Complicated Dingleberries

When you die, your shit floats behind you

I died and came back to life. So, I have some good news and some bad news about dying. The good news is you get another life once you arrive in Heaven. The bad news is all your stuff is going with you.

Even the stuff you thought you left to grandchildren, relatives, and friends when you died. If you didn’t get rid of it before then, it’s all yours for eternity.

The Gods hook your stuff to your ankles and send you on your way. It’s not heavy, but you have to keep looking at it. It’s always in your peripheral, like a big zit on the tip of your nose.

And, if you’ve got too much stuff, they make you wear a T-shirt that says, “Comes with baggage.”

So, you can fall in love again, have sex again, and even visit dead old boyfriends and girlfriends. But, your shit is hanging out behind you like a giant complicated dingleberry.

Think carefully about what you save while you’re alive. Say you keep something that reminds you of an ex. Then, you see him in heaven, and you’re dragging his framed picture behind you. Awkward. Don’t over sentimentalize breakups. They’re periods, not commas. Toss that shit out before it’s too late.

Your stuff isn’t floating behind you like a just married car tethered with cans and clanking along. It’s more like a floating gallery of your life in objects. Everything you owned when you died is wafting around you like a terrified skunk.

So, don’t sentimentalize any object unless you want to want it hanging around in the afterlife.

Appliances don’t count. Those remain dented, rusted, and temperamentally earthly. But those three vests that you bought that look exactly the same? Did you really need all three?

I have this thing about “If you like it, buy three.” It’s what my stepfather taught me when he moved in when I was a kid. He was fifty, a confirmed bachelor before he married my mom. He was the master of efficiency.

He said, “Kid. Clothes don’t need to be overly complicated. You like a shirt? It fits well? Buy it in every color. Done. Same with shoes. Same with pants.”

He, himself, had several IZODs in various colors and several pairs of khaki pants. He had two professor jackets with wool elbows. It worked great for him, but women’s clothes are more complicated than that.

Women’s clothes have an expiration date on how interesting they are to the wearer. I was always changing my one favorite item and buying it in every color.

I have multi-color collections of preppy, rockstar, maternal. There are rainbows s from every era. There are the 2001–2002s, the 2002–2003s, all the way up to 2020–2021. I got a lot of shirts in every color.

I hated wearing the “Comes with baggage shirt” when I was briefly dead. It felt punitive. I was already a goner, for god's sake. Did I really need to be rehabilitated? Stupid dicky angels.

I yelled at the angels every time one passed. “This feels more like hell or purgatory than heaven!”I screamed. They scoffed, thick-skinned and unrattled.

Finally, after the millionth time, they answered, “You probably thought heaven was all fluffy clouds and rainbow shirts in every style.” Then, they sent me back to a mall on earth.

Angels don’t have to deal with annoying dead people. They return you to your shitty planet.

Here’s the advice part. If you are a clutterer, a collector, or a hoarder on earth, the Gods aren’t done teaching you. They don’t want to reincarnate you to become a nut hoardy squirrel or rat who frequents every dumpster in the city. So, they tie your shit to you and desert you to finish their bridge game.

So, anyway, there’s good news and bad news about dying. So I say, borrow a match from the devil and burn your shit to the ground!