Sometimes I can't resist getting into the act. I see an advice column in my morning newspaper—for the Internet generation, be advised that a “newspaper” is a sheaf of large sheets of paper with printed news on them—and I want to rewrite the responses. Yesterday's Dear Abby is a case in point:
Woman Fears Being Watched by Ghosts of her Loved OnesNow doesn't that set your mind at ease? Abby sure is an expert on souls and what happens after you die. The afterlife will have too many distractions to make it likely that your dearly departed will hang around and watch you as you rut like bonobos with your love interest, or go to the bathroom, or pick your nose, or vote Republican. They won't spy on such shameful behaviors.
Please don't laugh, but it gives me the creeps. I don't want to think my mother-in-law will watch me making love with my husband, that my father will watch me in the bathroom, or that my mother will be critical of my spending more time with my kids than cleaning the house as she did.
Am I crazy to think I might not have any privacy after my loved ones die? — Spooked in Spokane
Dear Spooked: Calm down. The departed sometimes “visit” those with whom their souls were intertwined, but usually it's to offer strength, solace and reassurance during difficult times. If your mother-in-law's spirit visits you while you're intimate with her son, it will be only to wish you and her son many more years of closeness and happiness in your marriage.
As to your parents, when they travel to the hereafter, I am sure they'll have more pleasant things with which to occupy their time than spying on you. So hold a good thought and quit worrying.
Good to know.
Of course, if I were to try my hand at replying to Spooked in Spokane, the response would have come out a bit different:
Dear Spooked: Calm down, Spooked. Being dead is a full-time occupation. The deceased lie mouldering in their graves, settling in their urns, blowing in the wind, or lost at sea. Whatever. Once they've passed on, they're just dead. Finished. Kaput. They lack senses and cognition and any trace of prurient curiosity. They're gone forever and can't bother you.I guess I could offer my services to Dear Abby as a ghostwriter, but I don't want to spook her.
In the meantime, you're not dead yet, so consider getting a life and outgrowing the fantasy stories of youth and religion.