• Lonely at a party, doctor calls attention to how marriage takes you to hell and back
Today wasn’t one of those days a man wants to remember or for which he wants to be remembered. I was invited to a social gathering that included most of my married colleagues. Usually, these occasions call for a lifelong bachelor like myself to bring a companion of my choice or at the very least secure the services of a professional escort. Of course, I find the latter distasteful, seeing as I have full confidence in my ability to sweet-talk any skirt-wearer of legal age.
Well, not today.
First, my date stood me up, sending a lame excuse via text. I mean, who does that? All the better anyway, since I would have made for lousy company after having lost a patient earlier in the afternoon. You’d think as a doctor I would be used to the idea of the death of patients under my care, but you’d be wrong. You care for a patient long enough, they become like family. I decided to attend the party solo, hoping the jovial mood would be a good pick-me-up.
Well, that didn’t go too well either.
Halfway through a bottle of Dom Perignon (yes, the one that’s almost 5ok a pop), I realised the conversation around the table had turned to the exultation of married life. I stood up and tapped my glass like a groom’s best man about to give a speech. All eyes turned to me — some amused, the rest annoyed like hell.
“I am now going to tell you a joke,” I said drunkenly. “A man died and went to heaven. At the pearly gates, Angel Gabriel says to him, ‘You have to decide where you want to go: heaven or hell. But before that, you get one day of orientation at each place. Where do you want to start?’”
“The man said, ‘That’s easy. I’ll start with hell since I know I won’t like it.’ But guess what? In hell, he partied all day, played golf, had his choice of women, all the good stuff. He spent the next day in heaven, bored as fu— as hell — singing hymns and picking roses for Jesus’ throne. He couldn’t wait to go back to hell and have some real fun.
“At the end of the second day, Angel Gabriel asks him, ‘So, where to, son?’
“‘To hell, of course. I can’t stand heaven, man.’
“So, Angel Gabriel sends him to hell. When he arrives, he finds people burning and screaming in pain as the Devil works them with a pitchfork. ‘What’s going on?’ he asks. ‘This place was kicking yesterday.’
“The Devil smiles and says, ‘That was orientation day, dude. Today is the real thing.’
“Kind of sounds like marriage, doesn’t it? I bet it was fun that first day, Dr Marende. How’s the real thing now?”
And that’s how I got kicked out of the party. But was I that wrong, though?