When I was around five, I asked my mother if I would get to watch television in heaven. This was a very serious question since if I couldn’t watch Garfield Goose and Bozo, I was pretty sure that I didn’t want to go. I REALLY didn’t want to go if it meant missing an episode of “That Girl” since at that time I was in training to become Marlo Thomas when I grew up. She assured me that not only would I be able to watch television in heaven, I’d also be able to watch anything that I wanted at any time. Mom didn’t know that she was decades ahead of Netflix but what she described sounded like pure nirvana to me: round the clock t.v. with a high likelihood of a nearby kitchen stocked with potato chips and Squirt, my then favorite snack foods.
As I got older and potato chips and Squirt were replaced with Doritos and Tab (once a healthy eater, apparently ALWAYS a healthy eater), it slowly dawned on me that not everyone in the universe shared the same version of heaven that I had. Not everyone wanted to lie around and watch reruns of “The Love Boat.” Some people thought heaven consisted of a perpetual hunting expedition for Bambi while toting a high powered rifle or playing endless rounds of golf on a paradise themed course or visiting with long gone relatives for all eternity. Others seemed to want to go to heaven and keep on working at the same job they had down here (those were never people I generally liked to hang out with). Still others saw the Pearly Gates as an entrance to a place where they would be able to eat themselves into gluttony every day without gaining an ounce. So, like the Grinch having his epiphany on Christmas day, it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, heaven is exactly what everyone wants it to be, whatever will bring the most happiness and contentment to each of us. One man’s meat is another man’s poison and all that but without any arguing about who’s heaven is best because they are all going to be fantastic.
Of course, now that Netflix does exist as well as boxed sets of complete series of practically every television show ever made (including “That Girl,” “Here Come the Brides” and “Starsky and Hutch”), I’m not in any particular rush to find out if my idea of heaven is, shall we say, dead on. Even if I’m way off on what’s going to happen on the other side I’m not especially worried about the afterlife as I trust God has taken care of all the details including plenty of Tab and endless bags of Doritos. So while I can easily wait several more decades before taking that final voyage to what is hopefully going to be an endless stay in TVland, I’m hoping that my steady intake thus far of chips and diet soft drinks won’t boost me to the head of the line especially since I have all fourteen seasons of “Dallas” waiting for me to watch. And a whole twelve-pack of Tab.