Saturday, August 17, 2013

Hell On Wheels

"GO! Hey, you cheated! No fair!"

We didn't talk about Hell at Resurrection Lutheran, so I had to hear about it from the neighbor girl, who was being raised Baptist and also had information about where babies came from. I didn't pay much attention to the Hell business. All that poking and flames and stuff was way too personal and required way too much imagining of physical distress and we Lutherans didn't like to think about anything that could happen to you without your clothes on.

I had to get my morality tales elsewhere, too, and they didn't do much for me. Oh, you know the ones: in Hell, a sumptuous banquet is served to the residents at a long table and everyone's fork is too long to reach their mouths, so they suffer and starve. In Heaven, same banquet, only everyone feeds each other across the table. Nothing about this holds up. Why couldn't they hold their forks closer to the tines, or use their fingers? That's what I would have done.

Or there's this one, designed to instill a proper appreciation for the risks of signing up with the wrong team in life: a boulder the size of a house is visited by a dove, who scrapes her beak against it once every thousand years; and when the boulder is worn down to nothing, a single day in Eternity has passed. Even when I was eight, this one didn't feel right. I mean, if there is a certain amount of time that can pass, no matter how long, and can be called a "day," it sort of devalues the whole eternity concept. I mean, if it has "days," they could conceivably run out at some point. Being numbered, and all.

I think I might have tried to wrap my head around the idea of eternity for a little while because it seemed important or required or deliciously frightening. But after a bit the only thing that became clear was that it was not possible to imagine eternity, and so I quit trying. It's a form of laziness, I suppose, but I've always had a pretty good grasp of when to work hard for a solution and when to bail. You can't even interest me in a conversation about eternity. Instead I try to keep good track of the present, an activity that looks pretty day-dreamy from a distance and which gets easier and easier as I lose my memory. This also means I don't worry too much. I do worry, but only for so long, and then the whole fret structure just breaks down. So naturally I don't believe in Hell, either.

Just Add Potted Meat Food Product
Until now. Now I read there's a dude what bought 45 acres of limestone caves in Kansas and he's setting it up as a combination resort and end-times sanctuary. For a price--a fine high one--you can buy a slot inside his cave for your RV where you can ride out your natural lifetime in case of asteroid strike or terrorist attack or nuclear bomb, and prepare to blast away anyone who tries to get in without paying for his parking space. Even before the asteroid hits, you can take a vacation in there and learn all about survival skills, which will certainly involve bad food and shooting. And come the big event, you can move in for good and spend the rest of your days in a plastic lawn chair in an RV park with no sunshine next to a bunch of survivalists and their sullen teenagers and someone with yellow hair will be wearing Crocs and stretch Capris and playing Stevie Nicks and the Eagles on a hand-cranked device and if that isn't Hell, I don't know what is.

51 comments:

  1. Your vision of hell is likely to ensure a sleepless night or six. Thanks Murr. Can you also cure insomnia?

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  2. According to a rabbi who writes a weekly column and welcomes comments from readers, the story about the forks that are too long arises in every culture. In China, it's the chopsticks...

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    1. That's it. I'm going to eat with my fingers from now on. If God gives me long fingers, it will help my piano playing.

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  3. EXACTLY. Hell would be living in a limestone cave in an old school bus next to a survivalist that played country western music all day long. The menu would be long on beans and dried peas and short on food fit for people.

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  4. Wouldn't the forks just be too hot to handle in hell?

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    1. See, again with the logic. Logic has no place in a morality tale.

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  5. I'm picturing those turkeys sitting in their limestone caves full of RVs and ammo and Cheetos, listening to their hand-cranked devices, year after year, getting more and more despondent as the world doesn't end. It'll do until eternity comes along.

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    1. When you mention the Cheetos, it doesn't sound so bad.

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    2. Two words: Cheeto farts.

      Two more words: Unventilated caves.

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    3. That there was three words too many.

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  6. Is there a backwater dump for each RV? Doesn't the air get kind of thick with the gas fumes from the generators? What will they do for fresh water?

    Really, I'd far rather be a ground zero than stuck in a cave in the dark with all those folks who truly believe in heaven but just aren't ready to go there.

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    1. I think these people are more believing in Amurrica than heaven, but I'm not sure.

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  7. I completely agree with your method of dealing with too big for the brain concepts. I have had conversations with a friend recently about infinity. If the universe is infinite, what is at the edge? At the edge, what is past the edge? If the universe is expanding, what is it expanding into? See? It just hurts my brain...and why do I need to know? My theories are infinitely irrelevant. It is what it is, no matter what I think. I am just not going think about infinity, eternity, fertility, versatility....too much.....Now eating with fingers, I can handle that.

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    1. Actually the universe is not infinite, but it has no edges. Think of the universe as the three-dimensional surface of a four-dimensional sphere, as the Earth's surface is the two-dimensional surface of a three-dimensional sphere. (The Earth's surface, similarly, is finite but has no edges.)

      If you set out into the universe and traveled far enough in a straight line -- this would be billions of light-years -- you'd eventually return to your starting point, just as traveling along what appears to be a straight line on the Earth's surface eventually brings you back to your starting point.

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    2. My whole brain just pretzeled. Although in a Moebius-strip kind of way.

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    3. Well, that hurts my brain. I'm with chlost: it is what it is and I will just stop thinking about it.

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  8. If only the brainpower that thinks up scams like that could be harnessed to do good.

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    1. Yes. The caverns should hold maple sugar.

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  9. I've been in the limestone caves under Kansas City. That's where the USDA stores surplus cheese. It was also where they stored duty-free liquor. Didn't seem much like hell to me.

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    1. No, that sounds like just the opposite. I've heard of the mythical cheese caves, and I plan to get a drilling permit.

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  10. I never heard the story about the feast.
    HEY! I like the Eagles...

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  11. This has nothing to do with anything but the impulse to share this information is too strong. In 2010, the annual worldwide retail sales of Cheetos, a subsidiary of PepsiCo, totalled approximately US$4 billion. Considering that number is almost as difficult as considering infinity, eternity or hell. Yep, I'm weird!

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    1. It's a fact. There are pieces of information you just can't keep to yourself.

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  12. The rest of my life in an RV??
    Holy sultana! I feel too confined in my small flat sometimes, an RV would send me completely bonkers.
    People are funny though...I bet he's making quite a bit of money from those who want a safe place to ride out the storm.

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    1. Probably, but of course he has to provide all the hookups and the garish lighting and...oh my! Where will the poop go?

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    2. Blackwater dumps. I was asking about that. Does he provide them? And fresh water hookups? We've just started RVing so I know to ask about this now.

      I hate camping. I won't even have sex outdoors because it might lead to camping.

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  13. A joke about heaven and hell.
    a man dies and at the pearly gates is given a choice, because he has been good and bad through his life he can spend a day in hell then drift up to heaven for a day, then decide where he wants to be. He goes to hell where there is feasting and barbecues and steaks and beer all day long, as much as you want. Then he goes to heaven for a day where he gets tea and toast. He asks God why the difference. God says I didn't think it was worth the effort of cooking for just the two of us.

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  14. Before anyone signs up with a survivalist group and plans to spend the rest of their days with said group, it might be wise to remember there's only one letter difference between a dinner party and the Donner Party. In one case, you have a nice meal. In the other case, you ARE the meal.

    I'd rather take over their houses when they've evacuated to the salt mines in their RVs.

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    1. Oh yeah. Tear up the RV pad and plant tomatoes.

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  15. Hell would be living in a limestone cave with they type of people that would buy into this!

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    1. I like to associate with unprepared people, plus one who has everything you'd ever need in her purse. Nail clippers, bandaids.

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    2. Sounds like my purse, safety pins and everything.

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  16. I guess I grew up without morality cause I never heard tell of the too-long forks story or the one about the dove and the rock. I suppose I'm still adrift. And I've seen enough here on earth that qualifies as Hell to believe that there's something worse in the hereafter.

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    1. You never heard those? What in the world has been keeping you in line all these years?

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  17. An RV surrounded by other RVs in a limestone cave sounds like Hell to me.

    P.S. Nice pipes on the devil in the pic. Now there's a smokin' hot dude.

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    1. Oh for a minute there I thought you meant Pootie.

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    2. He is a handsome devil, isn't he? ;-)

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  19. Replies
    1. Yahoo! Dat's my buddy Infidel! Good things happen when Crooks & Liars rounds me up.

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  20. I never thought the light at the end of the tunnel would be headlights.

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  21. Whenever driving toward a set of those halogen headlights, I always mutter, "At least ONE of us can see!"

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    1. When I used to wear contact lenses, the concentric dancing halos around them used to make me think it was the end of the world. Which it very well could have been.

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