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  • Writer's pictureJeff Eaker

On a Dark Desert Highway




Jesse wanders.

Jesse wanders because he worries. Jesse wonders why he worries while he wanders.



Up ahead in the distance

I saw a shimmering light.


Jesse: God?


God: Hello, Jesse. How are you?


Jesse: I’m good. Actually, I feel awesome.


God: I bumped up your dopamine. It’s nice, isn’t it?


Jesse: Yeah. I don’t feel jittery. I don’t feel anxious.


God: I know.


Jesse: I wish I could feel this way all the time.


God: That would be nice, wouldn’t it?


Jesse: I have a zillion things that I want to ask you.


God: A zillion isn’t a real number.


Jesse: I guess it’s just an expression.


God: So you have a lot of questions?


Jesse: Yes. Don’t most people?


God: Is that your first question?


Jesse: No. Can I take it back?


God: You don’t have to. Yes.


Jesse: Yes, what?


God: Yes, most people have a lot of questions but they’re usually all the same: What’s the meaning of life? Why is there so much pain and suffering in the world? What happens after we die? Are those the types of questions you had in mind?


Jesse: Yeah, pretty much. Sorry about that.


God: Don’t be.


Jesse: Well, I kinda would like to know the meaning of life if you don’t mind me asking.


God: Why does everyone want to know the meaning of life?


Jesse: I have no idea. It’s totally cliché and I hate that. But it seems to be the number one thing that people want to know down here.


God: I’ve always wondered why it was such a big deal. Why does life need to have a meaning for you? Can’t it just be life? Can’t you just enjoy the scenery? I worked very hard on it. It kind of hurts my feelings.


Jesse: I don’t want to hurt your feelings. I guess I just want to know if I’m on the right path.


God: You seem to be doing fine.


Jesse: I’m not. I’m a mess. I worry about stuff all the time.


God: And if you knew the meaning of life, would you worry less?


Jesse: I’m not sure, to be honest.


God: If you knew the meaning of life, would you tell other people?


Jesse: Yes, if it’s okay with you.


God: It’s no skin off my back, Jesse. Do you think they’d believe you, though? Especially if you told them that God told you?


Jesse: I guess some people would believe me and some people would think I was nuts.


God: Yes. That seems to be the pattern. It doesn’t really bother me that some people believe what I say, and some people don’t. It used to bother me. You know, back in the Old Testament days. But I’ve gotten thicker skinned since then.


Jesse: Couldn’t you change that? Couldn’t you make it so that everyone believed?


God: So, you want me to tell you the meaning of life and you want me to make it so that everyone believes you?


Jesse: Well, they’d be believing you, not me.


God: It doesn’t usually work that way.


Jesse: Yeah. I know. Things haven’t gone so well for people who’ve tried that, have they?


God: Why don’t you ask me another question?


I was thinking to myself This could be Heaven, or this could be Hell.


Jesse: Why is there so much pain and suffering in the world?


God: I’m afraid I can’t answer that. I’m not in charge of pain and suffering. That comes from a different department. Would you like me to transfer you?


Jesse: The Devil?


God: You’re getting warmer. Hold, please.


Jesse: You can’t stop him?


God: Sometimes I can.


Jesse: Why not all the time?


God: I like to focus on love and kindness. That’s my department.


Jesse: But there are so many people who are in so much pain.


God: Love and kindness are more powerful than pain and suffering.


Jesse: Have you seen what's going on down there lately? Pain and suffering are selling like hotcakes.


God: You’re in advertising. What do you do when one of your clients is losing to the competition?


Jesse: Well, it means you’re a challenger brand.


God: God is a challenger brand? Lovely. Well, pretend I’m one of your clients. My product is love and kindness. The competition is pain and suffering. What do I do?


Jesse: I’d need to see the data, but I know that today’s consumer cares just as much about how a brand behaves as they do about what it makes.


God: People don’t like how I behave?


Jesse: Can we lower the price of love and kindness? Can we give out free samples so more people can try it? How do we get more people to engage with love and kindness?


God: Perhaps we can offer a BOGO?


Jesse: You could have a Gucci problem.


God: God has a Gucci problem?


Jesse: The biggest threat to Gucci’s business doesn’t come from other labels or designers. It comes from counterfeit Gucci.


God: People are counterfeiting love and kindness?


Jesse: I think there are a lot of things that masquerade as love and kindness. Money is the first thing that comes to mind. Money masquerades as love and kindness all the time. Thoughts and prayers masquerade as love and kindness. Gwyneth Paltrow masquerades as love and kindness. How do we get people to ditch the counterfeit stuff and go for the real thing?


God: Testing?


Any time of year

You can find it here.


Jesse: When people pray to you, do you hear them?


God: No.


Jesse: Really? That’s surprising.


God: I find it to be incredibly distracting. It’s like sitting in open seating. It’s hard to get any work done.


Jesse: So praying is useless?


God: Not at all. When people pray it gives them hope. Hope is 99% of the universe.


Jesse: That’s a good line.


God: It’s yours. Good luck selling it.

Some dance to remember

Some dance to forget.


Jesse: How do you feel about people fighting and dying in your name?


God: Do you know what Synesthesia is?


Jesse: That’s when musicians see colors or shapes when they hear music. Leonard Bernstein had it. Jimi Hendrix had it.


God: Well, Jesse. I’m a being just like you’re a being. You happen to be a human being. And I’m more of a …


Jesse: God being?


God: Oh, I like that. You’re so very clever.


Jesse: Thank you.


God: Well, as a God being, I have feelings just like a human being, but my feelings are different than yours. They’re more like Jimi Hendrix’s. So, when you ask me how I feel about people fighting and dying in my name the only honest answer I can give you is: mauve.


The last thing I remember,

I was running for the door.


Jesse: Is there a Heaven?


God: No, there’s an Iowa.


Jesse: That’s from “Field of Dreams”.


God: I loved that movie.


Jesse: I always cry when he plays catch with his dad.


God: You played a lot of catch with your dad.


Jesse: I loved playing catch with my dad.


God: But you’re sad.


Jesse: Because I think about my kids. We don’t really play catch. I’ve tried, but they’re not really into sports. I always thought that when I had kids, they’d be super into sports like I was and I kind of feel like a failure that they aren’t. I think it’s my fault. When I was a kid, my dad was home from work every day right at five. He coached all my teams. He took me to every practice. I can’t be home every day by five. You can’t walk out of an advertising agency before five every day. We stay there all night sometimes.


God: He coached ALL your teams?


Jesse: Well, until I was about 10.


God: And why did he stop coaching your teams when you were 10?


Jesse: It became a problem. It got a little intense.


God: It made you both unhappy.


Jesse: It made everyone unhappy.


God: Are your children unhappy?


Jesse: Not as long as their iPads are charged.


God: Not everyone grows up playing sports, Jesse. If you do the math and take man’s entire existence into account, the truth is most children grow up planting rice.


Jesse: That kinda makes me feel better.


God: Go with it.


I had to find the passage back

To the place I was before.


Jesse: Can I ask one last question?


God: Of course.


Jesse: Is there anything you want to say to us? You know, like all of us?


God: You are all my children and I say the same things to my children that you say to yours. I say, “I love you. I’m so proud of you. I want you to follow your dreams and live a good life. I want you to do your best and be happy.”


Jesse: Yeah, but I also say stuff to my kids like, “Stop doing that! Get off of him! Put that thing down and listen to me!”


God: Yes. Parents need to say those things to their children when they behave badly.


Jesse: So, do you say those things to yours?


God: I used to. But as you well know, parenting has changed over the years. It’s no different for me. I don’t spank anymore either. It’s been years since I’ve smited.


Jesse: I can think of a few people who could use some smiting.


God: Don’t worry, Jesse. It all comes out in the wash.


Jesse: I’ve actually got one more question.


God: Of course, you do. No one ever says, “Can I ask one last question?” without having one more question to ask.


Jesse: Which religion is right?


God: None of them. I didn’t create religion. I created the universe. You guys came up with religion. Not my problem, Jesse.


Jesse: Well, it’s a pretty big problem for us, wouldn’t you say?


God: You were asking me about talking to your children. What do you say to your boys when they’re fighting?


Jesse: I tell them that they’re brothers and they need to stop fighting because they’re the best friends either one of them will ever have.


God: You’re all my children. You’re all brothers. You need to stop fighting because you’re the best friends any of you will ever have.


Jesse: I wish you could make that happen.


God: That would be nice.

You can check out any time you like But you can never leave.


Jesse pauses.

Jesse pauses to ponder.

Jesse picks the perfect place to pause while he ponders.




Thanks for reading. I’ll see you again real soon.





























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3 Comments


graceonme
Apr 04, 2023

I don't regularly read any other blogs but yours. You're a beautiful writer and I'm glad you have a place to share your creativity.

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Jeff Eaker
Jeff Eaker
Apr 04, 2023
Replying to

That's about the nicest thing you could say. Thank you very much. I sincerely appreciate it. Comments like yours make me feel better about stuff.

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Todd Ehlers
Todd Ehlers
Apr 03, 2023

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