A Couch Potato’s Paradise
by Patricia Backora, author of the book
Tough Love in Christ’s Millennium
Which you can order online from: http://www.publishamerica.com
“Chuck, please! Get up, go put your suit and tie on now, or we’ll be late for church!” cried Edna, swatting her loafing hubby with the TV Guide.
Her husband groaned as he struggled to sit up on the couch. What a mismatched couple this was. Here was a big, easy-going, laid back lug married to a skinny control freak running around like a chicken with her head cut off.
“Here, I’ll put in on for you, you’re slow as Christmas!” she breathed, wrapping his blue polka-dot tie around Chuck’s thick neck.
“Hey, slow down, woman,” he drawled, “you’ll choke the life out of me!”
With a heavy sigh all 290 pounds of him struggled to his feet. Edna was really nagging him now. “Just look how long it took you to get up off that couch! You better lay off those peanuts and pizzas, or I’ll be a widow before you know it!”
“Well, at least I’ll die happy,” he said sarcastically. “No more of you naggin’ me to go on a diet no more.”
“Maybe you won’t have to worry about that there,” Enda told him, helping him squeeze into his suit jacket. “No Corn Curls or Mars Bars in heaven.”
“Now what kinda heaven would that be!” Chuck teased.
“All I know is you’re one of the few people who would dare show up at church with dragon breath! Who in their right mind drinks beer in the morning!”
“So shoot me for being a non-conformist!” Chuck retorted. “I can’t stand bacon and eggs this early in the morning, and your oatmeal tastes like mortar mix. Beer soothes my stomach!”
“And makes it fatter too!” Edna snapped in her self-righteous way. Ever since you retired, Chuck, all you’ve done is lay on your back all day and watch football. You’re turning that couch into your coffin, and what’s more, you’re digging your grave with your own teeth!” Disgusted, she yanked a half-eaten Twinkie off the couch cushion.
“Hey,” Chuck cried, “that’s my breakfast!”
“You just be sure and chew this before we go in the door so no one suspects you’ve been guzzling alcohol!” she snapped, giving him a pack of breath mints.
So guess what Pastor Edwards selected as his sermon topic that morning. Something other than his usual pick of prosperity topics, but heaven was a favorite subject too...though only morbid people would be in any particular hurry to get there when there was so much money to be won in this world. But the happier Pastor Edwards kept his congregation, the more liberal they would be in their giving.
Chuck and Edna sat in the last row of pews. Late again! How many beers had Chuck chugged down? Four? Five? Look at the big chump, she thought. Already slumping in his seat, as if the soloist had sung him a lullabye. Edna would only draw unwanted stares if she jabbed Chuck in the ribs to get him to sit up straighter. So she just sat there seething under her breath.
Chuck’s head bobbed and his eyelids fluttered. How soothing Pastor Edwards’ cultured voice was as it described the delights of heaven. How soft the colors and shapes were to Chuck’s bedazzled eyes. The kaleidoscopic swirls on the stained glass windows, the beautiful blur of flowers adorning the speakers’ platform. His breathing deepened. He felt as floaty as a cloud.
“Pure gold awaits us in heaven,” Pastor Edwards declared, “and the streets are paved with it.”
Chuck was worried by now because he could see those gold bars in the street. If he was in heaven he must be dead, but if he was he might as well make the most of it. Gleefully he picked one up. As he fondled it gold foil rubbed off. He found a Swiss chocolate bar inside and gobbled it down.
Other words filtered into Chuck’s pickled brain...mansion...bright beautiful rainbows...Oh boy, Chuck thought, there’s my mansion, just what I wanted! He saw a fun-looking building with a kiddie slide, a drive-through window and golden arches. Where was the clown?
I get to be the clown, he thought, and nobody to nag me about it. Chuck ran into the recreation area and jumped around on the kiddie amusements, then he went up to an automated machine, where he ordered a bagful of goodies, dispensed free of charge. After he’d eaten his fill and wanted to be alone watching TV, the fast food decor changed to a cozy living room lined with plush carpeting and overstuffed furniture.
Manna everywhere...the words came....sweet, delightsome to the tongue. Chuck found himself in a cushy armchair. Some automaton was dispensing candy popcorn into his mouth. Another robotic servant brought him a beer.
...visions of bliss...Chuck heard. Before him was the widest video screen in the universe and today the Heavenly Hosts were playing football at Jubilee Stadium against the Heavenly Haloes.
....write your own ticket of blessing...Chuck heard from afar. “I want three cheeseburgers with the works,” he said to a robot writing on an order pad. “Fries, too!”
Angels everywhere...a faraway voice droned. So sweet, so beautiful...Chuck saw the lightest, fluffiest angel food cake, and it was placed tenderly in his mouth by a mechanized arm. It was better than his Aunt Martha’s. He sighed in bliss.
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst, his pastor’s voice soothed from afar. For they shall be fed. Along came root beer and pizza. Such sublime bliss! What better heaven could a self-obsessed soul wish for? Chuck didn’t see any of the great saints of the Bible around, and no other saints but himself for that matter, but what did he care? All his needs were being met. He had his junk food, his futuristic entertainment system, his whirlpool, anything he craved to keep him contented. And best of all, no one around to nag him about being a lazy couch potato.
....the loveliest music everywhere...came a well-cultured voice. Chuck flicked his remote for a replay of his favorite Elvis hits.
....the sweetest fruits of Paradise...came the voice. Chuck jumped up and down, hollering. Three cherries in a row on the slot machine, and gold chocolate coins came showering out.
....blessings measured out to you....your burdens lifted...came the voice through Chuck’s blissful fog. He had been lounging in his soft furniture a week and eating the fat of the land. Time to get up and measure his weight again. Oh, glory! he thought. He’d already lost 50 more pounds! He could eat his cake and have his perfect bod too! He couldn’t wait till Edna came up here. He sure would show her!
“Chuck!” a sharp voice pierced through his dream paradise. “Wake up! Pastor just preached the best sermon on heaven, and you missed every word of it!”
“No I didn’t!” he mumbled, still groggy. “I heard the whole thing, and I bet I got a lot more out of it than you did.”
* * * * *
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