Life Lessons
by Anitra L. Freeman


      Angel-Like Being: "Allright dear, before we can decide your next State of Existence, we have to see if you have completed your Life Lessons. Let's see what you were down for this round ... Ah, yes.
     "Question One: What don't you do to Aunt Mabel's little dog Corky?"
     Departed Being holds out astral hands that still show little white scars. "When you give a cookie away, you don't try to take it back again."
     ALB pens a large glowing check in the "Passed" column. "Very good. Now, this time did you get the lesson about the braids of the girl sitting in front of you in third grade?"
     DB glows with pride. "I tied them to the base of my inkwell with a half-hitch!"
     ALB rolls eyes upward and makes a large black check under "Repeat," then pauses over the "Suggested Scenarios" entry. "And just how would you feel if somebody did that to you?" ALB asks, considering the possibilities of a Cross-Situational Role.
     "Johnny did do it to me," DB says, "but I remembered the bit about 'Treat other people better than you have been treated.'" DB sniffs. "Johnny used a plain knot on my braids."
     ALB stares thoughtfully at DB for a few beats, then writes "The girl in front should be big, fast, and without humor."
     "I see that you made it past age 13 this time. Does that mean that you got the lesson about not eating out of cans with puffed-up lids?"
     "Is that the lesson I was supposed to get? I thought the lesson was 'If you can't find a can-opener and you try to use an axe instead you'll just get tomato soup all over the back porch and have to spend an hour cleaning before Mom gets home."
     ALB checks "Repeat" and notes under "Suggestions," "With a can-opener, Lachesis, you Idiot."
     "You made it through the rest of your teens, too. Very good. So, what are you supposed to do with glue?"
     DB takes a deep breath and chants, "Glue is for bonding, and not for breathing" -- then glows with a delighted grin and says, "Do you know, you can only glue a gerbil to the ceiling once, but if you're careful you can glue a guinea-pig to the ceiling lots of times before he runs out of hair!"
     Without hesitation ALB checks "Passed" -- then skips to the end of the form and makes a note under "Additional Lessons."

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