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BROTHER, WHERE YOU BOUND?

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;Let he who is without sin blast the first e-mail.

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;Last week, Newsweek published the results of a survey the web site Beliefnet had conducted, in which 10,000 people were asked to rate the chances that they'll be going to hell after they die. Surprise, surprise … the conservatives who participated in the poll found it far less feasible than the liberals that they would be spending their afterlife in The Bad Place. However, conservatives were also more prone to believe that someone else they know personally is headed for eternal torment in that godforsaken hotbox Satan calls home. (No, not Miami; the other one.)

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;Born-again Christians led the high-and-mighty demo, with 55 percent saying there was "not a chance" they'd be retiring to the Devil's little acre. Meanwhile, a full 64 percent of self-described conservatives said they knew someone who was squarely on the highway to hell, compared to only 47 percent of liberals. You don't have to be a statistician to grasp the true implications of these findings: a) our side needs to get out more; and b) if you've just butchered your landlord and are starting to have second thoughts, late-in-life baptism is a great career move.

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;I keed! I keed! Actually, what the survey really shows is that we progressives have fallen sadly behind when it comes to making sweeping judgments. We're supposed to be the haters, remember? The ones who get through the day by demonizing our ideological adversaries and positioning ourselves as a moral elite? Personally speaking, if I get to Heaven and find that the attendance list isn't limited to my immediate sphere of acquaintances and Paul Newman, then Saint Peter gonna have some 'splainin' to do! What's going to happen if folks like me start abandoning our exclusionary principles? We can't make Ann Coulter look like a liar— that's her job. (See? See how easy it is?)

;;In the interest of our smug self-assurance, then, I think we should take a minute each day and remember the less fortunate among us — by keeping a running list of people we just know are destined for a permanent case of sunstroke. Here's what I was able to come up with in a short afternoon. You might be going to hell if you have ever …

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  • ; Lit up in a nonsmoking area
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  • ; ; Called me out for lighting up in a nonsmoking area
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  • ; ; "Rolled" anything "over"
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  • ; ; "Flipped" anything (the bird excluded)
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  • ; ; Lied about your immunization record on ElimiDate
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  • ; ; Revealed why the caged bird sings in your "spoiler-free" book review
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  • ; ; Referred to your parole hearing as a "networking opportunity"
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  • ; ; Tried to have your trophy wife engraved
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  • ; ; Re-enacted a great moment in the Civil War — like, say, Lincoln's assassination
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  • ; ; Played Monopoly with actual tens and twenties
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  • ; ; Played Clue with a real Smith & Wesson
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  • ; ; Played "Duck, duck, goose" with live fowl
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  • ; ; Pointed at a child's licensed Hello Kitty product and chuckled, "I did her"
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  • ; ; Taken an oath of office while on OxyContin
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  • ; ; Played golf in any context that did not involve a motorized windmill
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  • ; ; Submitted "bad feng shui" as the reason Mommy had to move out
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  • ; ; Ever asked anyone to "dial down" anything
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  • ; ; Kicked out Juan Lynum's taillight
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  • ; ; Prayed before a board meeting, canoe trip or sexual encounter
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  • ; ; Refused to take money from your parents after hitting 30 (Hope I didn't give too much away there)
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  • ; ; Ever uttered the phrase "The gals can make sandwiches," in any context whatsoever
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  • ; ; Purchased a daily-affirmation calendar written by Ted Nugent
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  • ; ; Requested a receipt for a plasma donation
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  • ; ; Discussed the threat of gay marriage with your favorite tranny hooker
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  • ; ; Shouted "That's what I'm talkin' about!" when you were previously talking about nothing
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  • ; ; Admonished a legless Desert Storm veteran to pull himself up by his bootstraps
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  • ; ; Put on a tape of the Gary Gilmore execution as "mood music"
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  • ; ; Outed your scoutmaster on MySpace
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  • ; ; Carried the state of Ohio under extremely suspicious circumstances
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;And that's only a start. Feel free to augment with your own suggestions as the synapses fire. Oh, and about that survey? Seems the respondents were also split on why people get sent to hell. Conservatives said it's what you believe in that determines your salvation or damnation, while liberals figured it's how you behave. Me, I think it has something to do with wearing white after Labor Day.

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;; sschneider@orlandoweekly.com

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