Altar Boy

Dear Reid,

There is a theological issue that has been bothering me a lot lately, and I’m hoping that you might offer some insight. I know that you’re no theologian, but I’ve also heard that key global religious figures, from the Pope to the Dalai Llama, turn to “Dear Reid” when they need advice.

Here’s the dilemma: If I sold my soul in exchange for doing something mean to the devil, would God forgive me? After all, he must want the devil to get what he’s got coming, no? On a grand scale, what would happen if I sold my soul, in exchange for Lucifer’s ass being sent on a one-way trip into a realm of chaotic nothingness? On a smaller scale, if I sold my soul in exchange for punching the devil bastard in his face, what would result? What if I urinated in his coffee?

And another, related question: Would the devil want you to do something mean to him? Of course he would encourage violence and trickery (he is, after all, the Prince of Darkness, chief huckster of them all), but would he be willing to take a beating himself for your soul? Or drink coffee mixed with urine? Or… well, you get the point.

I’ve tried contacting Mephistopheles himself during his KUMM show, but he won’t talk unless I make a request that he likes. So far, I’ve had no luck, but I know that he hates Jewel and Semisonic. Next week, I’m going to try requesting Hanson; I’m willing to bet that he plays “Mmm… Bop” on the loudspeakers of hell, twenty-four hours per day. Please, I need your help.

Sign me,
Altar Boy

I know how you feel. This is a question man has wrestled with for ages. Sometimes, when struggling with such a complex theological dilemma, one may feel as if he or she is groping in the dark, like a rodent searching for cheese. It is times like these when you have to realize that you have to take a good long look at yourself. If that doesn’t work, remember the wise words of Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle.
Perplexing as your question is, I can’t help but wonder what would drive you into such soul-searching (or soul-selling?) deliberations. Are you going through some sort of post-adolescent, idealistic phase? Sometimes it is necessary, rather than delving so deep inside your psyche and battling with issues of biblical grandiosity, to look for a solution closer to the surface. I don’t know who Mephistopheles is, but if he’s playing Hanson on KUMM, you can be sure that the whole group of them have already made a deal with the devil.

Consider, for a moment, your childhood. Remember those Sunday afternoons, when the family would all go out to lunch at Perkins after church. Think back to what you chose to order on those happy trips. Did you choose the usual kid’s meal, a grilled cheese sandwich and French fries, or on the days when you felt like breakfast, silver-dollar pancakes? Or did you pick a more sordid, eerie menu item, such as a side of bacon, and nothing else? If you are one of the latter type, you may not have to worry about whether God would save your soul, even after you sold it to the devil, if you punched him (the devil, not God) in the face.

Perhaps your dining habits are more bizarre still, as I can only infer by your unique substitute for non-dairy creamer. Perhaps you are one of the special few—and only an infinitely small number of this type of personality exist—who enjoy licking the little packet of jelly they serve with toast as if it were a lolli-pop. For if you are one of these, you need not worry about the musings of Greek philosophers, you need not fear the Prince of Darkness, and you need not listen to the Hanson sisters sing their little hearts out ever again. You’re already so batty that, well, I’m afraid there’s no hope for you.

To offer a solution to your enigma, I believe you are in a position to win both ways. Call up old Satan, and make him the offer: your soul in exchange for the thing about him going into chaotic nothingness. In one fell swoop, you will have gotten all the benefits that come from selling your soul (which would be…?), you will have banished Beelzebub forever, and you will have put yourself into benevolent favor—that is, if God isn’t severely pissed at you for selling your soul in the first place. It seems obvious to me.

Why do people keep sending me questions about this life-and-death crap, anyway? Let’s try to get some serious human relationship letters for a change, folks—that’s really my area of expertise, as anyone who knows me will tell you.

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