by: E. Elizabeth Witherspoon

This parody is just that, a parody. It was written in complete humor and is in no way meant to be offensive. Please read it with that in mind, and enjoy!

Note from author: This grew out of a conversation I had with some friends one weekend. I don't remember how it got started, but this is the result. Please don't be offended on Jane's account or God's. God and I are close, and He doesn't mind. He has a sense of humor, too. ~Sheri~

Recently, my students had finished their speeches for the day, and there were about three minutes left in class. One of the girls looked up and asked, "Ms. Witherspoon, what do you do for fun?"

I know she expected something like "watch paint dry". After a second, I responded flippantly, "I hate Jane Seymour."

Every head in that room snapped up, and swivelled to stare at me as if I had shouted an obscenity.

The little girl looked as if I had slapped her. "You hate Dr. Quinn?"

One of the boys said in a strangled voice, "that's practically the same as hatin' George Washington!"

"Oh, Jasper, it's not. I don't hate Dr. Quinn at all. I just kinda hate Jane Seymour,"

Laura was taking this hard. "Isn't that the same thing?" she asked shakily.

Dear God! The child was about to cry!

I hurried on, "no, now, don't be upset!"

They clearly didn't understand that I was kidding. I guess they didn't expect that from a teacher. "Hating Jane Seymour is NOT the same thing as hating Dr. Quinn. First of all, Jane Seymour's a real person. Dr. Quinn is a character. She doesn't exist in time and space. Jane Seymour PLAYS that character, and she does an excellent job. Really! I like that show as much as the next person. I like a lot of her other work, too!"

They still didn't get it. I didn't have time to explain. I was thinking fast. "Look, I'll tell you what. Tomorrow I'll clarify this for you. I"ll make a speech for a change. How's that?"

The bell rang. The kids hurried out, some of them looking at me as if I had disembowelled a puppy!

The next day, third hour rolled around, and frankly, I had forgotten that I had promised to explain what many of them considered tantamount to blasphemy. TRUST ME! They had not forgotten. Jasper's hand flew up so fast I feared he had hyper-extended his elbow. "Ms. Witherspoon! You said you was gonna explain why hatin' Jane Seymour ain't the same as hatin' Dr. Quinn!"

"Were those my exact words?"

"No kiddin'! You did."

I relented. " I'm sorry, Jasper. I had forgotten. And I've already explained why hating Jane Seymour is not the same as hating Dr. Quinn. What I'm going to do today is tell you why I hate Jane Seymour."

There were still some apprehensive looking faces. "Listen," I began. "Just for the record, I don't hate Jane Seymour. This is just my warped sense of humor. Actually, I like her work a lot. The things that I know about her as a person make me think that I would like her. I like to think I would. The thing is--how great she looks gets on my nerves sometimes. I mean, she's like three months younger than me and could pass for my kid if she wanted to. And, so far, I've never been in the presence of an adult male who didn't practically dehydrate from drooling over her. What I'm telling you, babies, is that I am just plain old jealous.

"Have you ever wondered why you look like you do, or have the talents and skills that you do? I'm not talking about the things that genetics, and training, and perseverance, and dedication account for. I'm talking about the quirky little things that make us each unique. Where do those things come from? I have a theory. I think that on July 1st of every earth year, God rounds up all the souls destined to be born during the subsequent year. He divides them into the ones who will be male and the ones who will be female. Everybody has to get a buddy from their group. Then, they have to form two gargantuan lines and stand before God in pairs to be outfitted for their physical lives. I feel that a big production is made of the fact that He is committed to maintaining the balance in the Universe. That includes physical attributes. If my theory is correct, and you happen to be drop dead gorgeous, whoever was in line with you is off somewhere being butt ugly---and hatin' your guts. I believe I was in line with Jane Seymour.

"Imagine the scenario. It's July 1st, 1950. We've been summoned for our "fitting out". I think we were already the essence of who we are now, only just little sparks of light. Judging by my attitude about standing in lines, I assume that I was WAY in the back. I also believe that the Higher Power was already tired and cranky when my little buddy and I got there. Think about what a long, drawn out, tedious process this had to be for everyone, even Him. I'm pretty sure I was belligerent about having to wait around for about an eon. "Like it woulda killed You to summon us when it was our turn!" It would seem that before I even had one, I was mouthy. And on the Lord's nerves.

"God picked up two folders---personal type stuff, I guess. He flipped them open, and took out some forms that He began to fill out. He addressed the sparkle beside me, "you're to be Jane Seymour, and..."

"Excuse me, Sir," she said politely, "but I believe that I'm to be Joyce Frankenberg,"

"Yeah!" I piped up in a voice that Delta Burke would later use for her Suzanne Sugarbaker character, "Jane Seymour is an old lady over in the `Been There, Done That' subdivision. She lives in a big old house over there with five other old women and that spooky old Hal guy."

My valuable information was ignored. He spoke kindly to the sparkle, "You will only begin as Joyce Frankenberg. You will change to Jane Seymour, later. In the interest of clarity, I'll just call you Jane." She shimmered demurely.

The Most High directed His gaze on me. (You know, sometimes I dream about that gaze, only in the dream, God looks like Billy Graham, and---never mind.) "You're Etheline Witherspoon."

"Hey! About that. Be a prince, why don't ya, and make 'em choose something else?"

"Sorry. I can't do that. It falls under that free will penumbra," He shrugged a little apologetically, "Who knew it would turn out like this?"

"You said the sparkle could change her name. Why can't I do that?"

"I give up! Why can't you do that?" You'd think that the Almighty would be above sarcasm, wouldn't you?

"Let's get you outfitted. The logical place to begin is with size. Jane, you'll be...let's see...diminutive, I think. Tiny, but nicely proportioned."

"Does this mean I 'm stuck with Amazonian?"

"I think Wagnerian is more the thing,"

"Big whoop! It still means the size of a freakin' barge!"

Thunder rumbled ominously. I was a little intimidated, but I was miffed. Even though I didn' t have a face yet, I could feel my "being" starting to have what my mother has always called my "mulish" look.

As the Lord assigned us something, it became visible, so the sparkle was the size she would be as an adult. So was I. I was not charmed. It wasn't too bad for the next few minutes. We were both issued the regulation number of hands, feet, fingers, toes, knee caps, etc. But nothing lasts forever. "Now," saith the Lord, "Hair. Any preferences?"

I jumped right in. "I'd like black hair; long, thick, straight black hair."

He consulted some papers in my folder before shaking His head, "nope. One of your sisters gets that. An Etheline really ought to have brown hair. Thin. Fine. Curly brown hair. Jane? What about you? How about auburn?"

"That would be lovely, Sir."

"I just remembered something! You know My Boy was on earth for a while, and one time while He was there, He was at a friend's house for dinner. They were sitting around visiting later that evening, and a woman came in carrying an alabaster box. She went over to My Son, and broke that box and put this expensive, perfumed ointment on His feet. Then, she wiped off the excess with her gloriously long hair. It was really weird, but VERY impressive. How 'bout it, Jane? Would you like to have hair like that?"

"Thank You. Yes, Sir."

"What a suck up!" I said it under my breath, but the look I got said He heard me.

The sparkle chuckled. She knew I was up a stump.

"Ladies, let's get you some eyes. Any thoughts there?"

"Could I have blue eyes?"

"Sure. Why not? Jane?"

She hesitated, then, "Green....no I mean brown!"

"Oops." The Creator said "oops"? I truly want to believe that I didn't gloat, but I suspect it was more like "Ooh, Sparky! I think you're hosed!" Poor ole sparkle. She didn't even act up. She just sighed as if she would manage to bear this, somehow. You could tell He felt kinda bad about it, too.

"Sorry, Kid. But, Let's make the best of it. On you, it will look exotic. Really. It will be fine. Trust me."

"This is all well and good," I broke in, "but how is all this stuff going to be arranged? So far, it's just individual parts. What's the whole package going to be?"

The Heavenly Father nodded thoughtfully. "I understand what you're saying... Jane, with that glorious hair and exotic eyes, it seems reasonable that you'll be a stunner."

"Oh, Perfect! That leaves me, what? Dogmeat?"


What did I have to lose? "Please! Do something about that name!"

"If you will stop carping about it, I'll make sure they call you by your middle name!"

"Dare I ask?"

"It's Elizabeth."

"Hey, that's not so bad." I was enormously relieved---until Sparky whispered, "that makes your initials spell 'eew'!" ( I could hear a smile in her voice.) It was at that exact moment that I began to hate her. I began to sputter a protest, but an abruptly raised palm, signalling H-A-L-T ! shut me down.

The Great Spirit grumbled, "I never have this much trouble getting people outfitted for earth. If you're this difficult for Me, what will your poor parents do? But, back to the business at hand. For the time being, I will simply call you Ethel. And, Ethel, dogmeat is a very harsh word..."

"But pretty close?" I finished. I swear I was trying to behave about all this, but I just wasn't being very successful. I was on the verge of being hostile. "Can I, at least be smart? You gotta admit You haven't given me much in the way of good junk, here. Can't I be smart?"

"Wellllll, okay. Smart, but nothing spectacular," He cautioned.

"Excuse me, Sir," The sparkle spoke confidently, but oh, so politely. (I wondered what would happen if I reached out and pinched her--just a little. I was too chicken to find out.) "I would like to be very intelligent, as well. It wouldn't have to be genius level or anything, just, you know, very impressive."

My fingers were almost on the back of her arm when I heard, "Wellllll, the balance must...." I was choreographing my end-zone dance in my head!!! It was just possible the Great I Am was going to tell her she had to be as dumb as a box of rocks! But...

"Oh! I know, Sir, but won't You, please, just this once, make an exception? I will be an excellent steward of the gifts You give me."

"Give me an aspirin!" Again, under my breath, but heard, and counted against me. Maybe if I'd kept my big mouth shut, He wouldn't have relented.

"Well, I guess it won't hurt just this once." I believe that's when I developed the habit of grinding my teeth.

"We really have to move along. We've still a ways to go. Talent, money, love lives, children, and birthdays, yet."

"This ought to be a bunch of fun." If the Lord of Hosts could be sarcastic, so could I. "Let me guess, Sparky gets everything, and I get squat, right?"

"Calling her Sparky isn't very kind, you know. Jane, are there any particular interests that you want to have as talents?"

"There are just so many choices." She didn't even sound breathless or giddy. She was just concentrating.

While she pondered her choices, I began to write a song that Rogers and Hammerstein would later use in a musical version of CINDERELLA. "She's a frothy little bauble, With a lot of poise and charm, And with very little trouble, I could break her little arm!" But I digress.

"I think that I should like to sing, and dance, and act, and paint, and write, and anything else You might deem appropriate."

I nearly spit up! "If she gets to do all of that, and I can tell by looking at You that she does, do I get to do nothing?"

"Not at all!" He had the nerve to act as if I was being absurd to even imagine such a thing! "Actually, you can do everything Jane can........... Just not as well."

What a surprise! "Then, what's the point?" I wailed.

"My dear, Ethel, you need a strong lesson in humility. Perhaps a life-long lesson will begin to make an impression, though I have My doubts. Let's talk about money."

I was really cranky by this time. I didn't even want to hear it. With Sparky getting to be gorgeous, and multi-talented. It was a lead pipe cinch that she was also going to be rich, too.

"Can I be a doctor?" I don't know why this seemed so important to me.

"Ethel, you will be a wonderful teacher."

"Please, don't tell me that she gets to be a doctor!"

"She doesn't......but she plays one on TV!" That cracked Him up. But we didn't get it.

"So, how much richer does she get to be?"

"That's not set in stone, but I think it's safe to assume that she will make at least five times as much per week as you make in a year."

"Well, as long as it's fair," I muttered. I was getting a little too good at this sarcasm. You want to know what galls me the most? Sparky wasn't even gloating or rubbing it in that she was getting all the good stuff, and I was getting bupkis. I don't think I can forgive her for that. I was beyond cranky. I was way past hostile. I just wanted this to end. "What's the bottom line here? What else does Precious get that I don't? .....And just for the record, why is she the favorite?"

"As to why she's the favorite. She just is. It's not personal. As for what else she gets, there are a couple of things that I think you will take exception to. The first one is birthdays."

"I'm supposed to be born in the latter part of November." I couldn't see why that would be a problem.

Jane spoke up and said, "I'm to be a valentine baby." Now I got it. I would be born around Thanksgiving----a turkey. She, of course, would be a valentine.

"Actually, you're both a little off the mark. Ethel, you'll be born at the end of October. Jane, you will be born the day after Valentine's."

Oh, this was better! I was practically shrieking. "Halloween! No! I won't! "

"Settle down! It's no big deal! I'll trade you out with the Pauley girl. Ethel, you can be born on the 29th, and the other Jane will be born on the 31st. She's a good scout. She won't mind."

"What's the other thing I won't like?"

"This goes back to your question about Jane being My favorite. There is just one other thing that will be an indication of how special she is to Me. Ethel, about the time that you have to begin oestrogen therapy, Jane will have a baby." He was shuffling through some papers in her folder. "No, wait. Make that TWO babies!" He paused and studied our forms. When He was satisfied that they were complete, He said, "Well, I guess that's it, for now, ladies. The rest will be up to you, and how you manage what I've given you"

"That, my children, is why I hate Jane Seymour. But I've been thinking about this, and I've decided that I might renegotiate this deal. See, when I get to heaven, I think I can make a case for the fact that since Jane got to be gorgeous and have all the talent here on earth, that it would only be fair if I got to look like her for eternity---and sing like Della Reese. Now, that would be the way to spend eternity!"

Laura raised her hand, and addressed me timidly, "Ms. Witherspoon?"

"Yes, Laura?"

"Do you think God will let you in heaven? I mean if Jane Seymour is His favorite, and you hate her..."

I was horrified. I hadn't thought of that! The kid was right!

Beautiful! Just beautiful! She has ruined my life; now, she's going to ruin my afterlife. I HATE Jane Seymour!