The First Circle of Hell

At 16, it was really important to me that people knew I was smart. I had a 4.0 when I graduated high school and would have liked to have been in more Advanced Placement classes, because it would have sounded more impressive. I’d have made lower grades, though, so I stayed where I was. Nine years later, I have a master’s degree, so I no longer feel I have to prove myself… as much. In the tenth grade, however, I used to read deeply complex literature of my own accord. While I enjoyed it, the aforementioned reason was probably the greater motivator. See. Look at how I speak by default? Clearly, it’s just ingrained in me today. Who the fuck just says “aforementioned”?

Anyway, after reading and loving The Bell Jar, I recalled hearing that The Inferno was just an impossible read. I never told anyone that I “heard” this from the young adult book series with which I was completely obsessed just a year earlier. I’d like to call your attention to the proper use of “with which” in the previous sentence. I think I’ve made my point. As a Catholic going through Confirmation, I decided I was up for the challenge. I did understand the story, but that was, in part, due to the brief synopsis that preceeded each chapter. It’s a great book and it’s really stuck with me, which is why I am constantly relating things I don’t like to Dante’s Seven Circles. This is my view of the first Circle. I won’t go past that, because I’d rather not discuss baby rape.

The First Circle of Hell

You have to comfort a crying person who you don’t know that well.

You’re forced to change into wet clothes over and over again. There’s not even the relief of taking said clothing off. It just goes away and more wet clothing appears at your feet.

The microwave beeps perpetually in the background.

Periodically, you just have to drive around lost.

Someone stands near you loudly smacking gum.

There’s a screening of every chick flick ever made… on loop.

Every time you snap at someone (you’re testy because you’re in the first Circle of Hell) there’s a guy you care about too much to punch responding with “you’re just being a girl.”

The place is filled with signs reading “could of” and employing the incorrect usage of their/there/they’re and your/you’re.

Everyone repeatedly uses the phrase “needless to say” and asks about the “libary.”

The only available food is Junior Mints or Hershey bars covered in toothpaste, which are the same thing.

You’ve just shaved your legs, but it’s too cold to wear a skirt, so you have to cover up and the effort was wasted.

You’re hungover, but you have to hide it or you’ll be demoted a Circle.

You not only have to read poetry, but discuss it, in-depth, with people who love it.

I have to listen to myself sing in an out-of-body experience.

Any time you take a drink, you lift the cup to your lips thinking it’s water and get milk.

You have to care for a small child who whines everything (which is why they’re in Hell.)

Everyone uses text speak (not ironically), saying “IDK” and “OMG” aloud, while periodically throwing in a reference to their “bestie boo.”

Gilbert Godfried and Fran Drescher are having loud and vocal sex just within ear shot.

Facebook is flooded with political opinions… oh, wait.

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