But all I kept thinking the entire time was: How much would it suck to be a ghost?
If we take what paranormal investigators tell us at face value, what the hell kind of afterlife is that? Haunting attics, basements, ranch-style houses in some mid-century built suburban neighborhood; waiting to scare housewives, teenage kids, the odd paranormal investigator, and the family dog; never leaving and never knowing a world beyond that tiny little place you're haunting. That would suck beyond as yet unknown ways to suck. Especially the haunting attics and basements part. Who even likes hanging out in the attic or the basement while they're alive? I go down into my work's basement every day to do laundry. I don't relish the time down there. It's musty and dank and dark and smells of mold.
And what of all those electronic voice phenomenon messages that people keep popping up with? They seem full of people making angry requests for others to leave said locations, confusion, and plaintive cries for help. What's happening to them that it seems they're living in a half-aware, half-alive, drugged up, stagnated nightmare?
And how about all those psychics who claim to contact the dead? Is that all the dead do? Hang around, waiting to reveal the location of some old safe deposit box? And if they're supposedly so happy in the afterlife (as some of these psychics claim), why the hell are they sitting around waiting for a call from their relatives? That's what the elderly do when stuck in nursing homes. It would seem that the afterlife brings no reprieve from this lonesome situation.
If it turns out that I get an afterlife, I'd do anything but the above. First off, I'd express my surprise in there being an afterlife since the very concept goes against everything we know about physics. But then, I'd travel. I'd see the world. All the places I'd never gotten to see in life, I'd go and be pleased as punch that I could finally see all these places and, just as good, not have to pay thousands and thousands of dollars to do it.
But I wouldn't stop there. Oh, no. I'd travel the solar system, the galaxy, the entire universe. No longer encumbered by Einstein's theory of relativity, I could see the edge of the universe itself. I could fly into black holes, dance in the burning heart of a supernova, fly through cosmic dust clouds to watch the births of stars. All of this and I could eat a spiritual double cheeseburger at the same time and not worry about gaining a pound.
But that's not even the end of it. I'd shrink myself down to the size of an atom. I'd see for myself the particles that make up the very fabric of the universe. I'd sit on an atom as it is slammed back and forth through the heart of the sun. I'd watch nitrogen and oxygen combine high up in the earth's atmosphere. I'd shrink down so much I could dance on a quark the size of five ballrooms.
These things comprise just the tip of the iceberg of what I'd do if I got to have an afterlife.
I sure as shit wouldn't play "Scare the Homeowners By Turning On the Bathroom Faucets in the Middle of the Night" every night for eternity...or until whatever property I'm currently haunting gets torn down to make way for a Krispy Kreme.
No, I don't believe in ghosts or an afterlife. I think we are our brains. And I honestly do believe that, as per Occam's Razor, the strange shit that people sometimes see or record most likely has a rational and natural explanation. But if there is an afterlife that is entirely composed of hanging out in abandoned lighthouses and waking up little kids in the middle of the night to piss off their parents, hell, I think I'd prefer not to have an afterlife at all.
However, if that whole afterlife that I said I'd want is offered to me, well, when you die you can find me sitting in a tree during the Devonian period, watching our ancestors take their first, tentative steps onto dry land.
This meandering ramble is made possible by extreme exhaustion and the lack of the letters R, E, and M.