Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Former Life

If you, like me, have a profile on Facebook, then you almost certainly fall into one of two categories. (At this juncture I fell compelled to point out that one of my oldest friends says that there are two kinds of people in the world...people who put people into categories and people who don't. She accuses me of being one of the ones who does.  I think it's her).

As I was saying, if you have a profile on Facebook, you probably either A) have a quadrazillion people signed up as "friends," many of whom you have actually never met, but now know better than you should because you get posts every two minutes about what they are thinking, where they are going, who they are fans of, what dental floss they are using, and when they had their last colonoscopy (sometimes complete with photos), or you B) have a couple of friends who are nice enough to let you link with their Facebook site, but none of you can really think of anything meaningful to say to one another since when you do, you actually pick up the phone and call. If you are the first sort of person, then you don't mind all the dings, pokes, snowballs, gifts, cards, plants, games and quizzes sent your way, and you may even have put your mobile device on vibration mode just to make each and every contact that much more fun. If you are the latter, you actually can't stand all the noise and have been contemplating removing your profile from the site, particularly this last week after Facebook declared that they had the right to use your face, your profile, your blog, your poems, your posts and your creative genius for any purpose whatsoever without notifying you or getting your permission before hand, even if you have already pulled your profile from their site.

I clearly fall into the latter group. I have been thinking about leaving Facebook since.....well actually since about 5 minutes after I joined, when I received my first "dental floss" update. But just when I decide I'm going to do it, somebody I haven't heard from in 35 years and thought was dead asks to be friends, or someone sends me something interesting and irresistible. Yesterday, just as I was about to hit the "delete" button, my friend Z floated in on the ether from somewhere in Maui and asked me who I had been in my former life.

Now I have pretty much assumed I was someone who had had waaayyyyy too much fun in my past lives, since some pretty tricky things have happened now and then in this one, probably just to even things out. Either that, or sometimes I think I might have been my favorite TV personality of all time (Lassie). So when Z asked me who I was in my former life, I had no choice but to delay hitting the "delete" button, and take the quiz to find out.

In answer to a series of probing questions, I responded that (among other things) war is tragic, life is sometimes a battle, loneliness is tolerable, I turn my cell phone off a lot (in fact, I try not to turn it on) and that when I negotiate I intend to win. Oh, and given the right circumstances or payoff, I would use my body for money or power. (My students were shocked years ago when after being asked "as The Department Ethicist," I said that it was perfectly ok for Monical Lewinski to sell nude photos of herself to a magazine, since it was not only a screamin' deal (whose going to give me a half a million dollars for my naked pictures?), but also probably the only payoff she was ever going to get in this life, because years from now, when she discovers the cure for cancer, she will still just be known as the girl who "did" President Clinton in the oval office. You really should be careful how you invest your 15 minutes of fame.)

Long story short, in my former life, it turns out that I was Queen Elizabeth I.

Surprised? I know I was at first. But after I thought about it for awhile, I realized that this actually explained several eerie similarities I had noticed over the years between the Virgin Queen and Myself. Take for instance:

1. One of us has red hair. It's actually not me, though. I've only had red hair since 1992, when I was working out some "stuff" after my first marriage ended, and I decided that all of my favorite women, including my sister-in-law, had red hair, and I wanted to have red hair, too. I don't bleed more than normal when I'm cut, and I don't need 20% more anesthetic than normal, like a real redhead. But then, nobody ever discussed "Bessie's" bleeding tendencies, and when she was alive, anesthesia had not been invented yet.

2. Neither of us is a virgin. Oh, come on. This is a surprise? I've been married twice, and Elizabeth was pretty, smart, accomplished, queen of all she surveyed, and nobody's fool. So you didn't really think she saved herself, did you? Ah, the stories I could tell you. ..that is if I could only remember my former life. As I said before, I'm pretty sure I had a good time.

4. Neither of us is Catholic. Elizabeth came pretty close, though. Her father was Catholic, that is until he wanted a divorce and couldn't get one, and Elizabeth established the Church of England, which is almost Catholic, only without a pope. I've been to Catholic mass and Anglican services--and I can't say that I can really tell the difference. The costumes, songs, and scriptures are all the same. There's incense, too. They both have the same Savior, and the same Cross, and the same Apostles. I guess some folks in Elizabeth's time found the difference worth a few beheadings, or a fun burning at the stake or two, but I personally think that if you're going to discriminate against someone, it should be over something truly meaningful, like what sex person God made them fall in love with.

5. Our fathers both liked the songs "Greensleeves." At least I assume Elizabeth's father liked it, since he wrote it. My father sang it all the time, even when it wasn't Christmas. I would have grown up believing it was an earworm, except I happen to like it, too.

Ultimately, I was so enthralled with the incredibly accurate results of my past lives quiz, I confess I logged onto Sandy's Facebook site and took it for him when he wasn't home. In answer to the same probing questions I said that war was tragic, that life is sometimes a battle, that loneliness is tolerable, that I never turn my cell phone off, and that when I negotiate I intend to win. I didn't actually know if he would use his body for money or power, but just to finish the quiz I said "possibly." Small things, it seems, can make big differences.

Turns out he was Ghandi.

 Go figure.

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