Since today is my birthday, God decided to sit down with me for a little interview, you know, to clear up any confusion I may have.
Yes Larry King, that's right. I landed God first.
I should probably also tell you that out of all the famous people I've interviewed, God was by far the coolest. He was relaxed, he joked around with my assistant and I, and you could tell his assistant was very well taken care of; The relationship was almost familial, but totally professional.
And he also brought me this birthday cake (which he baked himself, and was quite good):
Me: God, thanks for sitting down with me. This really is a pleasant surprise.
GOD: No problem Spencer. I loved your book.
Me: Oh, wow. Thanks. Too bad we couldn't get you to do a blurb. (God & I exchange friendly laughter)
GOD: And happy birthday, too. It's pretty awesome that your birthday is on the same day as Dr. Seuss's, don't you think?
Me: Yeah, thanks. Yeah, it's really cool to share a birthday with Dr. Seuss. I love him. I read his books to my kids all the time. 'Oh, The Places You'll Go' was one of the most formative books in my life.
GOD: Green Eggs and Ham is also very important...So, I'm here to answer a question for you. That's your birthday present (that, and the cake). One question answered by God. This is a rare and important opportunity for you, and it's not an opportunity I often offer. So...what'll it be?
Me: Oh, wow. I don't know. I mean, you don't actually expect this day to come...do you have any suggestions?
GOD: Well, the 'why' questions are always popular. 'Why am I here?', 'Why is there suffering?', 'Why don't you reveal yourself to mankind?', you know, questions like that.
Me: (I furrow my brow in thought) Well, probably not. No, I don't think I'll ask those questions.
GOD: Why not?
Me: I don't see what good it would do. Not much cash value to having the answer to that.
GOD: William James and Epictetus. An interesting cocktail. So what can I do for you Spencer?
Me: Well, how about some advice? Maybe something like a reader's digest version of some good things to avoid, and some good things to get involved with. Like a list of some kind. a handful of, oh, I don't know...
Me: Exactly...oh. Ha ha. Yes, a handful of commandments or suggestions or something that are more personally tailored to me.
GOD: Okay, that's a good one. Let's see. Well, let's start with the proactive stuff, because I'm more of a 'yes we can' kind of God than people often give me credit for being. Here we go:
1. Be skeptical, not cynical. There's a difference, and it's big.
2. Don't marry yourself to your worldview.
3. Try your hardest at everything you do.
4. Be good to others, and be good to yourself.
And for the 'thou shalt not's', I'll say, stay away from drugs, religion, and credit cards, and you'll be in a good place.
Me: Those things all sound easy enough to do.
GOD: Maybe harder than you think.
Me: Stay away from drugs, religion, and credit cards? Isn't that a little extreme?
GOD: Well Spencer, you wanted them personalized. Sure, it's possible for a person to engage in any of those activities responsibly, but it's also necessary to 'know thyself'. And I know you. You have poor impulse control. It would make things alot easier for you to just steer clear.
Me: Okay. I can see that.
GOD: And don't forget the proactive stuff either. People are always worrying about the things I tell them not to do, and not thinking enough about the things I tell them they should do. It's relatively easy to not do things, and it's even easier to tell other people not to do things. Doing things, now, that takes something else.
Me: It's surprising that you told me to stay away from religion.
GOD: (sighs in a way that is both frustrated and loving) Well, you shouldn't be surprised, because I'm not really God. I'm just a vehicle you created to validate your own worldview and philosophy. People have been using me for that purpose since the beginning of time.
Me: Right. Well God, thanks for answering my question.
GOD: Happy birthday Spencer. I'll tell Dr. Seuss you said 'hello'.
God exits in a whirlwind. Our assistants exchange phone numbers. I think they're going to get together sometime to play racquetball.