The 69 People Ahead Of You In Line For Heaven

Somewhere there is a chick someone once called The Shmata Queen waiting to hear my thoughts about the events of the day but don’t tell her I said that ‘cuz it is a secret.

And somewhere out there floating around the cosmos is the essence of my long departed but never forgotten friend David.

David who told me that when the big one hit California he hoped to be at JPL because he figured scientists would approach disaster with logic and reason.

“Josh, we’ll think about what we do and act responsibly and appropriately because science has taught us how to approach things in a less chaotic manner than the average group.”

He sounded pretty convincing but I disagreed, in part because I liked giving him a hard time and because I said people aren’t rational.

Twenty some years later I want to call him and ask him what he thinks about the current chaos and to say he needs to call Neil and tell him not to steal his quotes.

“The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”
― Neil deGrasse Tyson

The 69 People Ahead Of You In Line For Heaven

David wouldn’t care about whether Tyson got credit or not. He’d tell me it was true and we’d move on to the next topic.

If he was with us it might be how to discuss the current political situation and the events of Charlottesville with the kids.

The discussion would talk about establishing context, relevance and importance in a way that didn’t diminish the importance of the moment nor inflate it.

In a time of 24 hour news cycle and instant information it is hard not to be exposed to the news and easy to hear the most outrageous parts and pieces.

It’s reasonable to be upset and concerned about racist groups that gather together and spout terrible antisemitic remarks.

History has demonstrated it is wise to pay attention to such things but it is also wise to ask questions like how many of these people exist, what is being done about them and have they moved from words to violence?

There is reason to ask whether shining a light on them provides more attention and increases their activity or if it makes them scurry for the dark corners they inhabit.


If David were still with us I am sure we’d have this conversation but I can’t say for certain what sort of conclusion we would come up with as I am still working on mine.

So I’ll share a different memory in which David guest starred in one of my dreams and described getting into heaven as being a lot like waiting your turn at some government agency.

If you think about it you can almost picture the 69 people ahead of you in the line for heaven.

Just imagine you had four cups of coffee before you got into line and you have been told that if you don’t respond when  your name is called you have to go to the back of the line.

Why would you drink four cups of coffee before you go to the Department of Afterlife Administration when you know you aren’t 25 any more and you know you’re going to have to answer Mother Nature’s call.

After you get your wings you won’t have to worry about having to pee if you drink too late at night or counting calories, but we are not talking about after.

This is before dammit.

Failed Leadership

Multiple publications wrote about the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville and the violence that erupted there.

I was disgusted and saddened by the hateful speech but the most shocking part was the moral equivalency exhibited by our president.

Fortunately not all are as blind as he is.

It bothers me to have to wonder if Trump is willfully blind or a thoughtless drone because neither one are good things.

Dad, The Knight

My children have heard me promise to always have their backs and to always do what I could to protect them for as long as I live and or haunt the earth.

I got a chance today to prove to my daughter that I stand by my promise.

Four years ago I took the family to the Fort Worth Stockyards.

It is one of those things that screams Texas and somewhere I always take visitors to. There are all sorts of fun things to do and people always love watching the Longhorn herd cattle drive.

Anyway, I promised my daughter that when she moved to Texas I would take to see the herd again and today was the day.

Typically the cattle drive takes place twice a day. It is always one of the most popular events and something that never gets old for me.

It is cool to watch these giant steers walk down the middle of the street and normally that is how it goes, they follow a guy on horseback and walk a couple hundred yards.

Today one of them decided to go rogue and left the herd.

We were about 25 feet away when Horny stepped up and headed for the patch of grass you see in the picture below.

I snapped a picture with one hand and kept another on my daughter’s shoulder because I wasn’t sure what the beast was going to decide to do.

My daughter didn’t panic and followed my directions to step to the side of a tree. I figured if the beastie got spooked I could put the tree and myself between it.

But I also made a point to make eye contact and gave it my best glare, one which has been known to make rivers burst into flame, roses wither and sour cream to become sweet.

Fortunately nothing came of it and we got a nice new story to tell.

Final Words

I am still thinking about the events of the rally and the pathetic response of the administration.

Still thinking about the best way to talk with the kids about it. They are old enough for it not to be sugarcoated but I don’t want them to think everyone hates us either.

The world isn’t always the safest place but it is not a dungeon either.

They need to know that bad things happen when good people don’t speak up and that sometimes they happen even when good people do.

But it is always better to make those who spread hate remember that we are not and will not be silent.

There is no acceptance here.

The world can be a very dark place, but it can also be a very good place. There is still more good than bad and as long as we are active that is how it will continue to be.

P.S. There is nothing better than finding typos the day after I publish. So embarrassing.

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