JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Heaven isn’t too far away

This morning, while driving to the ol’ coffee shop, I started thinking about eternal life.

Many of my Christian friends seem 100-percent certain that Heaven exists; that there’s a place where happiness is guaranteed, and love reigns, and we can all join together with lost family members, hold hands, roast marshmallows and gleefully dance the night away.

“All you need to do,” they say, “is accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior.”

Here’s the thing: Who in their right mind wants Heaven?

The above photo is of my grandparents, Curt and Marta Herz. They lived in Washington Heights, and when they were alive we’d see them, oh, every month. My grandpa was a grumpy man who scowled at the world. My grandma was a lovely woman who told the same 12 stories over and over in an endless loop. My other grandparents were Nat and Molly Pearlman. Nat slurped the milk out of his cereal bowl, driving my mother insane. Molly spent every other second of her life engulfed in irrational worry.

I enjoyed their company.

Loved their company.

Loved them.

But eternity? Together? Oy.

Heaven defenders say the human mind can’t comprehend the unbridled joy that awaits; that to try and understand it is impossible. I’m of the opinion that such reasoning is merely an excuse for the fact that—even under the best of circumstances—Heaven sounds pretty downright sucky. As David Justice showed the world, regular sex with Halle Berry gets old. Visits to Great Adventure grow stale. The Grand Canyon is, with enough exposure, simply a big hole. Driving a convertible with the top down in 75-degree warmth? Thrilling—but grows tiresome.

Truth is, Heaven and the idea of a never-ending land of milk and honey sounds like a never-ending brain melt. Who wants to last forever? Who wants to hang with the same old people day after day after day after day?

Not me.