Which circle of hell are you?

High school is a lot like Dante’s divine comedy, writes Ms. Cornelius of A Shrewdness of Apes.

. . . high school is organized into concentric circles of despair and Sisyphean drudgery which align quite nicely with the Nine Circles of Hell our friend and eternal optimist Dante Alighieri described so fully.

My favorite is Circle 5 for the “wrathful and sullen” seniors.

The ones who SWORE that they would never want to go to college or trade school have lost a bit of that sneer as they are slowly coming to the realization that after antagonizing Mom and Dad for the last six years, what with the brushes with the law and the suspensions and the phone calls from school and the poor grades, their parents are COUNTING the days until they can tell their offspring that their bedroom has become an exercise room, and seven bucks an hour at TWO part time jobs at fast food joints minus something called FICA and social security will get them a run-down one bedroom apartment with three roommates, rides to work on a bus, peanut butter sandwiches, no vacations EVER– much less three months in a row off, no health care, and tennis shoes from K-Mart, not Foot Locker. No bling, no phat threads, and no pimpin’ any rides. Suddenly four years of sitting in a classroom listening to someone drone on and on about 18th century British literature or the principles of accounting doesn’t sound nearly as stupefying as fifty years of soul-destroying repetitive labor where you come home at the end of the day with the smell of fried food permeating even your HAIR, which you now have to get cut at Great Clips four times a year.

Read it all.

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  1. Significantly, in this version of the Divine Comedy it appears that hell is populated exclusively by damned souls. Someone’s responsible for inflicting eternal torment but who?

  2. Allen: Demons are unnecessary. The damned inflict more torments than anyone could possibly deserve upon themselves and each other with no outside help. (This is much closer to Buddhist philosophy than Christian theology, but it’s been my experience in life.)

    Of course, from another perspective the responsible parties are quite clear. I learned in the service that the officer in charge is responsible for what goes wrong on his watch, and the commander is responsible for putting that idiot in charge and therefore responsible for everything. That is, the administrators are responsible for all the problems. Besides that, there’s evidence that taking them out and shooting them would improve both the average intelligence of the school staff and of humanity in general.