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Dick Yarbrough: Nothing divine about having to wait for election results
Dick_Yarbrough
Dick Yarbrough

Because of a finite deadline, I won’t be commenting on the election results in Georgia until next week since some of you will see this before the election and some afterward. 

But not to worry. As I have noted previously, American humorist Will Rogers used to say, “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.” Me, too. There will plenty of jokes going forward after the results are in. No matter the outcome or the party, the government is the government and a politician is a politician. 

In the meantime, I have been analyzing Dante Alighieri’s classic poem, the “Divine Comedy.” (How is that for a nifty segue. Jokes? Comedy? Is this guy good or what?) 

Actually, I have discovered that the “Divine Comedy” isn’t funny at all. It would be appropriate to compare it to Bill Maher and Kathy Griffith, who call themselves comedians but who aren’t funny, either.

The “Divine Comedy” is a poem that describes Dante’s dream of traveling through the three realms of the dead: hell, purgatory and heaven. It was written between 1308 and 1320. If Signore Alighieri were to write it today, he might describe hell as Detroit City after dark ,and purgatory as waiting to hear a live voice when you call for service while a robot tells you your call is very important. Heaven could be no place but the University of Georgia, the oldest state-chartered university in the nation, located in Athens, Georgia, the Classic City of the South. (That one is a no-brainer.)

When Dante made his imaginary trip to hell, he discovered nine circles or levels there and where you were located depended on how serious your sin was. For example, there is limbo, where a lot of virtuous pagans reside. I know a couple of atheists who are nicer to deal with than some stiff-necked, know-it-all Bible-thumpers. limbo sounds like just the spot for them.

Of course, some of the pagans could wind up in the Heresy section of hell if they push God too far. That’s not my call. I think some of the stiff-necks are liable to get put in the Sullen and Wrath circle. Maybe they can bring their guns and tell whoever runs that department, it is a “sanctity of life” issue.

Down toward the bottom of Hell is the Violence Circle. I’m not sure how big a deal that was in Dante’s day but we could fill the place up today with all the violence going on. To know a bunch of white supremacists, street gang thugs and ISIS terrorists were sharing the same circle and getting their collective fannies burned would be heavenly.  

There are a bunch of other circles like Lust (Look out, Jimmy Carter. God may forgive you for your racist campaign for governor — I don’t — but He probably remembers you talking to Playboy Magazine about having lust in your heart. You might want to alert your apologists.) And then there is Gluttony where a lot of people end up when their arteries explode after their second and third trips waddling through the line at the All-You-Can-Eat buffet.

A lot has happened since Dante wrote his “Divine Comedy” some 700 years ago describing who goes to what circle in Hell and why. With all due respect, the poem could use a bit of an update. We’ve got a whole new crowd that deserves consideration for a miserable forever after. Let’s start with robocallers who manage to disrupt our supper and the bad people who try to trick us on the internet into giving them our bank account information. 

Anybody who abuses a child or an animal needs to go to hell, where a Rottweiler can chew on their nose into eternity while cherubs slap them upside the head.

And let’s leave room for the professional football players who make millions of dollars playing a kid’s game while siring multiple children with multiple mommas, slapping around their girlfriends, snorting drugs, getting in nightclub brawls but still finding the time to kneel on Sunday and disrespect their country, alleging police brutality. Wait! Did I just generalize? My bad. They would never do that. 

Please don’t tell Dante I said this, but I find the “Divine Comedy” a divine bore. Will Rogers is a lot funnier. If it wasn’t for this infernal deadline, I would already be jerking the chains of a bunch of pompous politicians. Having to wait a week is just pure — well, you know.


Dick Yarbrough is a North Georgia resident whose column regularly appears Saturdays. Contact him at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139; online at dickyarbrough.com; or on Facebook.


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