Here’s a joke I heard the other day:
A prominent senator passed away and found himself standing in front of the pearly gates. He approaches the gates only to be stopped by St. Peter.
“Senator,” he says. “We’ve been expecting you. But there appears to be some sort of mix up. I don’t see your name here on either list.”
The senator replied, “Well, I definitely want to go to heaven.”
“I’m sorry, senator, but it doesn’t quite work that way. We do have rules to follow. So here’s what we’ll do. You will spend 24 hours in Hell and 24 hours in Heaven and then you can decide for yourself.”
With that, an elevator door appears, opens and the senator steps in. Down he goes. And a long way down. Finally, the doors open and he’s astonished by what he sees. Rolling, green hills, blossoming trees, and blue skies. As he steps out of the elevator and a crowd of good friends comes from off in the horizon to greet him. Every one of them is tan and fit, beaming and happy to see him. Out of the midst of the crowd steps the devil.
“Welcome, senator. I hope you enjoy your stay.” He puts his arm around the senator and gives him the grand tour.
He and his friends have a grand feast of a meal, play a full 18 holes of golf and then feast again. Soon his 24 hours are up. His friends give him a grand send-off and the Devil himself sees him off to the elevator.
“Good to meet you senator. Come back real soon.”
After a long ride upward the elevator doors open to Heaven. The senator steps out and is welcomed through the pearly gates for the next 24 hours. Everyone there greets him with love. They spend hours traveling from cloud to cloud, playing music, discussing the wonders and explaining the mysteries of the universe. The senator never felt so at peace but the 24 hours passes in a flash.
“So what will it be, senator?” St. Peter asks. “Heaven or hell?”
The senator thinks hard then says, “Well, I really did have a glorious time here in Heaven. It is magnificent. But … all of my friends are in Hell and there’s a lot of fun to be had there. So I guess I’ve made my choice. Please send me back down to Hell.”
“So be it,” says St. Peter and escorts the senator to the elevator.
After the long ride down the doors open and the senator is once again astonished. But this time, he sees a barren landscape. It’s oppressively hot, fires burn, the smell of brimstone in the air overwhelms his senses. He sees his friends in the distance but this time they look miserable. They’re dressed in rags, moaning and in great discomfort and pain.
The Devil appears out of nowhere. “Welcome back, senator. It’s good to see you.”
“But…I was here just yesterday and it was idyllic. What happened??”
The Devil gives him a big, toothy grin and says, “Yesterday we were campaigning. Today you voted.”