In cartoons, Hell is always depicted in a specific way. Inside of a very red cave, deep in the center of the earth, is some sort of creature dressed in all red with matching pitchfork. Flames lick up in every direction from deep holes in the ground. Apparently fixing giant fiery holes in the ground is not a line-item in the Hell budget.
There are two issues I have with this. First and foremost, why are cartoon characters going to Hell? I specifically remember seeing Sylvester bargaining with Satan in an effort to catch Tweety Bird. It’s really a miracle that every child that was raised since that cartoon came out is not in therapy prattling on about devil dogs and how cats have nine lives.
My second issue, though, is a question of precision. See, I feel that this is not an exact portrayal of Hell. In Hell, there are no flames or giant red creatures. I have a very specific theory as to what Hell would look like.
This last weekend, my wife and I had some work to get done. Walking into the kitchen of the home we are moving into, one would find beige walls with stripes. I am unsure of the exact age of the peeling paper, though I am sure that you could date it by counting the layers of gunk that had accumulated from years of ghastly people and their nauseating habits.
Naturally, we did not care for this wallpaper. We rented a steamer and headed over to the house. Our attitudes were very gung-ho. We would get in there, steam the crap out of the wallpaper, and scrape the hideous stripes off. We filled the steamer and got to work. That is when we found a surprise.
Behind the hideous stripes, we found our walls covered with vines and brown flowers. So we continued, steaming and scraping, steaming and scraping. Having even older and uglier wallpaper would not do, after all. The whole point was to have bare walls, not walls covered with some long-forgotten pattern that seems to be depicting dead flowers. After a great deal more steaming and scraping is when we found the paper with orange flowers. It turns out that this room had been wallpapered three times and not once had anyone removed wallpaper.
This is what I would imagine Hell is like. Instead of flames, every person is confined to a single room. Once there, they will scrape layer after layer of wallpaper for eternity. Just you, a scraper, a steamer making the room unbearably humid, and infinite layers of devil’s favorite wall decoration.
See, there is no way you can convince me after this experience that wallpaper is not pure evil incarnate. It could be the happiest wallpaper in history, a lovely motif involving a herd of majestic unicorns flying through a rainbow filled sky, and all I would see is malevolence. I would imagine that sometime many years ago, some particularly evil minion of Satan designed this idea.
“Honey,” the minion’s wife would ask. “What are we going to do about these walls? I suppose we should get some paint.”
“No, I have a better idea. I think we should get some giant sheets of paper, then glue them directly to the wall!”
“But… that seems like a lot more work than just painting. Besides, if we glue it to the wall, won’t that be hard to take down later? What if we want to change what our walls look like?”
“Why, we’ll just glue more paper over that.”
The minion’s wife looked confused. “But at some point, someone will probably have to take that down, right?”
Satan’s minion began to grin the grin that only the most evil beings can muster. “Yes they will.” He then laughed diabolically for the next twenty minutes.
In the end, we were able to get all of the paper off. Sure, it would have taken less time to burn the entire house down and rebuild it. It was taken care of, though not without destroying every animated version of afterlife punishments I had in my head.
Wallpaper ruins everything.