Do you know what I have discovered? I wish I had had an “onboarding” course or interview before I made my debut on Earth. It may not have made my journey any easier knowing what to expect, but at least I wouldn’t have gone through most of my life waiting for the other shoe to drop.
How do we get here anyway? When I say here, I mean to Earth. I don’t mean, what is the biology of it all (at 63 if I don’t know how babies are born, I better give up the ghost). But it is obvious that we are so much more than instinctive animals. We have the ability to choose between good and evil. We also have the ability to choose whom we will love and whom we will hate. In other words, we have souls. As a soul, before being stuffed into the sausage casing of my little brown body, I would like to have been shown a DVD of my proposed life and given an edit pencil so that I could take out what I didn’t like and add in what I thought was missing. That’s all I’m sayin’!
IMAGINED ONBOARDING INTERVIEW
WITH NANNY OF BABY SOULS
Cosmos Nanny: So, C-‘48, how can I help you today?
C-‘48: Well, I know it’s getting near my time to take a slip-and-slide through the vagina shoot that will transition me from this world to my birth family on Earth. But you see, I was talking to the other candidates last night and they said you used to have an onboarding course we could take to help prepare us for life on Earth. They also said that some of us fair better than others once we get our body casings. I’d like to take that course so that I side step as many of the pitfalls as possible in my life.
Cosmos Nanny: Those damn rebellious baby souls are always causing problems by passing along misinformation. Most of you are pretty well-behaved, but there are a couple of you who are destined for New York City and who have a street cred that makes you too clever for words. A few of you are always stirring up mischief. You’re all beginning to get on my every last nerve, that’s for sure.
C-’48: I’m sorry; I’m just scared of the unknown. The Earth sounds like a pretty scary place!
Cosmos Nanny: (Sigh!) Okay. We used to have an onboarding course but we don’t any more. It caused way too much hysteria, and people were always trying to change their destinies or trick other baby souls into taking their place. So, no, there is no onboarding course. You’ll just have to wing it once you get there.
C-’48: Really? Oh, come on: throw me a freakin’ bone here. Like for instance, what race will I be? What gender?
Cosmos Nanny: What do you want to be?
C-’48: That’s easy to answer: I want to be white; I want to be rich; and I want to be a man.
Cosmos Nanny: Ha! Don’t they all. Well, kiddo, you’re going to be anything but. You are going to be born poor, black, and female, and you’ll grow up in the Cleveland ghetto.
C-’48: The Cleve! Shit, not The Cleve! Anywhere, but The Cleve.
Cosmos Nanny: Why, what do you have against Cleveland?
C-’48: A couple of the other baby souls said it is the point of no return. It’s like the roach motel commercial: “Once you check in you never check out.” Where in the Cleve will I be born? Can it be with the rich white people in Shaker Heights? Can my mother look like Doris Day? I really love yellow hair!
Google Image/Doris Day
Cosmos Nanny: No, you can’t. Why do you insist on being born “white”? Black is beautiful; you’ll discover that sometime around the mid-sixties.
C’48: Crap! Because according to the other baby souls, things go a lot better for the souls in the white-body casings. They said if I choose any other casing color (yellow, light brown, or reddish hue), I’ll have a bad time of it on Earth because the white-body casings will treat me like shit.
Cosmos Nanny: I’ll be sure and tell the Irish how much better life went for them due to their white-body casings the next time I’m sitting in on a lecture about the Irish Potato Famine in the 1800’s. Did those rascally baby souls tell you that the potato famine killed more than a million Irish souls, and it displaced another million or more Irishmen and women to the New World? And the pisser of it all is that the people of England let them starve to death while stealing their land, robbing them of their culture, and exporting tons of their food to the world market. Or maybe instead of an onboarding course for you troublesome baby-souls, I think I’ll reintroduce my course about the Bubonic Plague that wiped out 75 million Europeans or approximately 50% of its population by the time it was over. The culprits in this suffering were close living conditions, filth, and rats.
“Die Pest in Epiros” (“The Plague in Epirus”) by
Pierre Mignard (1610-1665)
C-’48: Yikes! That’s supposed to make me feel better about living on Earth? What other planets do you have up your sleeve that I can matriculate to?
Cosmos Nanny: Just Earth as far as you’re concerned. Now hush — enough of this misinformed nonsense. Let’s get on with the work at hand. You’re slated to be born in a place called Central-Woodland in a house that won’t be condemned for another ten years after you’re born, but it should have been torn down ten years before you ever entered it. The house will have rats the size of cats and roaches the size of hummingbirds. The people in your neighborhood will be trapped by poverty and locked out of education and jobs due to the tenacious long-reaching effect of Jim Crow laws — not “officially” written down in the North, but just as tenacious as the ones in the South. Your caretakers will be numbers runners, schizophrenics, alcoholics, prostitutes, and pedophiles. I found a picture of a house cited for Urban Renewal that looks very similar to the one you will spend your formative years in (give or take a few less holes), just to give you an idea of what you’re in for.
Google Image/Cleveland House
C-’48: Aie-yi-yi! You’re so goddamn nonchalant about the shit I’m going to have to deal with in my life.
Look at that house: I can see the abuse and mayhem written all over its framework. Don’t you get it? I’m
not cut out for suffering. I don’t think I can handle pain – physical or emotional. Can’t I just stay here? Or how about this: Since the sperm hasn’t connected to the egg yet that will form my body, can’t I simply choose to be someone else born in 1948, and you look the other way?
Cosmos Nanny: Like who?
C-’48: I don’t know. . .tell me who’s in the catalogue that will be born in 1948.
Cosmos Nanny: Of the baby souls you would hear about in your lifetime, there will be born a Mikhail Baryshnikov (a womanizing Russian dancer who defects to the US and builds a brilliant career as a dancer but a mediocre one as an actor). Then there will also be an Al Gore (worth more than $100 million, a US Vice President, and supposedly “founder of the Internet,” and a global warming darling who will cheat on his
wife after 40 years of marriage). And, of course, we can’t forget Ozzy Osbourne (a drug-addicted, rock musician who bites off the head of a bat on stage and is arguably the father of reality TV that will destroy Western civilization as we know it). They all will become rich and famous, but they all will have had and have caused their fair share of suffering – none of which you could have survived.
C-’48: Well, that’s a shitty sampling of rich, white men. Aren’t there others?
Cosmos Nanny: Sure there are but they are all Jewish, and you couldn’t handle being Jewish.
C-’48: Say what? How do you know what I can handle?
Cosmos Nanny: I know what you can handle because you don’t want to suffer. You’ll do anything in
your power not to suffer. You couldn’t bear the history of the Jewish race bleeding down through your ancestors. It is going to be hard enough to bear up under the slave history of the African races and all the Jim Crow aftermath that you will inherit. But you’re missing the point all together: no race escapes suffering. No race or gender is better than the other. No human is immune from life’s sorrow, and no one has a corner on suffering. Do you remember the quote I taught you and the other baby souls by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow?
C-’48: “If we could read the secret history of our enemies we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”
Cosmos Nanny: There are lives you will come to know who will be born in comfort of class and skin but once you know their history, you would not want to change places with them for all the money and white-body casings in the world. The Kennedy clan will have more money than God, but they will bear so much premature death, assassinations, mental retardation, alcoholism, accidents, scandals, and death threats that you would never willingly trade places with their mother in a million years. Helen Keller was born before you in a wealthy family, but her years of painful isolation due to being deaf and dumb would have crushed you in a nano-second if you had traded places with her. And the doctor in Connecticut, whose entire family will be beaten, raped, and burned alive by heartless criminals when you are in your sixties, would change his color-casing for your life in a heartbeat, if he could bring his wife and daughters back and save them from that horrible day.
C- ’48: Okay, okay, I get it. I have only one more question before I go: Will I have children?
Cosmos Nanny: After a bit, but not without a struggle, and that in itself will be cause for suffering.
C-’48: Oh. . . . Will they suffer?
Cosmos Nanny: Yes. They will suffer, all the more, because in your attempt to save them from suffering, they will create their own suffering, especially one of them. It will take you a long time to learn that making sure children are happy and content is not a raison d’etre for them — serving the poor and fighting for the disenfranchised is. It causes children to think beyond themselves and their wants and needs. But the irony
of your children’s self-imposed suffering is that it will be the catalyst of your greatest character development.
C- ’48: Really? How so?
Cosmos Nanny: I can’t tell you that. That’s like putting the cart before the horse. You’re going to have to find out for yourself.
C-’48: What? No, no, no, no. . . . I hate this system. I don’t care what you say. I’m going to adjust things when I get down to Earth. I’ll make life easier for myself and my family so we don’t have to suffer — so help me God! You’ll see. Now that I know how things are going to roll once I’m born, I’ll make some changes before they happen.
Cosmos Nanny: You haven’t heard a word I’ve said, have you? Say good-bye Cleve ’48 because it is time for you to go. And by the way, once you enter your mother’s womb, you won’t remember a word of our conversation. This is a good thing because I think you’re going to be a trouble-maker. But I will throw you one “freakin’ bone” as you put it: you’ll end up living in a house like this one — a complete juxtaposition
to the home of your childhood — and have the life that picture represents. You’ll encounter a lot of suffering getting there, but it will be the great love of a “white casing” that will keep you there and make it a home.
Author’s House/1980’s – 1990’s
C- ’48: No, wait. . . I have so much more to ask. I want to know if there is a God, why is there suffering? Why doesn’t he stop all this turmoil if he is as good as we’ve been taught? Are some people born good and others born bad? If so, why can’t God just keep the bad souls from transitioning to Earth?
Cosmos Nanny: ENOUGH! Some things are a mystery, and no matter how much you clamor to know the
answer, to remove the mystery would remove the motivating factors that build character. Suffering is a plumb line that determines your true depth in the midst of the bullshit that you will try and construct as your earthly façade. Now go and get into your little brown human casing and prepare to make your entrance. Trust me — it won’t be as bad as you think.
C-’48: Seriously? I don’t believe you – not for a New York minute. I can tell this trip is going to be a very bad one. I can just feel it! Send a note to God for me, and tell him that he’s sure got some explainin’ to do — that’s for sure!
BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT (June 9, 1948)
Negro baby girl born today in Cleveland ghetto
Rescued from toilet
Mother mentally unstable
Life of child/TBD
“Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise.” – George Orwell
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” Helen Keller (1880 – 1968)
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