Biff America: Talking afterlife with a crazy dude
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado –Bearing in mind that I’ve always had an inflated perspective of almost all my qualities and abilities, I can say with total confidence that the big bald man who screamed at me could kick my butt.
My buddy Johnny and I were sitting in a park in Boston last summer listening to some music. It wasn’t a concert series but rather a place to go where street performers play for tips. I had just flown in and we were going to visit a friend on the south shore, but first we went to lunch and were killing time waiting for the rush hour traffic to subside.
We weren’t really paying attention to the music or those around us. That is why I was shocked when this huge, bald, tattooed guy walks up, bends over so his face was a couple feet from mine and yelled, “karma is for wimps.”
Johnny is smaller and posses a less-keen survival instinct than I, so he responded, “Hey, cue-ball, back off.”
The big behemoth completely ignored my friend but rather stared at me. He was huge, obviously drunk, crazy or on drugs and didn’t seem to be open to debate. Considering all that I said, “You’re damn right!!”
That seemed to satisfy him and he lurched away.
As soon as I was sure he wasn’t returning, I looked at John and said, “Are you out of your mind? Did you se the size of him?”
Johnny apologized and said his response was instinctive and foolish.
We decided to get out of there and take our chances with the traffic. Once in the safety of John’s car, we discussed what occurred.
“What just happened? I asked. “What was that guy talking about and why pick on me?”
My friend had the answer, “It’s obvious” he said, “It’s because you are a wimp and because of your shirt.”
I had to look down at my own shirt before I understood. Then it made a sense. I was wearing a hooded sweatshirt with “CARMEL” (as in the town in California) on the front. The sweatshirt had seen many washings – the E and L – had faded. The best I could figure the crazy guy mistook Carmel for karma.
Now of course that doesn’t explain his behavior or mental issues, only his difficulties with spelling. The big guy was crazy but also he was kind right. Karma is for wimps, but not only karma, but religion, God, the afterlife and the entire concept that you will eventually get what you deserve.
You can put my down as a member of the wimp team.
It just feels good to believe that there is some recompense or reward for bad luck or good behavior. Just hearing about a child with cancer would send me screaming into the night if I didn’t believe there was a possibility of something more than I can see.
By the same token, I know some truly wonderful people (and some real jerks). I would like to think they will get their just deserts.
Certainly, heaven is the most appealing – you are reunited with your dead friends and family, there is no pain or aging and you never have to do sit-ups. I also think that it might be the less likely option. It’s just too perfect to be true, too much of a human design – like those air-brushed models in fashion mags at the barber shop who don’t have warts or pimples.
Be that as it may, heaven it is my preferred option. I can’t wait to see what kind of trouble my dog has gotten into since he died.
Karma/reincarnation, on the other hand, seems exhausting – you go from one life form to another. Sometimes climbing the ladder of evolution, sometimes dropping down a rung, eventually ascending to the divine. Unfortunately, after some of the stuff I did in the ’70s and ’80s, I’ll probably come back as Charlie Sheen’s publicist.
One other possibility is that of instant karma – where good behavior gives you pleasure and bad gives you cramps. This I totally believe to be true. Simply look at the kind, compassionate, giving people in your life and look at the angry, nasty, selfish ones. Who is happier?
Johnny and I considered all that as we headed south. The farther we got away from the big, bad, bald dude the braver we got. “I think we could have taken him.” Johnny said. “You totally wussed out.” Keeping with my inflated sense of self worth I said, “Your right. There were two of us, we could have handled him.”
I didn’t really believe that but at least we would have answered the afterlife question sooner rather than later.
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be seen on RSN TV and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Biff’s book “Steep, Deep and Dyslexic” is available from local book stores or from http://www.webersbooks.com