#2. Anyone You Ever Slandered
Most of my online existence and humor career have involved some form of hatred and disdain. For Cracked alone, I've hated on Jessica Simpson, the Black Eyed Peas, James Cameron and Cracked's own Adam Tod Brown. But I've always felt that each of my attacks was justified and honest (with the exception of Adam, who, duh, I'm just teasing, you silly people). In print and in real life, I've tried never to engage in wholly invented smack-talking. And while everyone falls from grace every now and then, there are some people who will say just about anything at any time.
Maybe they slander co-workers for their own gain. Maybe they slander exes to make themselves look better. It doesn't matter. Some people just see the truth as an unnecessary boundary to the sprawling expanse of bullshit they want to create.
Ah, finally. Enough room for all my sh*t.
So now I'm up to the point of the entry where I say that in Hell they meet everyone they've ever slandered, right? But I don't think that's enough. I know liars are not necessarily child molesters and axe murderers, but, somehow, I just don't think they'd be very moved by such a confrontation. I'm pretty sure if I met up with an old boss of mine and confronted him about laying off hundreds of people while simultaneously publishing a press release claiming that no layoffs had occurred, he wouldn't be the least bit embarrassed. "It was good for the company" or "I'm sure you would have done the same" or "I clear eight figures a year, why am I even talking to you?" would all come out of his mouth before "I'm sorry" or even "Oops."
So maybe in Hell a guy like that does meet everyone he's slandered, but mostly only so they can bear witness to his suffering. What suffering? Probably watching his material possessions burn or being told by anyone who ever made the mistake of letting him crawl inside that he was a failed and pathetic lover. Even better, watching him find out about every miscalculation he ever made that prevented him from making even more money. Because it really all comes down to that for those people. Even in the midst of searing rectal pain and violation, they'll be consumed by how they had the chance to invest in Apple at 15 cents a share and just blew it.
Only 15 cents and ... AAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHHHHHHHHHH! ... but seriously, the return on that investment would have been .... AAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIGH!!!!!
#1. The Redeemed Sinners Who Have Become Judgmental Tyrants Get to Meet Themselves
We all go through tough times. Some of us bring it upon ourselves, while others are seemingly fated to suffer. But if you're fortunate to make it through, it seems one of two things can happen to you: you become a better, stronger and, most of all, more empathetic person, or you turn into a bitter, judgmental tyrant.
Take some of those purporting to be people of faith who throw hatred at scared young women finding their way into abortion clinics. How many of those devout have had abortions themselves earlier in life? This is not the time or place to debate the validity of the pro-choice or right to life movements -- only to address those people who feel that overcoming their own adversities has given them a free pass to rain abuse and judgment down upon anyone who reminds them of who they once were. For some, there is an unspoken belief that each scream of "Sinner!" pushes their own dark times and uncertainty farther away.
Or let's go another way. Many years ago, for a very short time, I worked for an incredibly (politically and religiously) conservative, straight-laced organization. I found it overwhelmingly oppressive, and hated every moment there and the games I was expected to play. But of all these uber-white, ultra conservative men, do you know who had the least sympathy for my grumblings? Who was the hardest on me? One of my gay, liberal bosses. Even though she never said a word, I knew what she was thinking: "Oh, boo-hoo, Democrat Jew boy. You think you got it bad? I'm a woman in an old boy's network. And not just a woman, but a huge lesbian! That's right, I go out and have sex with women, and I deal with these guys and their polished hair, three-piece suits and homophobia. So if you have to dress right, pretend to support beliefs you hate and suck ass all day (in a non-gay way), then do it."
That's right. I may not be as pretty as Soren, but I can read the minds of lesbians everywhere.
Or how about those people who overcome their physical addictions and spend their sobriety not counseling the afflicted or feeling their pain, but turning their noses up? "I've been there, but now I'm here. Screw those guys for not getting through what I could."
I find a special place in Hell for all these people because, quite simply, they should know better. They've actively rejected the life lessons taught to them and traded empathy in for self-satisfied arrogance. Their punishment is not to meet those they've wronged, but to spend eternity with themselves. And not just because they'll be confronted with their own hypocrisy, but because this is Hell, and judgmental tyrants are just miserable company.
Gladstone has brought back HATE BY NUMBERS. Also follow Gladstone on Twitter and stay up to date on the latest regarding Notes from the Internet Apocalypse. And then there's his website and Tumblr, too.