God Is Doing My Head In
Updated: Jul 2, 2020
I’m in Heaven. I’ve been here for like a million years now – 1,220,245 years and 9 days, to be precise. All there is to do here is count the days.
It was my deathday last week. No one got me anything. What do you get the man who has it all, including eternal bliss? Well, how about a fucking card for starters. I mean I didn’t ask for anything, but it would’ve been nice for someone to have thought about me. To have remembered. Even God forgot.
God is doing my head in. Everyone is, to be honest.
No one has to be nice anymore. Once you’re in Heaven, you’re in Heaven. There’s no punishment for bad behaviour. You can do whatever the fuck you want. Elvis shat on my porch earlier. I looked outside my window, and there he was, squeezing one out, with a smile on his face. When he caught me looking, he finished the job, shouted “Yee-haw motherfucker” then ran away. Elvis is always playing tricks on me.
I think I need to get out more, see some people. But people always ask the same question, and I don’t like to talk about it.
“How did you die, Eric?”
When I tell them, there’s not an immediate negative reaction. They actually laugh. They think I’m joking. They know on Earth I was a comedian and finalist of the prestigious new act competition So You Think You’re Funny?, so they expect me to be a clown here as well. But when I explain, they look confused.
I died when I was 30. It was silly really, eating all those Rolos.
In my mid-20s life wasn’t going so well: I was alone, struggling at comedy, and broke, both financially and mentally. I’d never had a girlfriend, never had a decent job, never ate at one of those fancy restaurants like Pizza Express. Heck, I’d never had one good thing happen to me in my whole damned life.
So one day I woke up and I said, “Fuck it, this world has given me nothing. I’m just gonna eat Rolos until I die.” And 6 years of not shitting properly later, I did die.
Cause of death: Rolo poisoning.
It actually said that on the coroner’s report. The coroner got fired, but the point is, that’s what she wrote.
(Yes, it was a woman-coroner. Grow the fuck up.)
Dying is the strangest thing. One moment you’re in complete agony, your life flashing before your eyes as all 300 pounds of you fights to stay alive; the next moment it’s gone and you wake up and you never feel anything like physical pain ever again.
“No shit!” – Those were the first words that came out my mouth when I reached the afterlife. I always hoped there was a heaven, something more than just sitting at home eating Rolos and playing FIFA. But however hard I tried, I couldn’t make myself believe it. So when I got here I was completely amazed. I can only liken it to the surprise I felt when I found out Gary Oldman is the brother of Big Mo from EastEnders. It defies all logic. No amount of deductive reasoning or studying the physical laws of nature will ever explain it. But it’s really true.
The novelty wears off. I’m lying in bed now and I can’t be fucked.
Heaven doesn’t look so different from Earth. I thought it would be bare cloudy but nah. The aesthetic is the same as Earth but it goes on forever and there’s no pain and no suffering and thankfully nowhere like Stoke-on-Trent.
I fancy a bacon sandwich. You can have anything you want up here. You just say the magic words and it appears right in front of you:
“Alexa, bring me a bacon sandwich.”
I’ve always assumed that, since it’s Heaven, no actual animals have to die when I eat meat. I’m not sure though. I must remember to ask God next time I see him.
Like I said, God is doing my head in. I have loads of questions, but it’s so difficult to get hold of Him. When you first die, He’s your best mate. He helps you settle in. He sorts you some digs and then hangs out for a bit. Few beers, few games of FIFA, He shows you your funeral on the big screen. It’s nice. But after a few days, He leaves you on your own. For the rest of eternity. Do you have any idea how long eternity is? Imagine living a million years. Now imagine doing that a million times. Eternity is infinitely longer than that. It gets pretty lonely if you have no one to talk to.
I had a best friend on Earth called Joe but unfortunately he went to Hell for this tweet:
So unnecessarily offensive. At least it got a lot of likes!
Elvis is throwing eggs at my window. I just heard a splat. I’m so sick of this routine – I’m not gonna look outside because I know that’s what he wants.
“Alexa, turn on the sprinklers.”
I get up and look in the mirror. I never know whether I’m happy with what I see. It turns out in Heaven you’re given the body you had when you were at peak attractiveness, so I have mixed feelings when I see my 15-year-old self staring back at me. There’s something profoundly melancholic in the realisation that dry skin and a pubey moustache was as good as it was ever gonna get. Still, I got a better deal than the Elephant Man, who is just a fertilised egg.
Another problem is my mum is smoking hot in heaven and it’s awkward and let’s say no more about it.
I don’t plan my days much. I haven’t left the house for about 10 years. There’s no motivation to go out and do things when you can just do them later. I never gave death the credit it deserves. Life is like that big clock on Countdown and death is the little jingle at the end. You know it’s coming so it forces you to come up with something. The ticking makes you take risks, tell people you love them, try follow your dreams. You have to put pen to paper so you have something to show for yourself at the end of it all.
Up here the only nine letter word I can come up with is “apathetic”. Or maybe “polyhedra”. That’s a good word.
“Alexa, save polyhedra in notes.”
In life, I used to fantasise that one day I’d be good enough with words to properly articulate how I felt about certain people. Some of those people are here now but I still haven’t said anything. There’s no point – I can just do it in a million years.
Still, life was kinda shit as well. That’s what I don’t get. Why was there so much suffering? Why were there natural disasters? Why were Rolos so tasty yet so unhealthy?
Why did we have all those emotions? I used to get so fucking angry at people. I was so jealous of anyone who had more than me. I’d have these emotional cycles – angry, depressed, happy for a bit, depressed again, angry…. And it all seemed beyond rationality. I couldn’t reason myself out of the emotions. They felt built in. Like God made them part of the package. Why?
“How are you?” I say to Elvis as he steps inside.
“I’m surviving,” he replies.
We go through to the kitchen and I stick the kettle on. I could get Alexa to do it but I like the ritual.
“Do you miss it, Elvis?”
“Miss what?” he says.
“Life,” I say.
“We have everything we want here,” he says.
“Yeah, I know.”
I ask him if he takes sugar and he says no and I finish the brews and put them on the table. I walk over to the window and stare out pensively like I’m a character from a dramatic scene in Emmerdale. I look at my car in the drive.
“You let the air out my tyres the other day. What’s with all the pranks, Elvis?”
He shrugs his shoulders.
“You know what I think?” I say. “I think you’re bored. Numb. You don’t know what to do with yourself.I’m the same. I can’t even feel depressed anymore. And now we’re stuck like this.”
“We’re caught in a trap,” he says. “We can’t walk out.”
Suddenly I have an idea.
“I have an idea,” I say. “We should confront God. Just show up at his address. Let him know what’s what by—”
“Toilet papering his house,” Elvis says, incorrectly finishing my sentence.
“No I was gonna say by talking to him. This paradise is shit and if it’s anyone’s fault it’s His.”
Elvis sips on his brew and thinks for a second. Then he says:
“Did you put sugar in this?”
“I told you I don’t have sugar.”
“I know, that’s why I didn’t put any in.”
“I can taste sugar.”
“Well, what would I gain from lying to you?” We argue about this for 20 more minutes then decide to go see the big G.O.D.
God’s house is about a 10,000 year walk away which is well annoying but when we finally get there we’re just as determined to get some answers.
“Open up,” I shout, after banging on the door for the fifth time.
The door opens. A bearded man in a white vest and a pair of Family Guy pyjama bottoms is standing there. We step inside. There’s paperwork all over the floor and whiteboards full of complex equations. God has the air of a student pulling an all-nighter.
He shows us through to the sitting room. There’s a sofa-bed with the bed bit still out. God tidies up, putting the sofa back together and clearing some mugs off the table that say “World’s Greatest Dad”. Love Island is playing on the TV.
We zone out watching it, half an hour goes by before anyone says anything.
“God, I have a lot of questions,” I say.
He nods all-knowingly.
“Why was life so full of suffering? Why do bad things happen to good people? Like, what’s with all the diseases and hurricanes? Or even back ache. What’s the point in giving people back ache? Why is being here shit as well? Why did you send my friend Joe to hell for making one joke about Madeline McCann? Why does everything have to be this way?”
“Yeah God, tell us,” Elvis adds, unnecessarily.
God walks over to the window and stares out pensively like he’s a character from a dramatic scene in Emmerdale.
“You know, every day people show up at my door,” He says. “Demanding answers, thinking they’re the first ones.”
I join him at the window and stare out pensively; the Paddy to his Marlon. God continues:
“This was never designed to be a paradise, it’s a holding pen.”
“What?” I say. Not because I couldn’t hear Him, but because I didn’t understand what He was saying.
“At least you know why you’re here,” He says. “You have a story, a creator. I have no idea why I’m here. I just appeared one day – for no reason. And I couldn’t feel anything. No pain, no emotions, no back ache, nothing. That’s how it is in Heaven. I couldn’t stand it. So I made somewhere where it could be different. Somewhere with good and evil and hope and fear. I wanted there to be a place where people could struggle, because that’s the only place where existence can mean anything. Now all I do is work work work every day, trying to maintain it, trying to give people what I couldn’t have. It’s not until they’re here that they realise what it means to be alive.”
“What?” I say. This time I genuinely couldn’t hear Him. Elvis turned up the volume on Love Island as He was speaking. I turn off the TV and get Him to repeat Himself.
“I gave everyone the best of all possible worlds and no one gives a damn. You don’t know how lucky you were,” He says, trying to cry.
I have an idea. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time.
“So let me go back,” I say. “Let me tell everyone how sick life is. Let me spread your word. I can be the second coming. Let me help people love. Let me help people see the beauty of pain and struggling and striving for more.”
“How will you do that?”
“Through comedy: stand-up comedy.
“But I’ve seen your stuff,” He says, completely owning me. “It’s all just about how you can’t get a girlfriend.”
“I can mix it up, I promise. I won’t be a hack anymore. I’ve learned so much up here; I always thought that the happiest people were the ones with the most, but now I know that having everything you want is a curse. Think about it – they’d kill for that perspective on Mock the Week. Just give me a chance, God.”
As God mulls it over we suddenly realise that Elvis isn’t in the room anymore. We look outside the window. Elvis is there toilet papering the house. “Yee-haw motherfucker,” he says. He looks up for a reaction but God and I just sigh. He sulks back into the house and switches Love Island on again.
“God, I know you have more power than anyone. Send me back. The last time I was truly happy was the 10thMay 2018. It was my birthday; my friends were there, in the pub, and there was laughing and banter and I remember sitting there and thinking maybe the world isn’t so bad after all. But then the next day I was sad again. I let it slip. Now I realise that the happiness in that moment came from the fact that things are normally shit. I guess when you die you realise that life is just about those little moments between the struggling, made meaningful by the struggling. Let me be 22 again. Let me be a young struggling comic. Let me be lonely. Let me be scared. Let me feel.”
“I can send you back,” God says. “But you have to tell the others. Tell them how the thing they’ve got, to be alive, is the best possible thing imaginable. I never got to be alive and every day I wish I could’ve been. Tell them there can be nothing better. Make sure they understand that.”
“Alright, sound. I’ll write a blog about it.”
“Cheers,” God says, before turning to Elvis. “Do you want to go back as well?”
Elvis looks proper spaced out. He shakes his head.
“I think I’ll stay here and watch Love Island if that’s alright. It’s better than feeling things.”
“Amen,” God says.
Anyway, that’s about it.
Before sending me back to 2018, God turned to me and said:
“You know, Joe didn’t go to Hell for that Madeline McCann tweet, he went to Hell for this.”
“Ah, that makes more sense,” I said.
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