I really like the idea of reincarnation – the notion that maybe in a past life I was somehow cooler, played a minor role in history, or have always been around the same people over-and-over again (the ones I like, not those “other” ones) – that maybe my friend Jonathan was once my twin sister Helga and we merrily yodeled together in the alps while dancing our quaint dances and holding the occasional puppet show. My only problem with this idea is that it seems that everyone who believes in it, and who discusses it openly, seems to also believe that they were someone famous. This leaves me convinced that Cleopatra, bless her heart, must have become the most fractured soul in the universe. I was Cleopatra, our dog Sam was Cleopatra, the mailman… Cleopatra. In fact, I can’t throw an asp without hitting Cleopatra. This must be hell on the reincarnations of Julius Ceasar and Mark Antony. “Et tu, Cleo?” “Et tu?” “Et tu, et tu, at tu? Oh crap, I give up! Cleo, you’re like hangars and dust bunnies! I’m off to the local sports bar to find Octavius for a stiff drink. Steer clear of women throwing asps. Best of luck!”
I’ve riffed on this to friends earlier, but once upon a time I had my very own stalker. (Every girl should be so lucky!)
In college, my one and only stalker announced (right after sharing, “Beth, I know where you are every hour of every day”) that he had known me in a former life. I was fascinated – someone knew little ol’ Egypt ruling me back in the day. But no, he didn’t know me when I was the infamous Queen of Egypt. On this particular go around I had been his concubine. Mmm hmm. I apparently fought at his back. (Very common in the middle ages – sword wielding females stomping through ick and gore on the battlefield, disemboweling, decapitating and removing pinky fingers. I doubtlessly wore a leather bikini and had skin, though supple and tanned, that could deflect nastiness such as arrows, swords and maces. I was probably both exceptionally hot and tough – a lethal combination in battle. Go me!) Let’s assume, for arguments sake, that this happened on a regular basis – that women were commonly found in battle, we are still talking “me” – see, there’s an inherent flaw in this notion – were I to mosey onto a battleground, I would get dirty and I would sweat and of course, there’d be all the stomach churning gore I was wading through. I don’t like any of those things and I’m pretty sure past life me didn’t care for them either. If we took the magic bus to crazyville and could see my past lives, I’m fairly certain they involved ridiculous ways in which I died – and if we’re talking the Middle Ages – it was probably: plague, plague, plague, scarlet fever, plague, rat lovings, plague, badly abscessed tooth (when I wasn’t distracted by yodeling with Jonathan). People didn’t live all that long back in the day, so I’m sure I had at least 10-20 misspent lives in that time period alone. So, to set the record straight, I’m certain I was no one’s sword wielding concubine. (See, that can be the ugly side of being a full blown geek – all of your past life fantasies somehow resemble a Boris Vallejo oil painting. Psst geeks, Boris doesn’t typically paint historic figures.)
When I apply my reason to the whole thing, I have to face the fact that I might not have been Cleopatra (that was all of my readers) or a sword-wielding bimbo, but I’m still holding on to the dream that my name was once Heidi and I used to call to my sister Helga across the Swiss Alps while shepherding our flock of golden fleeced sheep and we once had adventures after growing this amazingly tall beanstalk… no wait, that was that other life.