It’s a question that has plagued far greater thinkers than I, and driven men to the ends of the earth in search of the answer, I’m sure: what’s God like? Well, it’s obvious God must be a guy, otherwise men would have to suffer through childbirth and buy $40 bras, and women’s underwear would come in a three pack for six bucks, but that’s beside the point. What’s He really like? Is He all fire and brimstone like the Old Testament makes Him out to be, or the gentle father figure the New Testament suggests? Well, I don’t know, and I’m not going to pretend to. What I do know is that I’m pretty sure I had little run-in with The Big Guy a few years back that made me a fan of His for life.
It was the spring of my senior year in college. Thanks to perfectly executed scheduling over the years, my last quarter was going to be a cakewalk; a couple freshman courses, my senior presentation, and my favorite class of all time… springboard diving! Don’t laugh, I’m not kidding. Debbie Nethery’s 9 a.m. springboard diving class epitomized everything you want in a college course but rarely found. Unlike my "real" professors, Debbie actually cared if I learned, and would push me to do so every day. After my fifth and final class (yep, took it EVERY spring), she had me working on a 1 1/2 with a full twist and a pike 2 1/2 off the low board… and secretly wondering if I had missed my true calling. I always looked forward to her instruction. The rest of my classes that quarter? Well… not so much.
As I stepped out of the pool locker room that sunny morning, one thing was abundantly clear: I would not be attending any more classes that day. My afternoon would not be spent sleeping through lectures on the microevolution of monkeys or economic formulas, thank you very much. No, the only lessons scheduled for that day would be taught by my best friend Mark and me, as we schooled people in two-on-two beach volleyball at People’s Pond. Besides, it’s not like I was going to start working on my senior presentation until two weeks before the end of the quarter anyhow. (Don’t worry Mom, I still got a 4.0 that quarter)
With my schedule magically cleared, I headed home on my skateboard to grab a bite to eat and wait for Mark to get out of class. At around 11 a.m., I tossed in Caddyshack, and started cooking my favorite pregame meal… SpaghettiOs with Meatballs. Oh yeah. Breakfast of Champions. As it warmed, I poured myself a tall glass of milk and skipped to my favorite scene on the DVD; the Dalai Lama monologue. Big hitter, the Lama. I must have been a little too excited about the potentially great day I had ahead of me, because on the way to the couch with my bowl of processed perfection and drink, I blurted out, "Man, this is the life." Yep. Out loud. With no one else in the room. Everyone? In unison… JACKASS.
The instant the last syllable rolled off my tongue, time went into slow motion. I felt my foot catch on something next to the couch, and I lost my balance. I fell straight towards one of my bar stools and caught my forearms perfectly on the seat, not spilling a drop… well, for a second. My weight shifted, and I fell backwards towards the floor. My food erupted from their respective containers on impact, spraying pseudo-noodles and milk all over my walls, ceiling and entertainment center. Fortunately, I blocked a good percentage of the mess… with my face. Wiping chunks of quasi-meatballs from my eyes, I surveyed the damage in utter disbelief. Not only was my gourmet meal ruined in an instant, I had no witnesses to point at me and laugh like I deserved. Or so I thought until I noticed what had caused my fall. My bookbag. I couldn’t help but laugh. Someone WAS watching indeed.
All I could picture was God doubled over His throne, laughing hysterically at his handiwork. I mean, seriously, what better way to punk a guy for saying something so outlandishly stupid than tripping him with books from the very classes he was skipping when he made it? Sheer genius, I love it. Some may call that karma, I say it’s God’s smart-ass sense of humor and impeccable timing. To this day, I can almost hear Him calling Gabriel and St. Peter over, saying, "Check this out! This moron is cutting class, and listen to what he says. Wait for it… wait for it… listen… now the bookbag… and… Uh-oh, SpaghettiOs!!!"
Touché, Big Fella. You are definitely my kinda guy.