My internet provider is Comcast, which means I have sick fantasies about making the people who work their phone services suffer. It’s in no way fair because it’s just their job. They’re probably trained and forced to act how they do, and at the end of the day they might even feel guilty about it. But that doesn’t stop me, and there’s a particular scenario that I like to revisit.
I like to envision a special, reserved spot in hell to which they go when they die. I imagine them waking up in a place that somehow instinctively feels like their living room, but they know that it’s not. The space is hot, and it smells like the internet hasn’t worked in two days. As they try to figure out why they have the unnerving feeling of their cable box not functioning they see a letter sitting on the coffee table. They open it up. It’s addressed to them. It’s a bill – a bill for life. Oh, great, they’re dead. So this is what it’s like. How mundane. Hardly feeling the weight of their own passing they decide to look over this bill for their existence. Listed are key moments, things that happened that might be considered pinnacle, or at least substantial in some way. And then they realize there’s a price next to all of them.
Purchase: Upgrade to Walking – price: $35.01.
Purchase: First Kiss – Price: $12.95.
Purchase: Learning to Ride a Bike – price: $15.95.
Purchase: Take up Baseball – price: $25.99
They skim through the rest of the “purchases” and begin to justify them in their head, assuming that’s how things must have worked. They don’t want to be one of “those people,” anyway; the kind that complain about services that they chose to partake in – or the kind of person that nitpicks about things when it’s just the way things are. Either way, they need to actually look at the total.
A BILLION DOLLARS
HOLD ON HOW EVEN
This number is the apex of daunting. How in the hell are they going to pay for it? Especially since they’re dead. They begin to look back over the charges and they start to realize that some of them don’t make sense. When they signed up for life they chose the Natural Birth Package because it offered the Walking Upgrade free of charge, so why are they being charged for said upgrade? And they never played baseball at all, they played Football – for which they’re being charged twice. At the end of the letter there’s a toll free number for questions and concerns. Suddenly there’s a phone on the table. They pick it up, punch in the number, and dial, but they’re met with an automated answering service. Great.
“You have reached the Life After Death Customer Service line. We care about your needs very much and wish to help you in any way possible. For English, press one.”
The number one is pressed.
“Para español , pulse dos.”
Weird, they already pressed one.
“Pour le français, appuyez sur trois.”
“Für Deutsch, drücken Sie vier.”
Ugh, come on. One, one, one.
After spending thirty minutes listening to it list off every language ever spoke on earth, and the disgruntled former Comcast employee pressing ‘one’ after every option in vein, the automated voice returns to something they can understand.
“Please select a number according to your desired language now.”
“Por favor seleccione un número de acuerdo con el idioma que desee ahora.”
Oh please Jesus no.
“S’il vous plaît sélectionner un certain nombre en fonction de votre langue désirée maintenant.”
NO. NO, PLEASE STOP.
“Bitte wählen sie eine zahl nach nun die gewünschte sprache.”
They fall onto the couch in despair and listen for another thirty minutes. The numbness of the wait has almost put them into a coma when they hear, “Are you still there?”
MOTHER OF WHICHEVER GOD THEY USED TO WORSHIP, YES, YES, THEY’RE STILL THERE. ONE. ONE. ONE. ONE ONE ONE ONE ONE ONE–
“To upgrade your existing After Life package, press one. To sign up for online automated billing, press two. For concerns regarding bill and payment, press three.”
“… Are you sure you do not want to press one?”
“… Pressing one will allow you to upgrade your After Life Package, giving you an ever better After Life experience.”
THREE THREE THREE–
“Please hold while we connect you to a representative. While you wait, enjoy the newest album by U2, entitled “WHILE ON HOLD” free of charge, which we will stream directly to your phone and download into your ALTunes library now.”
This is so many forms of hell at once. What could they have possibly done that this is their afterlife? All they want is for a rightful correction to be made; simple, honest justice; to be treated with respect – like a human being, instead of just an account number.
The album, the construction of which seems to have been a contest for how much bullshit seen through the tint of the most goobest of sunglasses in all the land could be pulled out of a single butthole, plays three times on repeat before someone picks up the line.
“Thank you for holding, this is Jeremy. How can I help y–”
The call drops.