Paul's Internet Landfill/ demons/ Damnation


It's actually Aug 01, 5am. Tonight somebody sent me a reminder of Hell. Maybe it was God reminding me what is in store for me when I commit suicide.

So that I would understand, the reminder was framed as a series of novels -- seven in all. In the series I played the good-hearted but somewhat dumb assistant of a cartoon octopus dentist. I believe that I myself was a shark or other lovable underwater creature, modelled after Stimpy. Throughout the first five novels I helped the dentist and got into lovable misadventures, remaining good-hearted and cheerful throughout.

The sixth novel is a murder-mystery. My dentist friend (of whose personality we learn very little through the course of the novels) had a brother. Two years ago, he was killed. Who did it? Through the novel's twists and turns, we never get a clear sense of who done it, until the final chapter, when the authorities grab me. I did it. Worse, I did it and forgot about it, and the dentist took me under his wing for two years to gather evidence. Standing in front of the dentist, my head headlocked into an inspection device, I feel nothing but shame and remorse. I see the vengeance burning in the dentist's eyes -- and why should I not see vengeance? I am a murderer. I killed my friend/employer/caretaker's brother. I am a monster.

And I am punished. Every Wednesday a guest chef from Harvard is to come and cook me into a living model of the dentist's choice. The dentist will eat some part of me or just play with me. Then I am to be stored for the next week. How? I am to be cold-stored. I can choose to sit in a refrigerator that is very cold, without protection, conscious but immobile, each week. If I decline that option, I can face sub-zero temperatures each week and freeze in agony for ten minutes each week. Then I will be thawed and re-prepared the next. Cooked, enslaved, chilled. Cooked, enslaved, chilled. Cooked, enslaved, chilled. This is to be my future for the rest of eternity, with no freedom, no pleasure, no grace, no comfort. It is penance for a crime I do not remember committing, but one which nobody (not even myself) denies I did commit, and one which nobody (not even myself) claims should go unpunished.

This is what I face after I die. Except that it will likely be much, much worse. Words like "torture" and "hellfire" and "agony" and "eternity" don't mean much as abstractions. They become more vivid when you experience them firsthand. Having gone through a moderately uncomfortable day as a mock-refugee (a day when I knew I would not get hurt because I was still a safe Canadian), I should know better than to doubt their existence.

The final damnation is that I know this is coming, and I am still too proud to repent. There is no escape for me -- not death, not life, not luxury, not anything. I may or may not be agnostic -- there are no agnostics in foxholes -- but it is hard not to believe in Hell. I have known for years that I will be going to Hell when I die. I don't deserve Heaven, no matter how you look at it. What is Grace, after all, if not an undeserved pardon? But every so often somebody (maybe God) sends me a reminder of a sense (maybe only a hint) of what that means. When I get those reminders, all the glib flippant atheists with their cheerful criticisms of the church and their promises of nonexistence aren't so reassuring anymore.