The New Circles of Hell

Dante’s Inferno is the first part of Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy.   It is an allegory telling of the journey of Dante through what is largely the medieval concept of Hell, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as nine circles of suffering located within the Earth.

Each circle represents a sin (lust, gluttony, avarice, etc.) and a corresponding punishment.  Since it was written in the 14th century, it needs some updating.   Your humble writer offers a few updated circles.  I will only offer new circles of suffering; I leave the punishments (with one exception) up to you.

Double dippers:

  • These are the people who dip their chips into the salsa after they have already taken a first bite.  They are joined by those guilty of eating with their mouths open and spewing their food over a dining buffet.

Traffic offenders: 

  • Among the habitués of this circle are: the woman who has a car with a “baby on board” hanging sign and is driving at 90 miles per hour with a cell phone in one hand and cosmetic eye-liner in the other.
  • The guy who drives slowly until the traffic light turns amber and then speeds up through the intersection so that you are left stranded at a red light.
  • The guys who drive in the fast lane at one mile over the speed limit and will not yield to a slower lane.
  • The people who, like pilot fish, spend their driving time in your blind spot.

Germ sharers:

  • Here we find the people who feel the need to share their germs by sneezing and coughing all over you.  These people always feel the need to come to work during the contagious stage of an illness.  The same people wipe their nose before shaking your hand and leave the lavatory without washing their hands.

Space crowders:

  • The people who block an entire aisle and then act upset when you ask them to move.
  • People who, in an otherwise empty theatre, parking lot or waiting room, place themselves right next to you.  (The ones in the waiting room often do double duty as germ sharers.)
  • I also include the people who, at a party, stand too close to you and proceed to spit all over you as they tell their stories (which are not interesting).


  • This circle is self explanatory.  I make an exception to meting out punishments.  For eternity, every telemarketer will not be allowed to finish dinner, watch television, read a book or complete any activity because they will be interrupted by a constant stream of phone calls pitching the very products they were trying to foist on us during their lifetimes.  A special punishment is reserved for the guys from New York City who are trying to sell you stocks, won’t let you off the phone and refer to you by your first name as though you were best friends.  They get interrupted for eternity by Donald Trump.  Unless they happen to like Donald Trump, in which case they get interrupted by exercise enthusiast Richard Simmons.

I’m sure that you have others to add.  Let me know.  Hell has room for them.

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