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Calling Dr. Stein


Geraldine Cook Davis

In the middle of a lecture on abnormal psychology, Dr. Stein grasped his  chest. His eyes looked upon the student body in a plea for help. The  students gazed at the visiting lecturer as they wondered what test he placed before them.

Questions flashed in their minds like lightning storms. Was he working  on the hypotheses that males are more cool-headed than women in dealing with a crisis? Maybe it was that people waited for a leader to act before  stepping forward. All were stymied at what major psychological theory the  Head Psychologist of We Take Fruitcakes In Any Season Hospital offered.

Meanwhile, Stein slid to the floor, gasping his one last breath on earth, while his students filed out of the auditorium, in heated debate. Stein woke to see a gentleman in gold shorts and a white tee shirt putting golf balls into little cups. He got his first shot in and yelled, "Right!"

"Give me five," he ordered Stein. As the two slapped hands, the golfer  recognized the newcomer to the green. His words vibrated around space, "Who the hell did you think you were?" 

"Stein. Dr. Stein. Did those horses' asses on campus finally call for an ambulance?"

"They did not. Now! Answer me. Who the hell did you think you were down there?"

"Down where?" Stein asked. "Look, I'm on a tight schedule... Good God,  look down there - it's earth!"

"Thanks. Glad you recognized me. You know, Stein, you acted so much like me, that I got the distinct impression you had an identity problem."

"You're God?"

"You said so yourself a moment ago."

"I'm dead?"

"As a doornail."

"My heart?"

"You had no heart. Why did you tell young Miller you'd see him next week  just as he approached his breakthrough?"

"His time was up."

"I know the answers. I still want you to know the questions. Mrs. Johnson sat at sessions for nineteen years moaning about divorce. You couldn't use an aggressive approach and ask why she stayed married to the loser? 

And Kathy Schultz, she agonized for seven years--seven years--over why  she didn't feel right with men. You couldn't direct her to question her  sexual identity. Not once?"

"This is heaven?" Stein burst through.

"Jesus, no."

A clap of thunder followed his words.

God bowed his head and murmured, "Sorry, son." He shrugged timidly at Stein. "He's never forgiven me for that crucifixion thing." 

"Jesus? . . . "

"In heaven," God admitted.

"And we . . . ?"

"Retirement village. Nice place. We got golf, tennis, a pool."

"Why am I here?"

"Such fruitcakes here, Stein. They have a way to go, and you'll have  eternity to help them."

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