Look, let’s say that there is indeed such a thing as heaven. Let’s say that this real heaven is exactly like the heaven every righteous, pious adult has been telling us all along — that once you’re dead and you enter its golden gates, everything will be all right because you’ll be in god’s presence. You will feel complete because the only thing that’s left to do there is to glorify god’s name for all eternity and to love him in all his goodness. You will stop desiring anything besides god…
Isn’t that the unfairest thing you’ve ever heard? Doesn’t that basically say that all your mundane hopes and desires when you were living will be thrown out the window into the abyss of nothingness?
Your wish to own a sparkling black Mercedes someday and park it next to your grouchy officemate’s Toyota — gone. Your dream of a huge beige house good enough to eat in the most gorgeous of all Americanized neighborhoods — spoiled. Your hope of being someone better, cooler, smarter, sexier, wealthier and more important than you are now — crushed. Your itch to have a foxy girlfriend or boyfriend — frustrated. Everything your heart longed for, everything your mind instructed you to achieve, everything your libido deliriously desired — disintegrated into a gazillion pieces of nothing called heaven.
My friends, I call that god darn unfair.
Because I am a base man. I am shallow, hedonistic, vengeful and, well, honest. I want the world. I want its dirty, decaying treasures and its deceiving, fleeting pleasures. If I were a trillionaire right now, I’d buy myself an imposing gothic palace in Germany, (kind of like Bruce Wayne’s mansion) stuff it with all the disco lights and barrels of alcohol my money can buy, and call all my friends to party there wild, senseless and naked for a year. Then I’d buy myself a black stallion, ride to Sasha Grey’s house, and invite her out for dinner with my friends and my girlfriend just for fun (for once, I’d love to hear about someone else’s career woes). I’d buy all my enemies and people whose faces I don’t like for no particular reason limousines, just to sue them for robbery and fraud the next day and watch them laughing while their bewildered faces peep through jail bars. I’d build my mom a golden mansion and call up our richest relatives to showcase how unimaginably infinite my mom’s moolah has become. I’d buy a star and name it Ely Buendia X Death Star 149 just because I can. I’ll donate so much money to the Large Hadron Collider project, scientists there will secretly turn it into a time machine and give me a free ride to the day when Michael Jackson debuted the moonwalk on Motown 25. Everyone will line up my door to ask me for something and I’d choose who I’d help and shoo away. I will be so evil and so likeable at the same time that people will forget Darth Vader and instead unconsciously think of me when they’re thinking of him. Like, “So then Luke refuses to join the dark side, and Marvin Sanchez says ‘I am your father’ and — oh sorry, I mean Vader.”
I told you. I am god darn base.
But see, none of that’s happening because I am not a trillionaire. The way my life goes, it takes tremendous amounts of logistics and self-denial to even make a thousand bucks. I understand countless people out there make even less. When I hand over 15 pesos to a tricycle driver, I thank the long-horned devil of destiny that he didn’t put me in this man’s shoes — or rather grimy, ultra-thin rubber sandals. I thank him for giving the country a police organization and a justice system that partially protect me from armed robbers-slash-cold-blooded-murderers on motorcycles; and for creating a society backwardly religious enough that its people suppose that god will punish those who take from the rich. Though I’m not rich and it’s not like I’m to be envied myself.
Look at me. I’m educated but not enough. I have a job — the most unspectacular to share when drinking with friends (I’m almost afraid flowers around me would wilt when I relay my job responsibilities to others). I have a girlfriend who is leaving me in two months’ time to live forever in a fantasy land of milk and honey and hulk-strength economy called Canada. I’ve got a body that draws the most puzzled looks, which make me want to rip off people’s faces sometimes, fry them, then feed the charred skin strips to Papi, my mom’s dog (who, by the way, somehow doesn’t recognize me and tries to bite my freakin’ leg off). But I get by. I eat three times a day, watch a movie once or twice a month (an honest and enjoyable activity wise people in the university with perceptive, often dirty minds call “escapism”), wank adequately, get drunk sufficiently, smooch quite frequently, and cry my heart out like a pussy on my blog whenever I want to.
I should be all right. But I’m not.
When I’m already looking up the ceiling at night, cursing the infernal temperatures brought about by an imperfect world of global warming and climate change — I desperately wish for a sleek air-conditioner like the one my brother just bought. And since, in my present situation, I’d sooner buy Paul McCartney’s bass guitar than an air-conditioner, this desire means nothing more than wanting the unwantable: the whole world.
But I know it won’t happpen. The majority of us knows such a thing will not happen, even the most teary eyed hopefuls among us who attend numerous self-help seminars that deceive us for our hard-earned money. Look, logically speaking, making our dreams come true — real dreams, your dreams, not just dreams handed to you by your dad or your overzealous college teacher — is a mission so hard to accomplish that 99.9% of the time we will fail. We will fail and we’ll end up being an average, frustrated, middle class know-it-all who has the words but not the goods. Making our dreams come true, owning the world has a 99.9% chance of turning into an epic failure we’ll be having nightmares about in our death beds. Oh, and please, don’t give me that .1% bullshit! If I point a gun at your head right now, 99.9% of the time, I’ll be able to punch a hole right through your skull and only .1% says my shiny gun becomes a lightning rod, attracting a lightning bolt which chars my hand and my entire body, allowing you to walk away unscathed. Don’t you see what a massive pile of bullcrap that .1% in life is?
So owning the world won’t happen. And you know what? Even if it did, even if I managed to take this world home with me, I’d want another world to own. I will never be satisfied.
And you know what’s funny? Even if you tell me god can end my desire to be satisfied — I CAN’T BE SATISFIED WITH THAT! Taking away my insatiable thirst for satisfaction? Are you crazy? I will never, ever be satisfied with such a pathetic, cop-out solution to my hopeless condition.
Which is why all this heaven stuff is god darn unfair. Yes, it sounds peaceful and spiritual and all (and maybe, like me, you imagine heaven with a relaxing choir in the background and scented candles like a spa everywhere), but it’s not just the deal I’m looking for. I know most of us feel in their hearts this is not the deal they are looking for. It’s just that religious people give us no alternatives for a more tempting afterlife.
I don’t even think I need an afterlife. What I really need is another shot at this world with a trillion dollars in my room and Taylor Lautner’s abs in the mirror.