“Who would you like to be?” the Angel of God asked. She flipped through the bubble gum cards of available identities. “I’ve got Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonas Salk, Fred Fricklenitz, Donald Trump, Donald Duck, Buck Rogers, Kenny Rogers, Roy Rogers, Rogers Hornsby, Father Mike O’Reilly, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Bailey, George Bailey, Prince William, Prince Albert, Prince, or a dachshund that I prognosticate will have a life filled with doggie treats.” Her radiance made it difficult to see the photos on the cards. “Oh, wait a minute, there’s another card stuck to the back of the dachshund card. Ah – it’s Joe Potts.”
“Ooooooo – that Joe Potts guy sounds pretty interesting. Yeah, I’ll be him.”
“That’s funny – most people pick Fred Fricklenitz.”
Actually, I’m almost 100% sure that’s not how I came to be me. But I can’t say for sure, because I don’t think I’d remember such an exposition. My arthritic brain can barely remember why I walked into the kitchen, and as the calendar pages are now flipping over so quickly that there’s a stiff breeze in my face, well…
If the Angel came to us, and offered a mulligan on our lives, a chance to be someone else, would we take her up on it? If we could trade places with anyone we could think of, would we? If so, who would it be?
Human nature likes to take the positives for granted and see mainly the negatives, so it might be tempting. I know my life at times seems emblematic of the classic wasted life – wasted time, wasted chances, wasted Tuesday afternoons. Overall, however, I’m pretty accustomed to being me. I don’t know if I’d know how to be someone else. Besides, as Richard Cory proved, we know not what others are paddling upstream against.
We must also consider the person who would be forced to become us. Guilt might haunt us to our grave as we pitied the poor sap left standing when the music stopped. What if it was Leo? He wouldn’t be the king of the world any more, and who could live with that?
So thank you, dear Angel of God, but I think I’ll stand pat. I’ll play this hand. After all, you’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em. I’ve had a pretty wonderful life. Hey, wait a minute – maybe I should have picked that George Bailey fellow.