Miles upon miles, perhaps enough to wrap around the earth and then some. Sweat and blood (for sure), maybe not tears. My socks had been nearly the first point of contact between me and the ground (if not for shoes) and the last point of contact for almost every bodily fluid imaginable. Abandoning them on the roadside, in the ghetto, in a yellow-skinned, dumpster-sized metal box seemed inappropriate, maybe even immoral.
Entering my one-room studio (where everything leaks), things suddenly seemed empty, not tidy, or clean, but not yet filthy either. The idea of togetherness had been flung out the window, so I decided to drop it for the time being and pick up something less conducive to being flung.
My submission to the Journal of Near Death Experiences had just been put out to pasture by a committee of my peers. Crafting a rebuttal had been at the fore of my frontal lobe before the idea of consolidated fabrics seemed more manageable. I read the letter again:
From: JONDE Staff email@example.com
Date: 10/20/2016 2:22 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: “Orabi, Abrahim” firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: JONDE – Decision released for ms. 79319-RG-1
Dear Dr. Obabi,
RE: Sphincter of Oddi removal resulting in my untimely death during R.E.M. sleep: bright lights, choir voices, and levitation
We regret to inform you that the Editorial Board does not feel that your manuscript is appropriate for publication in the Journal of Near Death Experiences. Please note that this decision means that this manuscript can no longer be considered for publication, even in revised form.
The Editors carefully reviewed reports provided by expert outside reviewers and determined that your manuscript was not only grammatically sloppy but did not adhere to the strict inclusion criteria of “near-death experiences.” As mentioned in the journal guideline: fugue states, dream states (be them day or otherwise), nightmares, night-terrors, or other non-conscious experiences automatically disqualify a manuscript for acceptance. The Board of Editors hold the title of “near death experience” in high regard and refuse to trivialize this very real (and serious) event with reckless and untidy prose such as yours. Furthermore, after consulting with outside specialists, it was determined that a Sphincter of Oddi-otomy would hardly be a fatal procedure, thus invalidating the entire premise of your submission. The Editors, with the collective advice of the referees, felt that the manuscript would be more appropriate for a personal diary (perhaps a blog).
The JONDE currently receives approximately 4,352 manuscripts a year. Quite frankly, we’re busting at the seams. Sadly, this means that many manuscripts of significant quality (unlike yours) must be turned down.
We hope that the referee comments will be helpful to you as you mature as both a human, writer, and observer of experiences near-to-death. Thank you again for your interest in the JONDE, and we hope that your interest will continue in the future.
Howard A. Croakman
Professor of Near Deathery
Editor in Chief
For the JONDE Editorial Board
Photo Credit: Eli Christman from Richmond, VA, USA – Birkenstocks with Candy Corn Socks, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48489303