No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
Hey, boss? Can I talk to you for a sec?
Sure. What's up?
I've got a difficult case.
What? Someone trying to sneak into heaven again? Falsifying their good deeds?
No. She was the nicest person you could meet on earth. She belongs here.
So whats the problem?
Well, she doesn't want to be here.
What do you mean she doesn't want to be here? Everyone wants to be here. Oh, wait; she's one of those! Doesn't think she's worthy of heaven.
No, that's not it.
Oh, she's one of those. Thinks heaven's not worthy of her.
No, she isn't Martha. No, this woman is unhappy here and wants to go to hell.
Why in God's name would she...wait, she's not happy? Everyone's happy here.
And that seems to be the problem.
I'm not following.
Look, just come with me. I'll let her explain.
Leads a good life on earth, and she's not happy up here? This should be interesting.
Ok, what seems to be the problem?
I want a transfer.
You want a transfer.
Ma'am, do you know what you're asking for?
Yes. I'm not happy here, and I want a transfer.
Yes. Look, I'm completely lost here in heaven.
I like doing nice things for people. It makes them happy. It makes me happy. It makes the world a brighter place. But I can't do a lot of nice in heaven.
What do you mean you can't do anything nice here? Everything's nice here.
Yes, that's the problem! My little drop of nice gets swallowed by the ocean of contentment. It's frustrating.
I don't understand.
Let me give you an example. The other day I'm flying around heaven, and I see a stranger. I feel like doing something nice for him, so I swoop down, pluck a perfect rose out of the Garden then I flutter down in front this guy, arm extended, rose in hand, and say something like, 'You looked like you could use a rose.'
He says something back like, 'Oh. Thanks. But really, I was happy already.'
'Yes, I was.'
'Well, did I at least add to your happiness?'
'Um...no. No actually you didn't.'
'Nope. I was perfectly happy before you gave me the rose, and I'm perfectly happy now.'
'Oh. Well. Have a nice da—'
'Right. Never mind.'
So I flew off feeling dejected and useless, and I that's when I decided I needed to go were I'd be appreciated.
You are appreciated here. Heaven is your reward for living a pious life.
Some reward! I don't feel appreciated here at all. I've still got a lot to give. That didn't just go away when I died. That's who I am. I'm someone who wants to make other people happy. But this place is saturated with happiness! It's so happy it's making me un-happy.
She continued. Hell, on the other hand. Now there's a lot of potential happiness, a lot of potential niceness just waiting to happen.
She looked dreamy. Yeah, it would take a while, but I think I could do some genuine good in hell.
Are you kidding me? Do you know what it's like down there? What sort of agony you'd be in?
Well, sure, it would take a while to get used to the pain and suffering, but I would. Never underestimate the capacity and determination of the human spirit to adjust to its surroundings, no matter how dire.
Dire, she says. You're talking about hell.
What? It's not like they can kill me. I'm already dead for chrissakes! What's the worst they could do; mix up the torture? Scare me with giant spiders and flesh-eating zombies? After a few years of that, at best I'd get bored.
Ok, so you're bored in hell. Then what?
Then once I got used to things, I'd go around helping other people feel better. And it wouldn't take much to do it. A kind word, a smile, a gentle caress of the cheek. Soon I'd convince others to forget about their pain too.
You'd get them to forget about the pain of being in hell.
That's right. And we'd go around helping other poor, tormented souls.
Well what about the demons?
Yes, the demons. You know, the big, scary fellows inflicting all that torture on those poor souls. You don't think they'll just let you walk around helping people do you? What are you going to do about them?
Oh, I'll be nice to them too.
Yeah. That'll work.
You ever tried it?
Of course not!
I'm not surprised. Heaven's for slackers.
Yes! Heaven's supposed to be full of good people but no one does anything nice for anyone else around here.
So are you calling me a slacker?
Well? When was the last time you did something nice for someone?
I don't HAVE to do something nice for someone! We're in heaven!
My point exactly! It's finished up here. There's nothing to do. But the work's not done down below. It hasn't even started.
What are you talking about?
I'm talking about lovingkindness! That's what they need in hell.
What they need in hell is unending suffering and torture, the bastards.
Oh, that's nice coming from an angel! Do you kiss your Lord with that mouth?
I beg your pardon!
Look, just give me my transfer. Now. I'm going to hell where true kindness is still appreciated.
Fine. You know...just...fine. Here. Here's you right of refusal for your Father's mansion, your canceled salvation, and this is your ticket to hell. Don't forget to turn in your wings, harp and halo. St. Peter will give you back whatever's left on your damage deposit. You'll need it where you're going.
Thanks. About flippin' time. Audios and God bless, jerk!
Oh, and don't let the Pearly Gates hit your ass on the way out!
Sheesh! She didn't seem very nice to me.
She's no angel, that's for sure.