Eternal damnation is matter of perspective

Published 9:56 am Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The nightmare began with me watching television in Hell.

In my state of terrorized slumber, I had only two choices of programs from the Hell Satellite Network….Fox News or Barney & Friends.

The thought of the purple dinosaur relentlessly singing “I love you, you love me” took me back more than a decade, when my now sixteen-year-old daughter, Katie, looked up to him like a rock star. He and his friends, Baby Bop, B.J. and Riff drove me insane with their perpetual happiness.

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Every episode Katie made me watch was like having ash-covered toothpicks plunged deep into my pupils.

But in the nightmare, I was forced to choose between polar opposites for my sole eternal program. Did I want to spend eternity with anachronistic reptiles who sing a happy song, or wealthy radicals who thrive on riling the masses with elitist propaganda?

Satan himself stood before me, threatening to raise the thermostat another 300 degrees if I didn’t decide quickly.

Granted, I did not want to choose Barney or his vast array of friends. To me, their continually cheerful tunes were the epitome of Hell.

But the alternative was Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck…and association with the awful assortment of tormented souls, which included most of Jerry Springer’s followers, who choose to live lives full of hatred fueled by willful ignorance.

It was, “Won’t you say you love me too?” versus “Won’t you hate everyone who doesn’t share our point of view?” for eternity.

With my mind set on Barney, I looked at Satan and said, “Dude, I’d rather spend a million years listening to Eminem or Fifty Cent than be forced to watch Fox News for 10 seconds.”

With a wry grin, he said, “Exactly! Most people who come to Hell want to watch Fox News, but I don’t give them the option.”

“So why did you give it to me?”

“Because this is Hell.”

When I woke up, my sweat-soaked pillow was rivaled in saturation only by my urine-drenched comforter. Ann Coulter was still alive and well, slinging hatred with every keystroke. Bill O’Reilly was still fanning the flames of media-created discontent.

And Jerry Springer was still doing the same thing the aforementioned people do — playing on our desire for sick drama and making money from it.

Somewhere, a snake-oil salesman was analyzing his customer base.

Suddenly, Barney’s “We’re a happy family” mantra seems welcome.

Billy Bruce is a freelance writer who lives in Pedro. He can be contacted at