Will there be any stars in my crown, in my crown?
-Old folk hymn
No not one, no not one…
-Slightly less old folk hymn
* * * * *
Sunday School teachers say the stupidest shit sometimes.
Miss Smitchens told us that God had a wife. No further explanation was needed—little Scotty asked if God had a wife Up There, and she responded, without further extrapolation, “Yes, and her name is Heather”.
I think that was the time I saw Miss Smitchens’ slip sticking out from under her wool skirt. I knew God didn’t want me looking at the teacher’s slip, or feeling the way I felt when I saw her underwear. That wasn’t the way an eight year old was supposed to feel toward his Sunday School teacher; it was the way God was supposed to feel toward His wife.
I felt guilty…but I couldn’t stop staring.
Miss Smitchens’ favorite topic was the Afterlife. She described the glories of New Jerusalem to us, how everything was so beautiful that they could afford to pave the streets with gold and still balance the budget of municipal expenses every year.
On a different Sunday while the grown-ups were in Big People’s Church learning some virtuous lesson from the Beatitudes, Miss Smitchens explained to us kids that when we all went to Heaven, each of us would get a crown; we would have a star in that crown for every person we had converted to Christianity.
My first thought was, that’s bullshit. I didn’t have access to anything close to the sort of mass communication network that someone like Billy Graham had at their disposal. It was anything but a level playing field. Not fair.
Eventually, though, I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to get any stars in my heavenly crown. I figured I’d settle for serving coffee to the people who had stars in their crown, and I’d be OK with it. I mean, even in Heaven, someone had to wait on the people who really deserved to be there.
Besides, I figured, most of them would probably be dicks about the whole crown thing anyway, and maybe I could spit into their coffee when they weren’t looking. Someone would have to take them down a notch every now and then.