I pride myself in being au courant. Recently I noted a Heaven Validation trend. Among the five best selling non-fiction paperbacks I found:
#1 Proof of Heaven, by Eben Alexander. A neurosurgeon recounts his near death experience during a coma.
#5 Heaven Is For Real, by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent. A boy's encounter with Jesus and the angels.
When I spot a trend, I ask myself, "How can I turn a quick buck from this?" In this case, I spotted an opportunity.
"There is a hole in the market," I told my wife.
"I fear another one of your wacko ideas," she responded.
"This is a great idea," I said. "Everyone is writing books about heaven but no one is writing about Hell."
"How about Dante and Milton?" she asked.
"I am referring to a contemporary book substantiating the existence of Hell. There aren't any."
"Why don't you write something for the people who are buying the Heaven Validation books?" she asked.
"Something like Heaven is for Real: But It's Overpriced and Overrun With Tourists?"
"Maybe you should stick to Hell. How would you substantiate the existence of Hell?"
"I am thinking of a book titled Hell Is For Real: Memories of a New Jersey Childhood.
"Even people who live in New Jersey do not want to read about New Jersey."
"Then how about Proof of Hell: Nodding off during a Mahler symphony, I was transported to a tailgaiting party 8 hours prior to an Auburn-Alabama football game. My eardrums soon burst from the drunken yells, "Roll Tide" and "Weagle Weagle War Damn Eagle."
I was forced to the drink the Devil's brew and eat the Devil's food: Beer Brats, Rammer Jammer Baked Beans, Half Pound War Eagle Burgers, Orange & Blue Caramelized Onion and BBQ Pork Dip, and Roll Tide Biscuits stuffed with Lard, Salsa and Pickled Okra.
Then I was coerced to witness a gladiatorial contest in which young African Ameircan males were paid nothing to inflict long-term dementia on each other, an exhibition from which the Universities and TV networks made millions. This was the most demeaning, inhuman and hideous spectacle I had ever seen, until halftime when the Auburn Marching Band performed its Salute to Right To Work Laws."
"That makes no sense," my wife said. "You would insult precisely the group that buy the Heaven Validation books."
"You're right. I should go the other way." I said. "Hell Is For Real and the Democrats are in Charge: After once again drinking too much an aging Seattle windbag is transported to Hell where he meets the Devil. Because the Devil, who bears a striking resemblance to Nancy Pelosi, has imposed job-killing taxes and suffocating regulations, Hell has no makers, only takers. Hell looks and feels a lot like Wall Street, only with less greed.
"What do you think?" I asked.
"You should pursue the idea you had last fall: starting a chain letter asking the recipient to send you a landscape painting from the Dutch golden age: van Goyen, Salomon van Ruysdael, Hobbema, Jacob van Ruisdael or Cuyp. You promised the recipient would the receive 3,125 Dutch masterpieces."
"Good idea," I said. "Even if only one person falls for it, I will be ahead."