This past week or so, when yet another monstrous typhoon, Hagupit (aka Ruby) - not quite as powerful as Haiyan (aka Yolanda) of late last year - came ashore very near where I live here in the Visayas Region of the Philippines, killing a number of people and threatening to kill everyone else, I realized that living in this country is rather like an old joke that I know. The joke goes something like this (and I've added some embellishments of my own):
A young man dies suddenly of a massive coronary, and before he knows what has happened he finds himself at the entrance to Hell where he is greeted by none other than Sam Kinison. Kinison tells him, "It is my unfortunate duty to inform you that you are DEAD!!! and that you're in HELL!!!"
Frightened, the young man cries out, "Oh my God! What did I do?" Kinison answers, "It doesn't matter. But, cheer up, there's more than one hell to choose from!" And he shows the young man three versions of hell.
He looks through a window at Hell Version 101. It's the old vision of hell from the painting by Hieronymus Bosch, with everything burning in eternal flames and people roasting on spits. Then he looks through a second window at Hell Version 2.0. It's even worse than the old hell, with people being perpetually pursued by terrifying creatures that are always trying to devour them.
When the young man looks through the third window, all he sees are laughing naked people with full wine glasses in their hands up to their waists in liquid excrement. This is Hell Version 3.2.1 and the young man tells Kinison that he chooses this one. With a flash, the young man is naked, standing up to his waist in liquid excrement. But there's an enternally full glass of wine in his hand and he's just starting to get used to the stink, joining in the general conviviality, when a booming voice is heard, saying:
LUNCH BREAK'S OVER! DIVE IN!