There you are: living it large, high strutting your way through the ‘also-ran’s’, knocking it out of the park, devouring the future, ruling the universe; grinning with abandon, ready to shape the day, bend it to your will and make it happen when you hear a soft knock at the door. You pay no attention. Who needs a cheap good’s salesmen at this time of the morning, but the knocking will not cease.
Finally you open the door to see a tallish man dressed in clothes which are embellished with the odd stain and seem out of fashion and whose pallor is slightly greyer than normal. The man speaks, “I’m sorry to bother you this early in your life, but that silly pain in the small of your back is actually cancer and you will be dead in three months.”. “Well three months and two days to be pedantic” “I’m Dr Death by the way. I regret to say I have no business cards”
Ok, Who is this clown. Someone’s having a laugh but the gentleman does not seem to be unduly humorous. “What’s it to do with you” Nothing really” agrees Dr Death “But I just thought I might, in your parlance, tip you the wink, give you the inside track, shorten the odds, say it how you will. Suggest without, I hope, being unnecessarily forward that foisting full-blown arrogance on those around you with a whiff of cruelty doesn’t really cut it upstairs and if you don’t curb it, even at this late stage, eternity is a long time to master the art of peeling potatoes.” “Peeling potatoes”, what the hell are you on about now.” “Hell actually”, says Dr Death, “The place where boredom is unrelenting. You might not enjoy it: never mind the heat. Apparently that’s insufferable.”
Irritated beyond measure you slam the door on him and his dribbling insights and walk back towards your chair. That strange stabbing pain starts up just above the small of your back and seems more unsettling than normal. “I’d better get that checked ” you say
Dr Death moves onto his next appointment at a hospital where a man in his late eighties is finishing his breakfast and waiting for his family to visit. Now things are slightly different. Dr Death smiles warmly at the gentleman who doesn’t seem alarmed to see him. Standing by the bed he says to him, “You’ve got some treats in store”, I’ve just been chatting with the people upstairs and it seems you’ve accumulated a good degree of capital. Heaven is your Palais de Delite”. It’s going to be quite enjoyable.” I don’t want to raise your expectations unnecessarily but climate control is standard and non fattening chocolate is available in every room. The old man turns and smiles at Dr Death, unfazed by his presence and the odd turn of phrase. A weakness Dr Death has developed through delivering the same message repeatedly since the dawn of awareness. Luckily, Heaven is more accepting of foibles : perfectionism is an obsession confined to the living. “That’s good to know, and will Maggie be there” asks the old man. “Oh yes” says Dr Death. “She’s there waiting for you and looking somewhat younger. It’s the fashion in paradise”, “Mind you she’ll still scold you quite a lot. It’s what she enjoys”. They both smile. The old man has loved her all his life.
So it seems to be. We can act pretty much as we like, and Mr Consequence might be a patient fellow but will he make himself visible to you ? It’s what we’ve always feared and wish we could forget.