Last week, while taking a stroll down Memory Lane, a friend reminded me of a running joke from our old Superman comic books. Every few issues, Superman would visit "Bizarro World," a planet just like ours on the opposite side of the sun. We could never see it, so no one knew it existed.
In "Bizarro World," people did everything exactly backward from the way we do things on Earth. People there would go to baseball games on sunny days, for example, and hope for rain. Baseball players only played in the rain.
In Bizarro World, cats chased dogs, mice ate cats and the night watchmen showed up for work each day at 6 a.m. sharp.
My friend and I had a good laugh remembering the Bizarros.
Only afterward did I realize I actually believed in such a place.
I believed in a place where the first is last and the last is first; a place where gold is worthless and fame meaningless; a place where giving things away is what makes you rich.
I believed in heaven.
People have heard so many jokes about St. Peter and heaven, they've come to believe that heaven is a "gated community"— a place where the elite live apart and where every home is a mansion.
I think heaven is a community, too. But I see it as a rather "bizarre" community.
In heaven, for instance, I think people will scramble to own the smallest house, not the largest. I think they will try to have the tiniest bank account and wear the least expensive clothes.
I think they will go out on the town, order an elaborate dinner, then give it away.
In heaven, in fact, some of our cherished expressions will get turned on their heads. The impossible will be commonplace.
On Earth, for instance, we say, "You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear."
In heaven, there will be little shops specializing in such purses.
On Earth we say, "You can't get blood from a turnip."
In heaven, that's exactly where it will be found.
On Earth we say, "You can't go home again."
In heaven, we'll never need to leave.
My mother once said in heaven, the weeds are called flowers.
I think she caught the spirit of the thing.
I also think fleas and lice will be our close companions.
Of course, if you think such ideas sound outlandish, just think of the place where we live now.
Here, hungry people are the ones forced to go without food.
Here, the lonelier a person is, the fewer visitors he gets; here, the older and wiser a person gets, the less useful he becomes.
Compared to such things, my heaven of silk purses looks pretty sane.
As for Superman and "Bizarro World," we kids did love those issues. We knew such a place could never exist, of course. We dismissed it in a heartbeat.
In fact, if one of my friends had believed in a place where everything was exactly the opposite of the way it is here, we would have laughed him out of the neighborhood.
He would have seemed, well, from some other world.