My Secret

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By the time you read this, I will have already ascended into heaven. It was planned this way from the beginning. Even before the solar system was formed, my course was set. How do I know this? I have always known this. The angels have known this, as well.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking. You think I’m delusional. Just another kook who entertains delusions of grandeur. My goal is to get you to think you’re just like me. I know that we’re all part of an all-consuming plan to bring about the fruits of creation, and I want you to know that, too.

This is my religion. It’s nothing I want to force on others. I’m not a voice crying in the wilderness, hoping to be heard. I don’t care if no one listens to or believes me. I certainly don’t want you to believe in me. Believe in yourself.

Let me tell you a story. When I was yet a boy, I was visited by an angel. I had a fever, maybe the mumps. I was about three. My parents took these childhood diseases seriously, for I had had an older brother whom I never met who died about the time I was born. He had contracted measles which then turned into encephalitis. He died in agony. I simply ran a high fever and saw an angel standing at the foot of my bed. We talked for a long time, he and I. I got the impression he was as tall as the empire state building, but somehow fit into my bedroom.

The angel assured me that great things were in store for me, and that death was nothing to fear. That being the presence of God was the most enjoyable thing imaginable, and it would never prove to be less than that. I did, however, have a job to do before I got to enjoy being the presence of God, and that I shouldn’t worry, because inspiration and coincidence would be mine for the asking.

I have found that to be true. There is nothing to worry about. Simply enjoy the situation you find yourself in, no matter what it is, because it is wholly sufficient for your happiness.

I’ll never forget the first time God Himself appeared to me as a ball of fire. I was driving down the highway in my Ford pickup truck and a ball of fire entered through the windshield and hovered just above my knees. He told me not to be afraid, that he didn’t intend to burn me, but he wanted me to light a fire that would cause others to come to Him. He wanted revival, and wanted me to take whatever actions would make that come about. He suggested that maybe once I got it going I could upgrade to a Lincoln Town car and allow the pickup to be used on the farm. I didn’t yet have a farm, but maybe that was in the works, as well.

God suggested I found a school, the Institute of Bible Theology, and train students to be ministers. Three weeks would be enough for the coursework, and they could take the exams online to prove that their proficiency.

When I stopped for gas, the ball of fire vanished, but a beautiful young woman named Emma appeared. At first I thought she worked at the service station, but then I remembered that all the gas stations in this state had been self-service for years already, and Emma told me that she was an angel, sent by God Himself, to give me courage. She handed me a big bag of gold dust and winked, saying “there’s more where that came from. Plenty more!”

“But guess what, the news gets better yet! You don’t need to wait for Jesus to return, because you’re already Jesus. We’re all Jesus!”

I thought that sounded a little fishy and vowed to run it by some experts in the field as soon as I had the time to do so. But it was nice to see a pretty girl be so upbeat and excited.

I don’t like to blow my own horn, but this was all fitting in perfectly with my preconceived ideas about religion. Yes, I was special. Yes, up until this moment I had been selling myself short, but no more. Now I was ready to spread my gossamer wings and fly.

I know what my detractors will say. “Where are the miracles?” I must admit, I can’t explain why I have not yet manifested any crowd-pleasing spectacles. That’s where faith comes to the fore. If I truly believe that I have been chosen, then all my faith reverts to and focuses on He who chose me. If anyone asks what I have done lately to prove my holy status, I will smile and bravely say “my time has not yet come.”

Some of us take a while to grow into our full powers, while others are on a mission right out of the starting gate. A dreamy child, I was unaware of my gifts until early adolescence. Then at the age of thirteen, it all started to come clear to me. Yes, I could read minds. Yes, I had x-ray vision. Yes, I could astral project myself at light speed across the universe with nothing more than a wink and a nod.

Of course I entertained myself with these powers for a while after discovering them, but then the novelty wore off. The thoughts of others were no more profound or entertaining than my own. Seeing women’s bodies beneath their clothes became commonplace. One part of the universe looks pretty much the same as any other after a while. Most of it is thinly spread hydrogen gas, punctuated by an occasional star. Ho-hum.

Clowns in Peru are suffering from the Pandemic, but nobody knows or cares. If you want to understand Britney Spears, you must first understand her hair. We are all on fire with delusional thinking, but there is no simple cure for any of it. First, we must simply stop thinking altogether. Then, we can start over again, from the beginning.

I entertain myself with these kinds of thoughts. Which observations are helpful, or even real? There’s no easy way to discern nonsense from profundity. It’s up to the audience to determine the value of any communication. So far, the audience seems to be asleep.

This isn’t show business, it’s religion. It measures its gains not in tickets sold but in saved souls. Broad is the highway that leads down to perdition, but narrow and steep is the path to everlasting life. We can never forget our mission. The rejoicing in heaven is audible when we do our job well. The groans of the damned blend in with the cacophony of human misery that surrounds us.

We know we’ve done a good job when the groaning, weeping and wailing diminish and blend in with ambient noise. Then we can relax. Interactions with friends and family come to the fore. We start to have fun again.

Fun is a sign of holiness. Only the righteous can really enjoy themselves. Sinners are a miserable lot. I know, I meet them every day and sometimes it’s all I can do to resist their sneaky plans and insidious desire to drag me down to their level. They hope that by bringing me from my sanctified state they can lessen the envy that torments them.

Old Habits Die Hard

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It was supposed to be a fun birthday party, but Uncle Ed let it get out of hand. He was always horsing around with lighter fluid, and one thing led to another.

 

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His secretary at work had made off with a plutonium cylinder that could end all life as we know it. That had him upset. That and the fact that they had been having an affair, and his wife was about to find out.

 

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We were going to go to a wild animal park after the merry go-round, but the animals all became extremely shy when they heard we were coming. Apparently, our reputation preceded us.

 

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Instead we got lost in nearby corn field, and it took thirty six hours to find the last of the children. The parents were furious with Uncle Ed, but he just laughed it off, like he did everything.

 

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Ed eventually opened a vacuum cleaner repair shop outside of Huron, South Dakota. When that failed, he tried a cafe. A lot of people told him the building lacked character.  He just laughed and took out his lighter fluid.

You and What Army?

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Yes, it’s a nightmare, but it’s my nightmare. It’s my childhood. The paucity of imagination that went into my surroundings. The braindead were in charge.

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Television was no comfort.

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No hanky panky could change the essential blandness

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Only contact with nature might provide the needed spark

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Certainly nothing man-made could provide any real inspiration

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And this man would show up in your room asking you how you felt. “I Want to Die!” would not be something he wanted to hear.

Uncle Randolph

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Uncle Randolph made his living as an Interior Decorator, but it was after work that he really let the world know what he was made of.

 

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As a boy, he was largely ignored by his parents, and if it hadn’t been for Grandma Marge taking an interest in him, he would have suffered terribly.

 

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For a while, he tried running a kiddie amusement park, but then had some sort of of trouble with the authorities that was never quite resolved.  Suffice it to say that’s been banned from being in unsupervised contact with children.

 

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We had some foreign exchange students living with us when I was still at home, and Uncle Randolph got along with them very well. His delight in their company was totally reciprocated. The girl went on to be an important diplomat, and once invited Uncle Randoph to visit him at the United Nations building in New York City!

 

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One day, Uncle Randolph simply disappeared. He didn’t show up for work, and all attempts to track him down came to naught.

 

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We got a strange Christmas card from him last year, but it came with no forwarding address. Wherever he is, we hope he’s happy.

My Family

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My older sister Natalie had absolutely no sense of humor, nor any interest in the arts. She was the hardest working scientist anyone had ever seen, and her advances in chemistry helped that discipline progress rapidly.

 

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Our mother Eunice was no dope, but she never applied herself to more than the task of running our home and instructing the servants in their tasks. She envied her daughter the scientist, but never let on to that fact, and never really approved of her daughter competing with men in what was then a man’s world.

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She enjoyed finding excuses to stay as far away from her husband as possible, and her interest in amateur archaeology gave a perfect excuse to travel widely. It was rumored that she also took lovers on these trips, and kept that fact a secret from my father. Everyone else  knew, but apparently he was the only one left in the dark.

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After my parents divorced, she moved to Paris and lived with an acrobat in Montmartre. My father cut her off financially, but she didn’t mind for she embraced the Bohemian lifestyle with the same vigor her daughter took to chemistry experiments.

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Eventually, my father remarried, this time to a younger woman. She was as beautiful as she was vain, and caused him a much misery as she could during their few years together.

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For the last six months of his life, he lived in the basement, creating and painting doll heads. It seemed to give him a great deal of pleasure to do so. The new wife took the remainder of his money and went to Hollywood, where she pursued an acting career, with considerable success.

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I squandered my inheritance in ill-advised liasons with women who were ass attractive as they were mentally unstable. Oh well. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

 

 

A Satisfied Man

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It was a job, but that’s all it was. Not a vocation. No emotional rewards, no feelings of accomplishment. I escorted people who had never questioned anything, who had never had an original thought in their lives, and showed them a bunch of sleepy alligators. Nobody complained or asked for their money back, so I guess I did OK.

 

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When I got off work I cracked a couple of cold ones and watched TV until I started to fall asleep. The next day was no different. I got to work at 1, when we opened, and already there was a line waiting at the ticket office. I knew what my goals were. I was going to save up for a flying car. Popular Mechanics promised that by 1990 they would be standard issue. I just had to keep working, keep saving money, and wait.

 

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Every Saturday night, the wife and I would go to Bob’s All You Can Eat for stewed Troglodytes. They swam in their own gravy and you have as many as you liked. I always left with a full stomach. The wife would nibble off my plate, all the while saying she wasn’t hungry, but I think she put down as many as I did.

 

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If we had people over, we’d show movies of our big vacation from three years ago, the time we went to Borneo, where the men grow tall as trees and the women prune them once a month. Our friends actually enjoyed seeing the same home movies over and over again, because it gave them a chance to rehearse their wisecracks.

 

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Watching somebody else’s vacation photos is usually an exercise in tolerance, but we try to get creative when it comes to ours.

 

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Before we send the gang home we crack out the tuna n’ waffles, which puts everybody in a good mood. It’s the most cost-effective and easy to prepare meal we know of, and that’s saying a lot.

 

 

Tingler

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I found it in the driveway. Thought maybe it was a tropical plant or a branch of a tree, or perhaps a reptile that had been run over by a car. It seemed to have once been alive. I took it into the garage and left it on a pile of tarps. I could examine it later when I had more time.

 

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But first I had to get to my daily piano practice. Half an hour a day, no more, no less. I really enjoy my time in my study. The soothing pastel colors allow me to relax and focus, something that I value even more now in these days since I was released from the mental institution.

 

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There was a time, not too long ago, when I was on top the world. Women couldn’t get enough of me. Employers sought me out. I had so many offers that it literally made my head spin. And that’s how I ended up needing professional care.

 

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Then I got a job entertaining at a motel cocktail lounge. It was a little hotel, with a little pool and a tiny lounge bar, but it was enough for me. I was starting to reconnect with the outside world. I no longer drooled when I got dressed in the morning.

 

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Truth is, I only knew three or four songs on the keyboard, but that was enough to fill most of the time and we had so few customers those that came were happy to hear my New York New York/Changes/Younger Than Springtime medley.  Looking back on that time, I can truly say those days were some of my happiest.

 

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But getting back to the thing I found in the driveway. It turns out it’s an extra-dimensional parasite that lodges in your spine and the only way you can extract it is by screaming. Isn’t life strange?

Fondue Dreams Meet True Grit

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He was a man who loved fondue too much. Not caring much for the company of others, he entertained himself by sitting in his own RV, parked in his own driveway, and listening to his eight track recordings of Wayne Newton’s greatest hits.

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At one time he had been a lifeguard, and he was terribly strict in his control of the pool. No one could enter the pool unless first approved by either he or his twin brother. The two brothers admired all forms of extreme discipline, and in an earlier era would have certainly been enthusiastic members of the Nazi party.

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He met his first wife Darlene at Sea World where they were both working as entertainers. She was every bit as physically fit as he, and the fact that she could entertain any crowd by dancing and telling jokes made her the object of everyone’s attention.

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Soon married, they opened a restaurant which catered to over-eaters who cared more about quantity of what they ate than quantity.

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They had a daughter who refused to learn to speak English, though she managed quite well in four other languages. She loved to disinfect things. Maybe working behind the counter at the restaurant had emotionally scarred her.  Eventually she went on to share her father’s fondness for recreational vehicles, especially ones that never hit the road.

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The Mrs. grew tired of family life and left both husband and daughter behind, moving to Las Vegas, to pursue a career as an exotic dancer. When demand for her services waned as she reached her sunset years, she enjoyed even more success as an event planner.

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