Feb 27 2010
[It's Saturday. To hell with science and skepticism.
I'm in a different sort of mood. And so this . . . .]
Perhaps a half-dozen times in my life I have pondered the question, “If, after I die, I could come back as any type of animal, what would I be?”
My answers have included “eagle” and “dolphin.” Funny, I never considered “centipede.” During my speed-obsessed boyhood years I may have responded “cheetah.”
It has recently dawned on me that underlying the question is a sort of global recycling notion. You spend your days in one shape and then, presto, are re-formed into another. Is Hinduism thus “the greener religion?”
There is some truth to the reincarnation-as-global-recycling idea. All large mammals such as ourselves, however, go through the crucial step of becoming microbes and worms in our first turnaround before we eventually wind up as grass then rabbits then coyotes.
Today, as I think about what I’d like to come back as, I know I wouldn’t want to be an eagle. Though flying would be a thrill, I wonder if birds find it thrilling or merely a way of getting from here to there.
Flying aside, I’m afraid I would miss having hands. What if I got the urge to read a book? Just opening it would be a difficult task with a forearm that terminates in feathers.
Furthermore, the thought of cold carrion for breakfast or fish guts for lunch doesn’t do much for my present set of taste-buds.
Then there’s the problem of celebrity. The eagle is virtual royalty in the animal kingdom. I’d hate being pursued far and wide by the National Geographic paparazzi.
In my next life I also wouldn’t want to come back as a dolphin.