While on a campaign trip in his home state a US senator’s plane tragically crashes and he dies. His soul arrives in heaven and he is met by St. Peter at the entrance.
“Welcome to heaven,” says St. Peter. “But, before you settle in there seems to be a problem. We seldom see senators at these gates, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.” “No problem, just let me in,” says the man.
“Well, I’d like to but I have just received orders from higher up. What we’ll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where you want to spend eternity.”
“It’s not necessary, I’ve made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,” says the senator.
“I’m sorry but we have our rules. You have to see both options.”
And with that, St. Peter escorts him to a special elevator in which he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a luscious green golf course. In the distance is the clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and the other politicians who had worked with him over the years, including a former president.
Everyone looks very happy and they are all dressed in formal attire. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and begin reminiscing about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the common people. They take him to change his clothes and then they play a friendly game of golf. Afterwards they have a sumptious dinner, dining on lobster, prime rib, caviar and champagne. Also present is the devil, who seems to be a really friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes to everyone present. He shakes the senator’s hand and tells him that this is just the beginning. They are having such a good time that, before he realizes it, it is time to go.
Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves as he enters the elevator. The car goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him. “Now it’s time to visit heaven.”
So, 24 hours pass with the senator joining a group of contented souls who spend a lot of time praising God, studying the deep philosophy of life, and singing hymns. They sit down for a sumptious meal of manna and the senator has a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.
“Well then, you’ve spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.”
The senator reflects for a minute, remembering the great golf course down below, then he answers: “Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.”
“Are you sure?” St. Peter asks. “Yes, I am,” the senator replies. St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and the senator goes down, down, down to hell. The doors of the elevator open and he’s in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage, with dead animals piled in heaps alongside hunks of burnt out cars. He sees all his friends, now dressed in rags, with open sores covering their exposed skin. They are on their hands and knees, crawling around and picking up the trash, putting it in black bags, which they drag behind them.
The devil comes over and puts his arm around him, the claws of his hand digging into the senator’s shoulder, sending pain shooting down his arm. “I, I don’t understand,” stammers the senator. “Yesterday there was a golf course and club, and we ate lobster. prime rib, caviar, and drank champagne. We played golf, danced and had a great time. Now everything is a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look sick and miserable. What happened?”
The devil looks at him, smiling as the door of the elevator closes behind him and his claws dig deeper into the senator’s shoulder. “You know the drill, senator. Yesterday we were campaigning. Today you voted, and well, you get what you voted for.”