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A letter to the woman upstairs
Weighing heaven and hell

March 4, 2005

Dear God,

Hope all is well with you. I'm doing alright, as you know, but I'm a little concerned. At my old age, I've been thinking more and more about death. As you know, that's what we old people do all day: worrying about death, medicine and diapers. And with all due respect, I'm a bit disappointed with choices that are available to me after I die. After all, I would've liked to have a few more options regarding my final destination other than heaven and hell. And since we're talking a long-term commitment, which will most likely last an eternity, I was hoping for a bit more variety and maybe a better selection.

Don't get me wrong. I do not question your decision on crafting heaven and hell. And I would never dare to challenge your judgment on who shall inhabit heaven and who shall seek permanent residency in burning hell; but why such narrow assortment?

I like the idea of heaven. Things seem to be alright in there. Sounds comfy; clean air, clear blue skies, waterfalls and creeks, pure wine, mouth-watering food, no sickness, no weariness, no poverty, no hostility and no greed. Even though it sounds a little boring, I can dig heaven if I try.

However, the thing that bothers me about heaven is the individuals who most likely will be dwelling there. Orthodox Jews and Muslim suicide bombers have already been promised entry to heaven. Jesus freaks, Branch Davidians, militant Hindus, Talibans, Hizbollahis and abortion clinic bombers are lining outside the gates of paradise too. Heaven is gonna be full of assholes! I'm not sure if I want to associate with these people. But hopefully theses creeps will be accommodated in a separate section, away from the rest of us.

And I have to confess that hell sounds intriguing too. I'm not going to lie to you, but some of the most interesting people I know personally will end up down there. My best friends will most certainly go to hell, my in-laws, my distant relatives, my wife, children and parents are all going to hell. As a matter of fact I have not met anybody fascinating that has ticket to heaven. Why is that?

Now I understand that hell is not a very pleasant piece of real state. And I also appreciate the fact that hell has nothing to offer but torment and suffering. But, dear God, I really think we need to make some sort of arrangement where I can spend some time in heaven and maybe a little time in hell as well.

As you know I like to drink beer and I like to visit the local nudie bars from time to time. Nothing major, just a little fun. Now, heaven does not sound like a place where a man can get himself a good bottle of beer and it sure as hell doesn't seem like a place that nudie bars grow in every street corner. I also like to play cards and bet a little money on horses to keep the old adrenaline pumping. I'm not sure if there are any racetracks in heaven, are there? I also like to visit Mrs. Brown to say hello when her husband is out of town. Mrs. Brown ain't going to heaven either -- not after what she did to me last week.

Therefore, dear God, I would like to request a weekend pass -- a note from you or one of your deputies, that lets me visit the boys in hell on Friday nights to have a little drink, call on the family and Mrs. Brown, bet a little money on horses, get a quick lap dance and be back on time for the Sunday Mass.

Dear God, please, please show me a sign. I need to know if you've been listening to my prayers.

Two minutes later, the old man and his entire village were wiped out by a tsunami.

Siamack Baniameri is the author of The Iranican Dream, ( Publishing, December 2004). Also see

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Siamack Baniameri



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