Let’s say I’m going to die one day (though, let’s be honest, the jury is out on that), I bet that my family, through their grief, would see the silver lining of an opportunity in my demise. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I have held onto some things that other people would erroneously regard as useless junk, and I can see my loved ones leaping at the opportunity to lose my precious keepsakes. Some stuff would inevitably require a dumpster: the wood from my parents 1970’s-era deck that seemed just too good to be tossed in the landfill; the boards I retained from the attic of my house in Roslindale when I renovated the space (“old growth pine is valuable wood!”)
There I’ll be, watching from my relaxed perch on a big, puffy cloud up in heaven, as they root through my belongings and decide what to include in my casket with me, like that swatch of fabric I cut from an old hide-a-bed in my parents’ basement so I could frame it like an old photo (“why? why?”). They’ll have me dressed up in a double-breasted suit from the mid-1990s, with smelly old bike shoes that I keep for rainy days (literally), the Mass General Hospital tie that I was given upon my departure from that job in 1989, my threadbare Sanibel Island hat, and torn bike gloves. Maybe even the glasses that I purchased online, which promptly broke, will be taped and glued back together and jammed onto my face.
Despite packing the casket with old drum sticks, international postage stamps of little to no value sprinkled around me like confetti, and an old 1940s-era clam rake that the undertaker manages to get my stiff hand to grip, my family will be forced to hire a one of those “picker” guys to come and haul away mounds of other (highly valuable) stuff. “Take the drums too! He never played them after he injured his leg in that gruesome hurricane in 1991.”
Given that I’m in heaven, I won’t be angry, but, wait, that old computer has a hard drive on it with interesting tidbits of my writing! And which of you is going around telling people that my college notebooks only serve to reveal me to be more of a doodler than good note-taker. “To hell with all of you!”
I’m quickly jabbed in the ribs by an angel, who reminds me that there is a 90-day probationary period in heaven and I ought to be on my best behavior if I want to retain my spot for the rest of eternity.
Of course, the 90-day heavenly probationary period is irrelevant if I stay alive forever.