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Altruism vs. Foresight: One Woman’s Journey

November 22, 2010

What a fucky day. I am now officially registered in an ESL teaching certificate program. It all happened in five minutes and I’m still hyperventilating. Gainful employment will be mine by 2012. I can smell the reasonable paycheques all the way from here. English is a great first language, so I don’t see how it could fail to be a kickass second language. It wasn’t until after the chaos dissipated that I realized the heat isn’t working in my building. Christ is it cold in here. Guess how many socks I’m wearing.


Anyway. Last week I got my BC Health card, along with which came a standard organ donation opt-in or -out form. As usual, I checked off the “you can have whatever you need” box, but as I was signing the form I was hit with the realization that offering all my vital organs to the medical/cadaverous professions is a thing I do without giving a thought to my future. Sure, sharing is all well and good, but a lot of people think there’s an afterlife, and what if they’re right?

Logicians, philosophers, devote(e)s of immortal omniscient beings, I ask you: what are the logistics of eternity for a person who doesn’t show up with a complete collection of vital organs?

Like, forgive my presumptuousness (wait, why is “sumptuous” a positive word and “presumptuous” a negative word? Shouldn’t “presumptuous” mean “beyond sumptuous”? As in, “The ass of my neighbour’s wife is presumptous”?), but if there is a heaven, I’m expecting it to contain a lot of my favourite things–books, cats, and rum being the top three. What if I show up there without my eyes? How will I know when a cat is walking or sleeping right in front of me? How will I know which one is Sappho? How the fuck will I read? Books on CD or whatever the 2060 equivalent is? Or are braille teachers doing a roaring trade in the afterlife? And as far as the rum is concerned, what if I arrive liverless? Can I still drink? Is heaven the kind of thing where whatever you want to do can be made to just automatically happen irregardless of biological and physical laws? Because if not, with all due respect to BC Health, I’m keeping my liver. It’s served me well for almost 31 years. We’re used to each other, and we respect each other’s physical limits when it comes to liquor. I don’t want to ascend to heaven without it.

Basically: if I’m trippin’ over cats in heaven, it better be due to inebriation, not vision impairment.

Then there’s hell to consider. I think I’m a person with decent morals; I haven’t done anything unforgivably horrible as far as I know–never killed anyone, never coveted the presumptuous ass of my neighbour’s wife, never carved or worshipped graven images–and here’s hoping that trend will continue. Plus I know Latin, which would make me useful to a lot of the older Saints. I could teach English to them, or teach LSL to everyone else, one or the other. On the other hand, I can’t even last one paragraph without taking the goddamned Lord’s name in motherfucking vain, for Christ’s sake, and I almost always work on Sundays… In other words, I’m optimistic, but this thing could go either way. And if I do end up in hell, I don’t want some watered-down bullshit, I want the full water-free hell experience. One aspect of the devil’s realm that gets a lot of play in the literature is bowel torment. But what if my bowel is transplanted into someone else after I die? Has Satan got a contingency plan in place for organ donators and donatrices? Is there some comparable backup torment to which I can be subjected instead? Meanwhile, does the person who ended up (heh heh heh) with my bowel go to hell as well, or what? Is s/he eligible for full heaven privileges, or is s/he, by virtue of having incorporated a piece of my body, now legally responsible for a portion of the debt owed by my soul to Satan? Does s/he experience the bowel torment that is rightfully mine? Because ethically, I can’t really get on board with that. I don’t want someone else suffering for all eternity just because I fucking love profanities.

Obviously, these are serious questions. If only Thomas Aquinas were here. I just read a ludicrous article about the Pope’s stance on condoms (they’re okay for male prostitutes now apparently?), and toward the end Benedict mentions that he considers ol’ Fat Thomas a friend of his. Maybe he could pose some of these questions to the author of the Summa Theologiae, or possibly even propose that T to the izz-A himself write an appendix on organ donation and the afterlife. Times have changed, and I can’t be the only one who’s confused…

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