Unclassified Info: Recovering from the Rapture

Say what you want about the Rapture that never was. For me, it was comedic gold.

Even though Glendale didn’t come to its judgmental end at the hands of a vengeful God, you have to admit that for a few days anyway, it gave us all something to talk, think and joke about.

As for me, I used the threat of Rapture as my own personal punch line to almost every situation last week. I did my best Henny Youngman via Facebook, asking God the destroyer to, “Take my ex-wife. Please. And leave me here.”

I put out feelers for a proofreader with the only qualifications being, “You must be a proofreader and not have plans on ascending to heaven anytime soon.” By the way, the proofreader job is real so hit me up if you are still on this Earth.

I promised to do a little personal grooming in preparation of my ultimate judgment. And I promised friends that as a sign of my devotion, I would jump the Grand Canyon on my motorcycle if God did decide to make an appearance.

From the looks of it, I wasn’t the only one whooping it up and having fun up to the alleged very end. There were Internet pages inviting sinners to Rapture parties and organized looting. Even businesses had fun. I was in Whole Foods buying my usual morning coffee and three small cookies when a cashier asked why I wasn’t indulging in even more sweets.

“Might as well live it up; we’ll only be here a few more hours,” he said.

I told him it would be just my luck that I would get cast into hell for giving in to his last temptation of the macaroon.

“You were close, kid. Real close,” God would whisper. “But up here we have this stigma against gluttony, and that fourth biscotti was very piggish, so we are going to pass on your soul. Have a nice eternity.”

OK. It’s obvious those of us who weren’t buying into the Rapture thing had a good time. And I have to admit I felt no real pity for anyone who ran up their credit cards, sold their property and wagered everything on the misguided prediction of a zealot.

That said, was there anything to learn from God’s most recent no-show? I think there was.

Jokes aside, I spent this weekend looking at life as though it might be the last time I was able to enjoy it. I found immense pleasure in the things I usually take for granted as always being readily available. In other words, the prospect of having everything taken away suddenly made it all that much better.

My sandwich from Mario’s was the best ever. As I sat in the deli, more cognizant of the piped-in Italian music and smell of salami in the air, I truly relished every bite.

My motorcycle ride through the Angeles National Forest up to Newcomb’s Ranch on Saturday was magnificent. The first part of the ride filled my nostrils with the sweet scent of wildflowers, while the second half gave me the opportunity to see how life was beginning to renewing itself amid the devastation left behind by the Station fire.

For those who haven’t ventured up there in a while, I highly recommend it. Seeing the beauty of our local mountains with a sense of its impermanence made me wonder why anyone would follow a religion that wraps itself around the destruction of our beautiful planet at the hands of a superior being? There’s a serious flaw in that kind of worship.

And on Sunday, I sat at the local farmer’s market in Montrose and took a more considerate note of my fellow Glendalians as they went about their usual Sunday business.

There was the father pushing his daughter in the stroller, unaware of the cheese-puff trail she was leaving behind. I saw a young couple sharing an apple. The young, the old, the hip and the square were all together — coexisting happily and without the worry that some higher form was going to wipe us all from existence.

As for me, I took a bite of my first peach of the season. Was it the best I ever had? Not exactly. But on the upside, there’s always tomorrow.

GARY HUERTA is a Glendale resident and author. He is currently working on his second novel and the second half of his life. Gary may be reached at gh@garyhuerta.com.

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