Andy said once more that God could never allow a human being to enter a state as terrible as immortality. We were sitting on the back of the rental yacht in Dana Point Harbor drinking gin and tonics. The breeze was just strong enough to keep off the mosquitoes, but not cold enough for us to clothe ourselves. The cleats clinked against the mast.

“As I said,” I said, “if immortality exists, it must be meaningless. Like in the Borges story, they can take centuries to do anything and they can do everything and be everything, and moreover, they must be everything and do everything. There would be no frisson, no anticipation. I suppose it would be a kind of perfect freedom. All options are forever on the table. Nothing is foreclosed by choice.”

Andy said, “But aren’t you forgetting the resurrection of the body? No matter how long immortality lasted, you could not become a squid, for example, or a whale, or anything other than what you are. In fact, you would be quite limited. You couldn’t swim to the bottom of the ocean either, or flap your arms and fly.”

A seal barked in the distance; or was it a dog?

“You remember Donne talking about how your cells come back together, how God brings back that bit of skin that a fish ate and reattaches it to you? Frankly, I’m more scared of immortality than I am of dying.”

“You have to trust God with it. World without end.”

“We could jump off the boat and find out.”

“I’m too scared,” Andy said. “Unless, of course, it is so beyond our comprehension so as to be not worth talking or thinking about.”

“But think about it another way: if God made everything perfect in the life to come but we weren’t immortal and could just slip overboard and drown, or stub our toes on the winches, or be too hot or too cold for even a single second, then it wouldn’t be perfect. Do you think that God would make a situation in which we would want to die but be unable to? In other words, how would it be different to life? Perhaps immortality is Hell, annihilation Heaven.”

“You’re a slippery one, Andy. We are probably dead right now?”

“Dude, I’m not ready for this.”

We finished our drinks. Before I went to the foreberth and fell asleep, I tossed my lemon slice into the harbor.