Dear Future Grandchild(ren),
So I just recently arrived in heaven and it’s totally not what I expected. You’ll know already because your parents – my children – have probably told you that I lived a pretty good life; tried my best not to do any real harm to anybody, worked hard and took care of my family as best I could. I had some nice friends and we generally treated one another as we would want to be treated. I always stopped to help people whose cars were broken down on the highway. I volunteered at the local library. I attended church fairly regularly and I always gave to charity. It was a pretty good life. I could have done better; I know that. But all in all, I feel I did my best under the circumstances.
So, imagine my surprise when I got here and they immediately herded me into a room the size of Africa (I kid you not) with a whole bunch of other surprised ‘good, decent folk’ and I found out that I can’t move on until I make restitution for the state we left the world in. Like pollution and global warming and animal extinction and water pollution were MY problem!
We have all been given a checklist of things we have to apologise to our future generations for. And you won’t believe it: my checklist even includes that time I dumped my old car oil down the toilet. For Pete’s sake, I’m ONE PERSON: how much harm could it have done that I’m paying for it now, when I should be sitting on a cloud somewhere learning to play a harp? (Full disclosure: the dude running the place up here told me you’re the one paying for it – I still don’t see how one stupid can of oil has him so riled up).
Speaking of stupid: I don’t see how a few plastic grocery bags that some dumb whales apparently ate have him in such a state, either. I told him it’s not my fault that a stupid fish can’t tell the difference between a jelly fish and a plastic bag. The dude in charge says I have ‘an attitude’: seems to think that I used ‘a bit more’ plastic than that; he has a whole list (talk about anal retentive). Here are some highlights, just to show you what a stickler he is:
- sandwich bags (what was I supposed to pack your parents’ lunches in, I ask you?)
- McDonald’s Kids-Meal toys (you can blame your Mom and Dad for THAT: they’re the ones who used to ask for them)
- plastic cups and straws (what were we supposed to do; carry around a cup from home?)
- vinyl records, 8-track tapes, cassettes, Beta max tapes, VCR tapes, DVDs, CDs (don’t blame me if I lived long enough to see a lot of trends come and go. Don’t blame me if the industries kept changing things)
It just goes on and on: the most insignificant items you could possibly imagine. They didn’t miss a thing up here; honestly, you’d think they had better things to do with their days. My ‘plastics’ list alone is about 100 pages long (not to worry; I won’t bore you with the whole thing).
When we finished reading our personalised lists (which took a ridiculously long time), they made us sign a waiver, ‘taking ownership’ for our contribution to the mess down below. The way they see things up here, the fact that you live in a world where the polar ice caps have melted; the air is hard to breathe, big corporations now own the groundwater, the weather is a little wonky, a few countries are now underwater and hundreds of animal species no longer exist is all our fault (please feel free to insert a sarcastic eyeroll here).
Now just for the record, I want you to know that as a good Christian, I told him none of us saw the point of cleaning up the earth when God was going make ‘’all things new again’ on Judgement Day. Boy, did he pitch a hissy fit over THAT statement: turns out, when folks in biblical times spoke of God ‘making things new again’ they were actually speaking metaphorically about our spiritual selves (yeah, I don’t quite get it either). All I know is, I’m never bringing up THAT argument again.
Also for the record, I did try to defend myself by pointing out all the good things I did for the environment. I told the dude in charge that I used to put quite a bit of stuff in those blue boxes they gave us. Yes, there was even more plastic that couldn’t go in the blue boxes – and yes, I threw it out with the regular garbage; but again, I told him that was not my fault and certainly not my responsibility (for some reason, the dude in charge rolled his eyes at that). I told him about that petition thingy I once signed. I told him about the time I donated redeemable plastic bottles to the local Boy Scouts. And I mentioned how I almost always ‘liked’ those awful posts on Facebook that showed pictures of messy beaches covered in garbage.
He didn’t seem to think my efforts worthy of any restitution to you at all. I sincerely don’t know what else he thinks I should have done.
All that to say, I’m sure you will think this letter is as stupid as I do and I’m sure you ‘get’ that I had nothing to do with the mess you’re in down there. But it seems that I’m not allowed to leave this room and ‘move on to the next step’ until I ‘get’ it (still not sure what that means, either) and until I apologise to you.
So fine. If that’s what it takes to get out of here; if he wants me to apologize, I’ll apologise.
I’m sorry, okay? (not sorry…)
Patti Moore Wilson/ © wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com