(by Daniel R. Jones)
“I’ve heard thine concerns about English,” he said. “I’m here to show thee the extent of English-speakers’ depravity.”
Level 1- Limbo
He led me to the first layer of perdition. There, I saw the grammar-purists.
“These people aren’t so bad,” I said. “They actually care for the language. What are they here for?”
“Don’t end a sentence with a preposition!” one of the poor souls sneered.
“I see,” I said, as Shakespeare lowered his head solemnly.
Level 2- Heresy
On the second level of the Inferno, I encountered the inverse of Level 1: those with atrocious grammar.
“Well, well, well,” a lost-soul sneered. “I seen you brung us another soul, William.”
I shuddered in horror, and we excused ourselves to Level 3.
Level 3: Greed
In the third circle stood business professionals, spouting off corporate jargon.
“Just so we’re on the same page,” one entrepreneur told another, “this paradigm-shift gives us a win-win, moving forward. That way, we aren’t reinventing the wheel.”
Level 4: Fraud
“The souls in Level 4 use real words, but never correctly,” Shakespeare explained.
“I literally could care less that I’m in hell,” a man exclaimed.
Level 5: Treachery
“What’s so bad about the people in Level 5?” I asked. “They’re happy, at least.”
“They’re smiling because ignorance is bliss,” Shakespeare said. “They use words like ‘awesome sauce’ and pronunciations like ‘skissors.’
“Squeeze me,” a man said as he passed, the listless bovine-look of self-satisfaction in his eyes.
At this point, my ears began to bleed.
Level 6: Gluttony
They say “expresso.”
Level 7- Lust
At this level of hell, we found fad-talkers.
“I’m riding the struggle-bus,” a soul remarked.
“I know, right?” said another. “This level of hell is a hot-mess.”
“THIS,” a third soul said. “Hell used to be lit. Now it’s an epic-fail.”
“This layer is insidious.” the playwright said, turning toward me. “People start saying ‘totes’ and ‘whatevs’ to be funny, but after using these terms so long, they become a part of their lexicon. Before you know it, they’re using ‘cray-cray’ without irony.”
Level 8 -Wrath
Level 8 was filled with souls suffering from the Dunning-Kruger Effect. They have access to a thesaurus, but don’t know how to use it.
They’re also members of the Flat-Earth Society.
Level 9- Violence
“What could be worse than what we’ve seen?” I asked Shakespeare.
Just then, a lost-soul stumbled toward us.
“Supposably, we’re the worst souls in hell, for all intensive purposes,” he said. “But I want to know pacifically what we’ve done wrong. I always went to the libarry when I was alive. I never took books for granite.”
I dropped to my knees and wept. I could smell sulfur in the air as I ground my teeth in indignation.
“It isn’t fair!” I shouted. “Take me from this repulsive place. I swear that I’ll make it my life’s goal to eradicate such senselessness!”
I woke in a cold sweat, reborn in purpose; destined to be an English teacher.