While suffering greatly from illness once again, something that typically and suspiciously appears to be pneumonia, I fell into a fevered state of lucid dreaming - inclusive of music, reflections of myself in the mirror and a hovering OBE (out-of-body-experience), or Google map point-of-view for the less informed and the worst possible realization regarding Hell.
I was driving through some non-descript looking desert in the middle of the day, driving what appeared to be one of those boxey Toyota FJ cross-over vehicles (sign you're in hell - red flag number 1) and listening to the radio which was playing one of the most obnoxious songs in recent memory (not Aqua's Barbie Girl), which strangely for me is a U2 number called Vertigo, and if you've ever heard it, you'd likely agree (red flag number 2). It has the tinge of a desperate, overweight 45 year old's mid-life crisis written all over it. Perhaps I've just heard too many older, balding white men blaring that song from their drop-top piss yellow Corvette, wearing Ed Hardy clothes at the stop light to ever have a warm and cozy spot in my heart for that song ever again. Maybe it's just me. The radio played:
"A girl with crimson nails - has Jesus round her neck."
I knew there was reason to be frightened imediately. I looked up from staring at my hands on the steeringwheel (yes, Carlos Castaneda, I know what this signifies) instead of out the windshield and on the road that was glaring in at me, saw my face in the rearview mirror, and could see that I was about twenty years older; not good (red flag number 3). Prophetic visions while sick are never good, no matter what one says. I want to see real, long-range data to back up any claims to the contrary.
A moment later, I realized that I was now working as a Real Estate Agent (red flag number 4) and going to either show a house to someone or check in on one. The thought of it repulsed me so much, that I could feel a cold chill run down my spine lying there asleep.
While I do currently know several people, who are friends and family, who make their living at this trade, it is my contention that Real Estate sales is actually one of the worst jobs on the face of the Earth and sales in general is a troubling, fraught filled trade that has more lost souls than any other -- much like Hell.
A person could spend their entire lives chasing down sales, trying to culminate a worthwhile lead list, develop a name for themselves, ad naseum, all while getting absolutely nowhere. The chase of the ideal with zero return is probably the most debilitating thing I know. Christianity does something similar, but at least promises you a grand afterlife. Sales, is almost the same thing, except no heaven at all; either here or later. Just more coffee and the promise that someone will come in later and give you a 'motivational lecture' where you'll likely leave feeling less worthwhile than when you went in.
So, when I say that my version of Hell on Earth would be to be involved in Real Estate sales, I mean no offense. I've just worked in sales for enough years in my life, to know that it would be a crime to wish that career choice any any one. I worked in car sales for quite a length of time, sold a respectable 15-20 cars a month for the dealership, but could barely ever afford anything more than cat food for myself because of how crooked and dishonest most car dealerships are. If you're not in the inner circle of salespeople, regardless of how much you sell, you won't share in the rewards. I guarantee it. I also worked in door to door sales, where you usually only make enough just to keep you afloat and hungry. Did the same thing in software sales and telemarketing, too. But that's the whole point of sales, from Upper Management's perspective, isn't it?
"Keep the body -- in the wheel, turning, burning or screaming." - Zig Ziglar / Pope Urban II
If you die and go to Hell, the general thought (by most theological scholars, like C.S. Lewis for example), is that you probably wouldn't know it, because half of the joy of Upper Management, so to speak, is delude you into believing that you're actually not in Hell. A perverse and sadistic sense of gratification will always be present in those kinds of relationships.
I read an article recently that spoke about it in terms of what is known as Gaslighting -- which, this would be Gaslighting, but with a completely opposite desired effect. Instead of telling your partner that they're completely delusional or crazy, you would be told that you're perfectly sane, wonderful and living in Paradise. You would be getting gas lit and motivated to keep chasing something that just doesn't exist. That's evil, people. Pure evil.
C.S. Lewis states in Mere Christianity, that you make your own Heaven or Hell for yourself here on Earth. It's merely my opinion, but Sales is probably the fastest most direct route to the latter. He also states that little by little, after many years of working against yourself, you will actually find yourself in Hell and likely not recognize it. In my copy of the book, it's somewhere near page 70, but don't quote me.
My dream ended with me hovering over the desert, staring down at the buildings and seeing the traffic moving and people walking around, oblivious to me and for some reason all I could notice was the pricing numbers that were showing up in glowing white figures on top of the buildings and all the property was strangely devalued to about 60% of what it is now - if that's any indication for you as to what I foretell for the future. I don't know how that sits with the current thinking about a Kondratiev Winter, but it was just a dream. More Nyquill, please. Less Mitch & Murray. No Steak Knives, either.
As a sidenote, as I was writing this blog post, my sister posted a video for me to see on Facebook which involved Vivaldi (whom I love immensely) and U2 (whom I also love) -- but as a mashup of ... you guessed it ... Vertigo. Red Flag number 5.