just a waitlist. Like for college, only, you know, for Heaven.”
“How long will it take?”
Saint Peter swayed his head back and forth, searching his brain for an estimate. “I don’t know. It really depends. Usually anywhere from one week to eternity.”
My jaw dropped. Fuuuuuuck. More waiting? This Heaven thing better be worth it. I asked, “So what do I do now?”
Saint Peter directed me. “You’re going to want to get your waitlist forms. Just out this door, make a left and go down the hall. There’s the bathroom that’ll be on your right. Just keep walking and it’s the third door on the left from the bathroom. Do I need to repeat that for you?”
“No.” I might not have been a “good Christian,” but I wasn’t an idiot. I left Saint Peter’s dumb office and went to the dumb room he was talking about. There was a dumb line of about fifteen dumb people.
The guy in front of me had a swastika tattooed on the back of his neck. Is this really the company I’m keeping? Unbelievable.
I was curious. I tapped the Neo-Nazi on the shoulder and he grunted at me in response. I didn’t know what to say. “Man, getting into Heaven is hard. Am I right?”
He nodded in quiet agreement. We stood in awkward silence for a few seconds, then I asked, “So what got you waitlisted?”
He sized me up, head to toe, then said, “There was an accident, with a hammer. Just a bit of a… misunderstanding… You see, my wife, she… and… Look, want the truth? I killed my wife with a hammer. Smashed her head to pieces. Alright? Get off my back.”
“What?” He swiftly turned forward, ending our brief interaction.
So this guy was a murderer? And all I did was send a tweet? Geez, Heaven is confusing.
I turned to the man behind me. “Why are you waitlisted?”
He shrugged. “Rape.”
What the fuck? Seriously? I jumped out of line and walked back to Saint Peter’s office, barging through the door. It’s like he knew I was coming. “Jared.”
“Saint Peter, what the hell? What did I do to deserve this? I’m not a murderer. Or a rapist. I haven’t done anything to hurt anybody. What is it?”
Saint Peter sighed. “You really wanna know?”
“Are you sure?”
“YES I WANNA FUCKING KNOW YOU DUMB FUCKING ANGEL ASS BITCH. FUCK.” I let out a scream.
I expected security to show up, but Saint Peter was calm. He leaned back in his chair and nodded. “Okay… You’re kind of a dick.”
I slouched. “Come again?”
“You. Are. Kind. Of. A. Dick. Want me to spell it out for you?”
I stepped back, shaking my head in non-comprehension.
Saint Peter continued, “See, Jared, we used to let dicks into Heaven. All of them, as long as they weren’t plain evil. Hitler-type dicks never got in, but dicks like L. Ron Hubbard and Fred Phelps were often admitted. But soon there were just too many of them. Judging the less fortunate. Thinking they were better than God himself. Just constantly cracking bad jokes and trying to be comedians. They all acted the same, thinking they were beloved when in fact everyone hated them. It was a very dark time for Heaven. The Dark Dick Ages. God decided enough was enough. He instituted the Acceptable Dick Ratio.”
“The Acceptable Dick Ratio?”
“Yes. It’s a simple ratio that gives us a sense of how many dicks we can let in at any given time. It fluctuates, but usually the ADR hovers around .1%. That means, for every 1,000 people that get into Heaven, we can only allow in one dick. That’s why we are waitlisting you, Mr. Hussey. There’s already too many dicks in Heaven.”
I shook my head, burying my face into my palms. “But this can’t be happening. I’m no dick. I was never a dick. No one ever told me I was a dick. They laughed at my jokes. They thought I was cool. Everyone loved me.”
Saint Peter stood up and looked me directly in the eyes. “Did they, Jared? Did they really love you? Or is that just what a dick would think?”
I stayed silent, facing a damning realization.
I was a dick.
“But what now? What do I do with myself?”
Saint Peter offered an encouraging smile. “You can actually quite enjoy yourself out there. There’s the Limbo Lounge. Dicks love that place.”
“So I just sit out here forever? That’s not fair. It’s like Purgatory.”
Saint Peter wagged his finger. “No, no. It’s not like Purgatory.”
“What? Yes, it’s like Purgatory.”
“No, not like Purgatory.”
“What are you talking about? It’s exactly like Purgatory.”
“No, Jared. Not exactly like Purgatory.” Then the sick fuck winked.
“Why do you keep saying that?”
Saint Peter shook his head. “Never mind. You can go now.”
I scoffed and left the office. Saint Peter was a creep.
I guess this is it. No happily ever after for me. Nope, just sitting in the Limbo Lounge, sipping on a marg and watching reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond.
This is hell.