What’s On Your Go-to-Heck List?

by Emily Kemme
What's On Your Go-to-Heck List

The original concept for this post was to philosophize about what is on my go-to-hell list, but as I was developing the idea, there were urgings from some in the peanut gallery that I remain euphemistically positive. I debated the issue with them and fought like heck to avoid any appearance of coyness, because I believe it’s essential to state it like it is. There shouldn’t be any beating around the bush, making nice, dissembling, or doublespeak. People ought to know where you stand from the get-go. At least, that’s what I see happening in the Presidential debates.

Doesn’t everybody have a Go-to-hell list?

It all began when I mentioned to a friend in an email that a category of professionals involved in our house remodel last year topped my go-to-hell list.  She expressed surprise. It wasn’t the fact that I had compiled such a list, because, as she pointed out, “Doesn’t everyone?” It wasn’t my finger-pointing of the professionals themselves, because we both agreed that those who command darkness and light can be troublesome to work with, at times. The issue for her was that I had verbalized the label, as in, be a lady and don’t talk like that.

My Mom and Dad, who always try to be helpful, sent me a list of alternatives for consideration. Since they were the ones who used to wash my mouth out with soap — only figuratively, I was not an abused child — I gave it a look.

But while euphemisms and stand-in epithets for hell make for a marshmallow-soft landing, they don’t carry the same punch as the real thing. Often, the stand-in word misdirects shame on a word that doesn’t deserve it.

One option is “blazes,” because we all know it’s hot as an “inferno” in the “underworld,” a place of “misery,” “anguish,” and “nightmare.” In the “infernal regions” of the “bottomless pit,” there will be “suffering,” “torment,” “trial,” and “affliction.” It will be a “difficulty,” should we find ourselves in this “lower world.” “Halifax,” in particular, and less specifically, “the hot place,” are a few examples of locales which exemplify the destination.

Except I think it would be complete “wretchedness” to substitute these words, essentially labeling the innocent and blameless, by ascribing to them the attributes of our imaginings of hell itself.

Without blazes, we no longer have the warmth of fire, the ability to feed ourselves and others, the brilliance of the color red, or the speed of lightening. When temperatures plummet, I’m happy if the heater is hot as an inferno. Misery and anguish are the unfortunate course of human experience, nightmares are simply our brains working out problems during REM sleep, and a bottomless pit is what I turn into when I approach an All-U-Can Eat Buffet. Should I overindulge, there will be suffering and torment, but I’ll most likely feel better in the morning. Trials are part of jurisprudence and democracy, and affliction is what you go see your doctor to cure.

There are always difficulties, particularly if British Airways loses your luggage en route to the lower world, but these are unfair derogations of those geographically placed in other parts of the globe. Halifax sounds like a perfectly quaint, English town to visit on holiday, “the hot place,” is a sun-baked beach in the Caribbean, and I don’t think inhabitants of Australia and New Zealand would be too happy should we refer to those living Down Under as the “underworld.” Political speak is topsy-turvy enough as it is.

Whichever way you feel most comfortable calling it — hell, heck, or H-E-double hockey sticks — I do keep such a list.

What's On Your Go-To-Heck List

Ever since I discovered I’m allergic to milk, I’ve had to forego my daily latte and resort to these tiny, little cups of espresso for a dose of caffeine. When my collies get rambunctious and bump into the kitchen table, they’re on my go-to-heck list.

On my list, in addition to the Princes of Darkness (I still have nightmares about falling down stairs in the dark), you’ll find the following:

• people who hate kale. It is not kale’s fault that it began life as a rubbery, inedible decoration on salad bars. Everyone is entitled to make something of themselves, and move up in the food chain.

• my Über fancy washing machine that, no matter how much more it cost than previous ones, still manages to become unbalanced and migrate across the laundry room floor.

• shower curtain liners that tout their mold resistance, and still allow mold to grow.

• incredibly happy and rambunctious collies that race around my kitchen table every morning and bump my very small dose of caffeine delivery via espresso cup.

• mythical animals, such as the Unicorn, because I end up falling in love with one, want to acquire one for a pet, look for them at the zoo, and then discover they don’t exist.

What's On Your Go-to-Heck List

Good photos of unicorns are difficult to capture. That’s why I had to resort to Wikipedia. And that’s why Unicorns made the list. By Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries – Wikimedia Commons – 17311032 

• I’ve considered adding Autocorrect to the Go-to-heck list, but decided that the comedic benefit of it trying to read my mind outweighs my irritation that it thinks it can substitute “gecko” for “heck,” and “cola” when I know I’m craving a Pepsi.

I’m curious. Do you have a Go-to-heck list? Or am I making too much of life’s little things?

But then again, life happens. And yes, you know what I really meant by that.

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Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished,  https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKemme, or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou . Life inspired. Vodka tempered.




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Kathleen G. February 21, 2016 - 9:02 am

More creative than the usual f word.

Bill B. February 21, 2016 - 9:01 am

Very funny!


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