A well-known politician, mildly inebriated, crosses the street, is hit by a truck and killed. He finds himself at the Pearly Gates, where he is received by St. Peter.
Welcome to heaven,’ says St. Peter. ‘Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.’
‘No problem, just check me in,’ says the newcomer.
‘Well, I’d like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we’ll do is have you spend one day in Hell and one day in Heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.’
‘Really,” insists the politician, “I’ve made up my mind. I want to be in Heaven.’
‘I’m sorry,” St. Peter answers, “but we have our rules.’
And with that, he escorts the deceased politician to the celestial elevator and that gentleman rides down, down, down to Hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him. Everyone is dressed in evening clothes, very happy, chatting, laughing.
When the party crowd sees the politician they come to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at their various offices.
They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.
Also present is the Devil, who seems to be a friendly and charming individual (with two small horns on his head) but truly a nice guy. The men and women are having a great time dancing, drinking, telling risque jokes. Everything is so fun that before the politician realizes it, it’s time to go.
All his buddies give him a hearty farewell, telling him to come back and see them, and all wave as the elevator rises, rises…The elevator doors slide back and there St. Peter, waiting for him. ‘Now it’s time to visit Heaven,’ the good saint announces.
So, 24 hours pass. The politician joins a friendly group of contented souls who drift from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing, drinking cool spring water and lemonade, eating manna and honey. They are having a very enjoyable time and again, before our hero realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.
‘Well, then, you’ve spent a day in Hell and another in Heaven. Now you must choose your eternity,’ St. Pedro tells him.
The politician reflects for a minute, then answers: ‘Well, I would never have said it before, I mean Heaven has been delightful, but I really think I would be better off in Hell.’
So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and down, down down he goes to Hell.
When the doors open he’s in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.
He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.
The Devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulders. “Welcome,” he says, and hands the politician a black bag. “Get to work.”
‘Wait a minute, I don’t understand,’ stammers the politician. ‘Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne and cocktails, danced and told jokes and had a great time. Now there’s just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened? ‘
The Devil looks at him, smiles benignly and says: ‘Yesterday we were campaigning. Today you voted.‘