Assuming that Christians are right about life -- that we live because God has a "plan" for us -- then why did he construct miracles to preserve the lives of some of the most reckless and self-destructive people on the planet? Why are some people able to cheat death?
God hasn't bothered to send an angel with the answer (though if he does, I'll update this post), so we're on our own. Let's take a close look at these death cheaters and see if we can figure out God's plan for them. We'll start with the guy who survived a somersaulting car crash on I-95 in Fort Lauderdale this weekend:
Why he should be dead: Because when your car's tire blows out, causing it to flip and then roll,
God, what were Your reasons for sparing Rodman's life?
it's supposed to leave you with more than just a "scratch" on your finger.
Karma: None. The former NBA rebounding champ was not on his way back from volunteering at a soup kitchen; he was returning from a DJ gig in St. Tropez.
Other high-risk behaviors: Lived in Detroit for seven years, taunted Karl Malone during the 1997 NBA Finals, became a professional wrestler, developed substance abuse habits that required multiple trips to rehab, had sex with Madonna and Carmen Electra. Spit in the Grim Reaper's eye with a book titled I Should Be Dead by Now.
God's plan: This was a man created to rebound the basketball, but since he doesn't do that anymore, it's hard to understand why the Big Guy's in Rodman's corner. Maybe he just enjoys groovin' to Rodman's DJ mixes?
Why he should be dead: Because when the CIA wants you dead, it usually succeeds. Now I don't necessarily believe what former bodyguard Fabian Escalante claims, that the CIA tried to kill Castro 638 times (although that number is eerily specific). But the exploding cigar? The fungal-infected scuba suit? Come on, you can't make that kind of thing up!
Karma: Maybe Castro really is the people's hero. Maybe his revolution really was intended to empower workers at the expense of the nation's former ruling class. Maybe God and the forces of karma are very gullible.
Other high-risk behaviors: He staged a daring attack on the Moncada Barracks in 1953 that left little doubt about his intentions to topple the Batista government -- and in banana republics like Cuba, leaders of failed coups are not typically long for this world. Also, he spent a half-century atop a regime that squelches public dissent, a climate in which domestic assassination plots tend to bloom.
God's plan: Considering God hates socialism (a Republican told me so), this is a tough one to figure. Most likely, Castro's longevity owes itself to God's desire to show his chosen country (America) the folly of Communism.
Why he should be dead: Because the Rolling Stones guitarist has ingested enough drugs to kill an army. He started at age 15 by mixing diet pills with the kind of medication that women take for menstruation and just kept gobbling, shooting, smoking, and snorting for the next 20 years. For most of the two decades after he supposedly kicked his heroin addiction, Richards has kept a steady diet of cigarettes and hard liquor. If his drug intake has slowed since he turned 60, it's only because Richards hasn't found a modern drug that can give him a decent buzz.
Karma: Not bloody likely. Anyone who can play guitar that long, that brilliantly, is more likely to have made a deal with the devil, Robert Johnson-style.
Other high-risk behaviors: Nope, just the drugs. Because as Richards will happily tell you, there's no scientific evidence that suggests it's dangerous to snort the ashes of your cremated father.
God's plan: The ages-old rock-snob debate demands that you must choose one band that's the greatest of all time: either the Rolling Stones or the Beatles. We know where God comes down on that question, don't we?
No coffin can contain David Blaine.
Why he should be dead: Because he's been buried alive, encased in a huge block of ice, marooned atop a 35-foot pillar in New York City, starved for 44 days, submerged in water for seven days, and shackled to a rotating gyroscope for more than two days.
Karma: Points for staging a magic show in New York City for the benefit of victims of the Haiti earthquake. But mostly, Blaine has shown that he can live without food, water, sleep, and even air. He just can't survive very long without publicity.
Other high-risk behaviors: Stay tuned. Blaine's been quiet lately. Too quiet. This is a guy who wants to die in the most public way possible and seems destined to do so.
God's plan: The merciful thing would have been for him to whack Blaine several tricks ago, to spare the young man the agony of the stunts that have come since. God probably figures that the best way to punish Blaine is to keep him alive so he can continue to punish himself.
Why he should be dead: Because even for a fictional character, it's hard to imagine how a single man can fight so much terrorism, to the point that he literally appears to be doomed in every single one of 24 hours, across eight separate days. Jack's overall record in kill-or-be-killed matchups with bad guys: 266-0.
Karma: Jack wants to protect innocent people from being killed, so that has some cosmic appeal. But neither karma nor the Geneva Convention looks kindly on Jack's methods, which include the kind of torture that would make Dick Cheney groan. Hey, maybe he should be on this list...
Other high-risk behaviors: Truly, the biggest threat to Jack Bauer's life didn't come from a terrorist or henchmen. It was from Two and a Half Men, the ratings titan ruled by another death cheater, Charlie Sheen. The sitcom aired opposite 24 in the 9 p.m. Monday time slot. The Bachelor also took a shot at Jack. And the cast of Heroes could have finally crushed him if that show hadn't fizzled out after its breakout season.
God's plan: Mankind prayed that God would finally destroy the character of Carrie Bradshaw, which he appeared to do... only to allow Sex and the City to spawn a movie franchise that just might have more sequels in it than Star Trek. To even the score, God terminated the 24 franchise this past year only to inspire its creators toward a 24 feature film. Guys, let's all pray that in the movie version, Jack's search for information about a terrorist plot leads him to an interrogation scene in a tool shed with... Carrie Bradshaw!