Friday, August 24, 2007

Black Marks and Rock at the Pearly Gates

Do you ever feel like you're being watched? Not in the "I'm starring in my own movie and this is my soundtrack" way, which I'm convinced everyone secretly thinks until they have the reality check of "WTF, this is NO movie!" No, my friend, you only live once.

Who can blame us, really? Raised on Little Mermaid, Breakfast Club, and Some Kind of Wonderful and all those other Disney and John Hughes movies, we're bound to feel like our lives are dramatic and being caught on tape, somewhere, somehow, even if it is just a cosmic reel of film in the sky being recorded for judgment day.

St. Peter: So, Nicole, this is what we caught on tape from your college years. You were pretty rebellious. For no apparent reason. Of course, we all understand, but that's no excuse.
Film rolls. Nicole kissing a random stranger on the Old Main "A" on (when else?) A-day (Aggies, duh). Staying out until 4 a.m. to be with boys. Sleeping through political science class all the time.
Nicole: I was 18!
St. Peter: No one blames you, we all understand. We all rebelled and pushed the boundaries, I mean, I understand very much. But NONE of us got a D in political science because of our misadventures. As a result, three black marks by your name, here on the White Board of Judgment. [Gestures to a large white board with thousands of names on it. Nicole's name is highlighted with a long string of black marks beside it.]
Nicole, gasping: What? I'm being judged based on my college performance? I had no idea! The Christians told us it would be based on the Ten Commandments.
St. Peter, shaking his head: They've been wrong about a lot of things. For example, there is no Hell.
Nicole: Yeah, I kind of knew that, basically. I mean, I knew that the real Hell was being on earth, with the Democrats and the environmentalists. What really gets me is that you're using the name-and-black-mark system to judge people. I thought that was a lie, a tool used by clergy and mothers to subjugate children and the uneducated public.
St. Peter: No, it's real. Some of your black marks have been erased based on good behavior. For every insect whose life you have spared, one black mark is erased.
Nicole: There's that, I guess. So, I really like the soundtrack. Is that "Lovefool" playing?
St. Peter: Yes, sung by the Rolling Stones. This was a very big song your first year in college, when you were chasing that boy (an ill-advised love affair, if you ask me). But St. Anthony prefers the Stones to the Cardigans, so he commissioned them specifically for your life soundtrack.
Nicole: Wow . . . that's . . . some great service . . . this is very random. I didn't think saints listened to rock.
St. Peter: This is Heaven. Of course we listen to rock.

Anyway, the real reason I ask about feeling like you're being watched is because a couple of days ago, I was walking through the parking lot at my work. As I approached the building, a guy I had never seen before was walking away from the building. Really, I'd never seen him before. He looked at me like he knew me, you know how a face lights up when they recognize someone. So I smiled and gave a little wave. He said to me, "Nicole, right?" A bit taken aback, I said, "Who are you?" And he said his name, which I've already forgotten, and then he added, "I'm in security."

There are cameras everywhere, I don't even pay attention to them. But I sometimes wonder if there are people somewhere watching the video feed. It's just a little disconcerting, that's all. I guess this is how celebrities feel.

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