So my primary question is: What is hell like? For me‚ the worse case scenario would be Las Vegas. I’d spend my days and nights in the god-awful casinos, with the incessant noise, watching other overweight sinners in their Bermuda shorts and black socks lose in one night the allotment of money God gave them for their future existence. What a bummer!
The only available food would be those terrible buffets‚ the all-you-can-eat mayonnaise marathons where they serve nothing with any nutritional value. So you end up spending eternity looking like Dumbo. And since the weather in Las Vegas is as hot as Hades and you don’t get any exercise, your muscles turn from string cheese to ricotta. Now that’s depressing!
But maybe it’s different. What if once you die, the rules are reversed? All the in-your-face health clubs juice-bar-junkies suddenly find that exercise and nutritional food make you fat and Hostess Cupcakes and potato chips are thinning. We finally learn that God considers jogging and pumping iron to have been narcissistic wastes of time and hard-bodied folks go directly to hell.
Furthermore‚ He can’t fathom why anyone would have chosen carrot sticks over nachos, skinless chicken rather than marbled beef, and cantaloupe instead of chocolate soufflé. So He figures the people who made these choices weren’t very bright and He assigns them to the worst part of hell: the lounge acts. I wonder if vegans would change their views if they knew they would spend eternity in cocktail lounges watching second-rate talent.
In fact, what if God uses eternity to even the score on a major basis? He changes the sexes so that men have menstrual periods and women lose their hair. The malevolent rich are forced to work in underground garages. People who’ve been cursed with physical ailments become doctors, and the mentally ill become psychiatrists.
You know, being a psychiatrist for eternity might be entertaining—even in Las Vegas. Then I could charge ridiculous fees to shake my head in an empathic way and say, “So the antidepressant hasn’t kicked in yet and you feel suicidal?”
“Yes,” my patient listlessly replies.
“Have you tried killing yourself or have you just thought about it?”
“I’ve got a wife and daughter,” he tearfully responds. “I wouldn’t actually kill myself. I just can’t stand feeling so powerless. I’ve had to go on disability because I’ve used up all my vacation time. My wife is stressed out all the time. I worry about my daughter. It’s been four weeks now. Can’t you do anything?”
“You can check into a psychiatric hospital,” I answer cavalierly. Then we can give you a higher dosage of medication more quickly.”
“I’d never do that,” he says.
“Do you have enough medication?” I ask.
“Yes, but it’s not working.”
“Give it time. Oops, our session’s over,” I say as I write his invoice for $120 for 30 minutes of advice and schedule his next appointment.
“May I pay you after my next session?” he asks. “The illness is ruining us financially.”
“Sure,” I charitably say. “By the way,” I am almost embarrassed to ask, “what did you do in life that was so bad that you’re a manic-depressive in Las Vegas for eternity?”
“I worked for an insurance company that provided health care coverage,” he says with embarrassment.
I smile as he leaves.