Here’s what I imagined happened during my time in Soul School. That’s where we go to prepare for life on earth before we are born.
I got distracted. I was reading or watching Bugs Bunny or playing with my Barbies or the "Doll House People" (I believe Fisher Price calls them "Little People"), but somehow I got distracted and lost track of time. Next thing I know I’m impatiently standing at the end of a very long line hoping to still get something good. Finally it’s my turn at the window.
“Next!’ he yells and I leap forward and smile. I’m on my toes, straining my little leg muscles to get my head over the countertop. My short fingers are trying not to slide off the edge.
In my best, most polite adult voice I say, “I’m here to pick up my talent, please.”
“Yeah, well this is the talent window. Whaddaya want?”
“Dancing, please.” I say.
“Sorry kid. No more dancing.”
“Yeah, dancing goes fast.”
“Hmm,” I’m disappointed but already I have my plan B in my mind.
“Well, music then.”
He shakes his head. “Nope. That’s gone, too, sweetheart. Went faster than the dancing.”
“All of the instruments?”
“All gone, kid!” he leans to the side, propped up by his elbow and looks a little tired. There’s always that one kid, the one little bugger, and today it’s me.
“Let me think” I’m puffing my cheeks in and out, alternating the right one then the left blowing little puffs of air.
“C’mon kid, choose something.”
“Art!” I bounce when I say this because I’m excited at the endless creative possibilities.
He taps a few keys on the computer and exhales the longest breath I have ever heard.
“Hang on a sec” and he leaves before I can say anything and returns before I become worried. But I should be.
“No art, kid.”
“Say again, please sir?”
“I said, all the art’s gone. Pick another talent kid and hurry it up, will ya? Line’s getting long.”
I don’t turn around to see if he’s right. I’ve pressed my forehead against the side of the cold countertop. My fingers are the only thing holding me there since my legs have gone wobbly under the strain of standing on my toes not to mention, the stress of the situation.
“But all the cool talents are gone.” I say without looking up.
“Oh that’s not true. They’re all cool if you use ‘em right. It’s all about how you work your talent.”
“I wanted something creative.” I’m crying now but my head is still down so no one can see, but I think maybe he can see.
“Creative, hunh?” he puts in a few more keystrokes.
I look up, dragging my face against the backs of my hands as I do to wipe the tears. “Mmm” I ponder.
“Writer.” He repeats. “Writin’s good.”
“No one cares if you’re a writer!” I realize that I am angry that he would suggest such a thing. It’s the least prettiest of the creative talents. Dancers twirls and form pretty lines; musicians make the sound of everything beautiful; artists capture it all and glorify it so that even when it’s wrong it’s right.
I drop down onto my heels and steel myself to walk away, talentless for my duration on the planet. He leans into me before I can get away.
“Readers care, kid.”
I do love to read, I think, and sniff. And smile.
“Okay. I’ll take writing.” I’m back on my toes watching him walk to the back and retrieve a very small pouch from one of what seems to be millions of wall file drawers.
He hands it to me with a smile and tears a small card off the side punching in a few numbers from the card it into the computer. “Don’t lose it.” He warns me.
“No sir, I will not.” I pull the pouch towards me with both hands carefully as he starts reading from the card:
“This is your gift. You must show gratitude for it. You do this by using your gift every day and to the best of your abilities. It will become a very big part of who you are and will not ever take leave of you, but cannot be all that it’s meant to be without you. You work together as one unit. Others will have similar gifts but this one is unique to who you are. You are special and so is your gift.” He smacks the card down on the table. “Do you understand?”
I nod and smile. “Yes sir.” I wish I could open it right then.
“All right sweetheart, you be careful with that thing. It’s more powerful than you know.”
“Yes sir, I will” I’m still nodding.
“Take that with you to ‘Arrivals’ and they’ll load that up for you with your other stuff before you take your journey. It’ll be with you when you arrive.”
I hurried away and thought I almost heard the person who had been behind me in line ask for music and get it without any argument. But I was so excited and moving so quickly toward my destination, I couldn’t be sure.
After a few more stops, I made my way to “Arrivals” and sat down near the entrance of the tunnel and waited to be called to go through.
And then I was born. And here I am. :-)
Still one of my most favorite Robin Thicke songs ever!
I remember singing this song in the basement with my dad when I was a kid. And I still remember every lyric by heart