by Andy Hares

Saint Imulus is positive

Saint Peter has been so busy recently that I’ve been rostered to provide him some additional assistance on Pearly Gates duty. It sure makes a change from my current day job, overseeing gold supplies for street maintenance.

I’ve made a range of observations on the recent arrivals in this heavenly realm of Saints, and record them for you in no particular numerical order (we’re beyond numbering here):

  • While many made the journey on account of the usual and fairly common “natural causes,” the journey-beyond experiences of many others were expedited by COVID-19—a term newly added to the Eternal Lexicon.
  • An early and unusually disproportionate number of Giovannis and Marias turned up in rapid succession—from Italy where they had done their three score years and ten (and a bit).
  • One new arrivée, bearing the relatively uncommon saintly name of Saint Sharon, attempted a practice not seen here in an eternity—sneezing. She was never able to complete the act, ignorant of the fact that sneezing is just something that doesn’t happen here (under our Health and Safety Regulations). Anyhow, Saint Sharon (Saint Shazza to her friends), follows a fascinating procedure whereby the sneeze that she isn’t about to do is directed into her elbow, quite close to her wing-hinge. It’s fun to watch, but embarrassing for poor old (well, young, in eternal terms) Saint Shazza when her effort comes to nothing. Not a sound, not a droplet. She’ll learn.
  • A few were known as anti-vaxxers in their lifetimes. They turn up here fairly self-righteously, believing they were right all along. We have placed them in compulsory quarantine for, well, around a couple of millennia. That will teach them to be so smug.
  • Some others have been exercising practices they call self-isolating, physical and social distancing, remaining in their bubbles, and so on. The Desert Fathers (and of course Mothers, in these enlightened times) raise their eyebrows: they were doing it long before it became fashionable.
  • Saint [name withheld] of Eketahuna is one of the extreme self-isolaters. Known in her lifetime as a recluse, even contemplating her navel would have been going too far.
  • One guy during his transition from time to eternity was seen pushing a large trolley piled high with toilet paper. I told him he should have gone down there while he had the chance. We just don’t do that sort of thing here.
  • A man called Boris in the Pearly Gates’ waiting room created a bit of a stir, clearly he wasn’t quite ready for processing. After he had passed on the greetings from Jenny (Invercargill) and Luis (Portugal), we sent him back where he came from, telling him to get back to work.
  • Several discovered that they had come to the end of something they call Netflix, and realised then that their lives were over. They’re working in our new popcorn division.
  • A charming old chap, came from a place he called Northland. I thought he’d come from a rest home, but he assured us he’d been out fishing.
  • Saint Bruce, who used to work in the hospitality trade, believed this place to be BYO, and thoughtfully arrived here with a case of Corona.
  • Not-yet-saint Ingrid arrived solo from Sweden. Noting that she felt lonely, I sent her back to get some mates. She was back in double-quick time, with a large crowd of them. What a saint!
  • Saint Tony was one of the first to come here from Australia in the recent wave, telling us he was here because of COVID-19. In his (former) home, the first responders found 500 assorted cans of food, 100 kilos of flour, 400 toilet rolls, 10 cartons of soap and 100 litres of hand sanitiser—all stockpiled before lockdown. Sadly the whole lot collapsed and buried him. Welcome Tony to the hereafter, but there was no need to rush like that.
  • Numbers of those formerly known as mortals were partial, in their latter days, to pondering their futures, and even more so, their eternal and infinite futures. Those who show up here as negative have been feeling quite positive (whether relentlessly or otherwise), while those diagnosed as positive, definitely had strong feelings of negativity. I’m quite sure on that, in fact I’m positive.
  • James and John have been doing a great job on the evening beachside welcome barbecue with freshly caught fish (using a popular recipe from Guess Who), and offered up with a popular Mexican beverage.

The significant influx of newly minted saints, of course, has consequences. Our town planning department understandably endeavours to have the requisite supply of the many mansions promised by the Boss’s Son (according to Saint John from the Book of the Same Name). Accordingly, their research division looked back in the Annals of Time, located in the library just before the entrance to Eternity. They were keen to ascertain the likely outcome of COVID-19, and so took great pains to understand Mr-19’s older siblings (COVID numbers 1-18). Nothing. Just NOTHING. Their histories had remarkably amazingly disappeared in the mists of … well whatever mists of things disappear into.

In a recent Zoom-free (for which we are eternally grateful) meeting, I said that this influx is unprecedented, but I was rebuked because that particular word was pensioned off last month due to its weakened state through overuse. We now use the term “unanticipateable—a word created by Saint Paul, the guy who tells me daily all the things of which he will not boast, and whose ability with words was recently recognised with the award of an honorary Doctorate of Letters. About time, he said.

What of the future? Jeremy the Prophet (Matt 2:17, 27:9 KJV), who tends not to use his saintly title, is prophesying a flattening of the current curve. Saint Thomas doubts it. Saint Leonard the Singer, simply says, HALLELUJAH! (Now isn’t that SO positive…)