One of my co-workers/friends went to Hell* recently and upon his return sent out this FAQ regarding his visit.
Is there a highway to Hell?
Yes. It is Michigan county road D-32. And yes, I was also disappointed with this designation. For fun, the residents of Hell like to call the highway Route 666, but apparently the officials of Livingston County don’t have a sense of humor.
Is the road to Hell really paved with good intentions?
Yes. But, not surprisingly, good intentions look and feel a lot like asphalt.
Is Hell under-ground?
The village of Hell is not under-ground. Or, at least the tourist spots aren’t. It’s possible that the shop I stopped in had a back way to the under-ground areas of Hell, but apparently I didn’t have security clearance to see that.
Isn’t it true that once you enter Hell, you can never leave?
Yes, unless you are awarded an exit visa. In order to secure an exit visa, all you have to do is buy something in Hell’s gift shop.
Uh… that doesn’t make sense. If all it took to get out of Hell was to buy a hokey souvenir, wouldn’t tortured souls be leaving Hell in droves?
Tortured souls don’t have money. Duh. And besides, what can be more torturous than knowing that you could escape Hell if only you had one lousy dollar to buy a “See You In Hell” refrigerator magnet? (There is one theologian who believes that Hell exit visas did, in fact, result in a mass exodus from Hell in 1992, explaining the unusually high number of people who, in the presidential election that year, voted for Ross Perot.)
What is the temperature of Hell?
This is a very important question, as people are constantly saying things like, “It’s hotter than Hell” or “It’s colder than Hell”, clearly without knowing what they are talking about. The truth is, the temperature in the village of Hell varies, like the rest of Michigan, with the seasons. This makes sense when you think about it. Nothing says “Hell” like not knowing what to wear in the spring and fall.
Did you see any demons?
Since demons typically move about in disguise, this is an impossible question to answer. I did see a guy driving a pickup with a “Perot in ‘04” bumper-sticker on it, though.
Did you meet Satan?
No. Contrary to popular belief, Satan does not reside in Hell. No rock stars were living there either. Not above-ground, anyway.
Did Hell look anything like Dante’s Inferno?
Dante’s Inferno is a work of fiction. I suppose it’s possible that the under-ground areas of Hell, if they exist, might look like Dante’s description of Hell. But I have no reason to believe Dante would have merited access to these areas while I would not. I’m a manager, for cripes sakes.
Did you see Cerberus?
There is no gate to the village of Hell, and thus no three-headed dogs guarding it. If “lower regions” exist and there is a gate to these regions, I didn’t see it.
Did you see the river Styx?
Yes. But the locals call it Hell Creek. Hell creek is dammed (appropriately enough), creating a lake that, I’m told, is very pleasant to swim in.
Do people who take a dip become immortal, like Achilles?
Nobody will say. When Achilles was killed, his mother, Thetis, filed a lawsuit against Hades for false advertising. Ever since then, the extraordinary qualities of Hell Creek have been downplayed. I’d have tested it myself, but it was freezing when I was there, and living forever just didn’t seem worth it.
So did you see Hades, then?
No. Hades retired from public life not long after the Achilles scandal. He now runs a Hooters restaurant in Saginaw.
Were the people nice to you?
The people were extremely nice, as you would expect from a Midwestern, small-town community. If this runs counter to your hell-logical sensitivities, then consider one of the following: either the residents of Hell are demons who welcome a break from being cruel, or the residents of Hell are the human damned who welcome the break from being tortured. I reckon they’re just good ‘ol Midwestern folk, but I’m not going to force my religious convictions on others.
Hell actually sounds a lot more boring than I imagined. Is it?
Admittedly, most of the fun in visiting Hell is in telling people you’ve been there. But isn’t that true about most places? How many times have you heard people visiting the Grand Canyon say, “This is it???” Sure… it happens all the time. But I’ll visit Hell again. I thought it was fun.
Where do I get some of that premium merchandise you brought back from your trip?
You can just go to Hell.
Or you can visit Hell’s website at www.hell2u.com.