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Sunday, November 28, 2004


The Way I Were

During a very pleasant apres-dinner conversation on Thanksgiving, my wife, our friends and I got on the topic of past lives. My friend has an aunt who claims to remember multiple past lives and uses them to explain the type of life she leads now. The concept of multiple lives, over the course of which we undergo the full spectrum of human experience to wind up, ultimately, as completely well-rounded cosmic beings, is a fascinating one. It's not just karma; it's not merely a matter of being forced to live the life you earned the last time through. It's having a different type of journey each time through. I find the idea really intriguing. It has led me to form some hypotheses about what sort of lives I must have lived prior to this incarnation.

I'm guessing that I must have, some time within my last three or four lives, been incredibly successful. I must have lived a life wherein I experienced a meteoric, effortless rise to the top of my field. I would have probably never known what it's like to work a crappy day-job, having immediately reached the place where I wanted to be in life. This would balance out an incarnation that finds me 34 years old and scraping together subway fare.

There must have been a life in which I was a neat-freak. In that life, I would have been the type of person whose bedroom seems to always be ready for military inspection and who would sooner die than let the dishes pile up for days on end. Having come to this conclusion, I find it much easier to be at peace with my current level of slovenliness.

Somewhere in there, I imagine I was a guy who not only understood and met every need of my spouse, but had an almost telepathic sensitivity to her whims before she expressed them and never had to be told to do anything five times. When I was this person, I'm sure I never gave my wife cause to hurl things at my head.

I'm almost certain I lived the life of a hipster, someone who was always on top of every trend and was thought of as "cool" or "groovy" or whatever adjective best described, at that time, a person who never felt clueless or out of touch with cultural zeitgeist.

If I ever talk to a past-lives therapist, they will surely tell me that I was a country housewife at some point. The type of person who, today, would really love Hummel figures.

My god, think of all the lives I've probably led. Lives in which I wasn't grouchy, flabby, gluttonous or financially retarded. Lives in which I had a green thumb or triple-digit sexual conquests. Lives in which I had tremendous ability to sing, fix cars, play sports, understand the tax code or tolerate moronic presidents. In these past lives, I was great!

So if I want to take this life to sit around scratching my ass and reading Justice League, that's exactly what I'm going to do. I'll save the planet in my next go round. Or the one after.

When younger my friends and I used to get our tarot cards read and one lady offered a past-life reading. Turns out that the person I was in a past life was just as lame as the person I am now. I'm sure she thought that telling me I was some love-lorn French girl would make me happy, but I was really hoping she would say that I was some pillaging Viking warrior who was burned in his ship at death.
This was a fun read.
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