Hoping the Light at the End of the Tunnel is not the Start of Something New

by on October 11, 2012 · 13 comments

in Culture, Encore, From the Soul

One day I checked into facebook and found the question:  “What if when we die the light at the end of the tunnel we see is just us being pushed out of another vagina.”

My first thought was “Oh, God, I hope not.”  I mean if I were on Let’s Make a Deal and had in my hand a certificate guaranteeing me a rebirth in a new body, I’m going with whatever is behind curtain number one. Because when I depart I will have left it all in the Milky Way just like leaving all I had on the court in my basketball days.

So, I don’t care if Wayne Brady says “Oh, Ernie, you could have had another life but you’re going home with a one day supply of Alpo!”  After jumping around like I had won the lottery I’d run off and rent a dog for a day.

One vagina exit is enough for me, thank you very much.  The mere thought of reincarnation tires me.  This time around, with all its ups and downs, has been very good to me.  Other than just trying to keep up with so much of what’s new in this noisy flashy on-line centered world, I’ve pretty much lived my bucket list with just one last wish, hopefully, to go:  live to be very old.

But I don’t want to do any of it anymore when I leave these shores.  Be a baby again?  No way.  There you are trying to sleep and you’ve got air stuck in your stomach and you scream and nobody comes fast enough.  Why?  Because they are asleep and when they wake up they come into the nursery spewing four letter words with the tongue dexterity of Notorious B.I.G.

Childhood arguments.  I definitely don’t want to go through one of those again, like the day when Eddie Mitchell hit a ball and the shortstop scooped it up and fired a perfect throw to first base.  He was out by a continent.  Hey, we practically took a potato chip and Kool-Aid break before Eddie reached the base and he’s acting like he’s safe, pointing at footprints in the ground like an archaeologist gathering evidence for a dissertation leading to a Ph.D, claiming he’s “Safe” and for the next hour we’re screaming “Out!” and “Safe!” in each other’s face.  Don’t want to do that again.

Learning to read and write and compute and spell and sweating heaven and “Hell”.  Trying to figure life out with my buddies, drinking Thunderbird and Muscatel.  Don’t want to go through any of that again as well.

And walking across the dance floor at the Junior High Hop and uttering “Would you like to dance?” to pretty Lorraine who abstains with “I’m tired,” and then watch the girl swoon when Willie Frank goes up to her, with his Billy Ekstine good looks, and just nonchalantly thrusts out his hand and she gets up and literally dances to beat the band like Reverend Oral Roberts had squeezed her head and miraculously freed her of fatigue for the rest of her life.  Why didn’t she just cut my heart out with a knife?  Don’t want to repeat a single moment of such adolescent beat downs.

Essays and mid-semester and final exams and listening to some prof who doesn’t give a damn.  No thank you, ma’am.

Starting a career all over again, going from probationary to tenured and waiting for annual raises, even though my work life was filled with praises.  Well, everyday I walk through the daisies saying “Been there. Done that.”

Then there’s the question of what will I come back as.  What if I was reborn in Tucson.  As a Latino.  Ordinarily that would be muy bueno.  But in Arizona, right now, a Chicano is mired in an ever growing status quo that’s too reminiscent of what I went through long ago, thanks to old Jim Crow.  Put up with that extremely foolish behavior in a new life?  Hell, no!

I suspect that the world I would re-enter would be filled with more deja vu than I would ever want to view.

Like, I’ve marched in many a rally for civil and human rights and for wars to end and I see myself, if I came back again, in the streets because some drone had the wrong address and blew some children away.

Like, I once went with a loved one to get an illegal abortion.  I remember the crippling fear and the dizzying shame, not to mention that it cost me just about every penny that I had to my name, and reincarnated I’d find myself at a fundraiser of some kind collecting money to protect Roe versus Wade.

Some day the environment will be more off track with glacial waters composing the waves that I try to catch; somebody will forever try to turn back time for lesbians and gays and the Tea Party will throughout eternity be talking smack; poor white people, especially the dudes of the species, will still not see how their plight is the same as people who are brown and yellow and red and black; corporations as “people” will remain as the elite, while middle class becomes an idea of a recent past, a relic of when apathy surpassed critical thinking, in fact; scriptures will be called upon to mask humanity’s lack of pity or compassion towards its very self and those who offer us hope will continue to be under attack.

I’m alive right now, however, happily dedicated everyday to making such a world better in some way.  That’s all one loving human being can do.  And when I’m done I’d like to think I’m through.  But if I see a light at the end of a tunnel and feel muscles tightening around me, like a birth is underway, I hope I get a chance to say:  “Could I just have a can of Alpo and a dog for a day and just forget this whole thing?  I just don’t want to do this again.”  For real.  But, if I don’t have a choice, I will.  With a ton of zeal.  Maybe I’ll make All-American this time.  Hmmm…

Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/ndanger/7841795/

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Ernie McCray

I was raised in a loving and alive home, in a black neighborhood filled with colorful characters in Tucson, Arizona. Such an environment gave me a hint that life has to be grabbed by the tail as tight as a pimple on a mosquito's butt. With no BS and a whole lot of love. So, from those days to now I get up every morning set on making the world a better place. On my good foot*, and I hope my writing reflects that. *an old black expression
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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Doug Porter October 11, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Amen, brother Ernie. Well said.

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avatar Ernie McCray October 12, 2012 at 11:50 am

Gracias, amigo.

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avatar JayRochlin October 13, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Thanks Ernie. I needed that.

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avatar Ernie McCray October 13, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Rest easy, my friend.

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avatar becky October 13, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Don’t worry, Ernie… I hear it gets easier and easier.. with each new life. The next one should be a breeze. ; )

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avatar Ernie McCray October 13, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Well, if I come back it better be easier.

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avatar Stan Levin October 13, 2012 at 5:38 pm

what can i say ern without offending those of your readers who remain mired in their special mythology … Y O L O ! my main man …
i will be your pal till death do us part … me first of course

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avatar Ernie McCray October 13, 2012 at 9:16 pm

I’ll happily take second (smile).

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avatar Bob "Hubba Jubba" Moss October 14, 2012 at 1:37 am

Note to the author: Ernie: … Get in touch with me through my email. I C – U – R – still up to your same creative ways of working. U – R – my hero. When I grow up; I want 2 – B – just like you!!!

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avatar Ernie McCray October 14, 2012 at 9:49 am

Watch out! You might get what you asked for.

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avatar Consuelo Manriquez October 16, 2012 at 5:32 pm

I am with you Ernie! I make every day count and choose my words wisely. As always, it is nice to see you.

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avatar Lynda Sterns October 17, 2012 at 8:58 am

Ernie, One of your best! I sent it to Joan (Michael’s sister). She has a 74th birthday coming up. You are so bright a light to me. Your friend.

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avatar Ernie McCray October 17, 2012 at 9:43 am

Feels good being a light. I hope Joanie likes the piece and is doing fine.

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