Tonight, October 30th, has often been referred to as ‘Devil’s Night’ … a long-standing tradition predating World War II, with anecdotal incidents occurring as early as the 1930s.
As kids growing up in the sixties, Devil’s Night meant nothing more to us than, a harmless evening with a few of your pals, ringing doorbells and decorating a couple houses with rolls of Charmin Toilet Paper (chosen more often because of it’s ease of flight and smoother distribution of an ornamental like display).
Somehow, throughout the eighties and well into the nineties, these innocent shenanigans of the sixties, and early seventies, turned into a nationally publicized nightmare for the City of Detroit. Devil’s Night and Detroit would become eternally linked with widespread arson and destruction. That is until both city officials and its citizens decided enough was enough.
Out of the ashes of Devil’s Night was born a concerted effort, on behalf of the Detroit Police Department, as well as, citizens to patrol the streets and tidy up their once proud city’s tarnished image. This incredible group effort would forever ascribe October 30th in Detroit as ‘Angel’s Night’.
Not to change the subject … however to highlight my thoughts on this Devil's Night … I’ve said all of that as a prelude to the following:
Last night, while awaiting the resumption of the 2008 World Series, I listened to Barack Obama deliver what was referred to by some as nothing more than an ‘Infomercial’ (or as I like to call it … an Obamamerical). And as he spoke I suddenly recalled a provocative fictional anecdote from my selling days in Corporate America … which went something like this:
One day Joe the Human dies and finds himself, outside the Pearly Gates, in a side room that looks much like an exhibitor hall at some convention or conference. There are two separate display booths set up, each with it’s own computer, video screen, sound system, and of course the freebies (always loved the hundreds of pens, key chains and mouse pads that carry some technology company’s mission statement that clutter up my basement). Joe the Human had lived a very respectable life, but unfortunately he had made some bad choices along the way. It was explained to him that he was going to be given the unique opportunity, to choose for himself, whether he would spend eternity in heaven or hell.
At the first booth, Joe is enthusiastically met by St. Peter and led over to the computer, where he is given his own Holy Card. St. Peter then explains that he would be providing him with a five minute video overview of what life, after death, would be like for him in heaven. The video opened with the most beautiful classical music, he’d ever heard, played on harps and strings. Just watching the clouds float by on the screen made Joe feel as if he had was actually achieved flight. He immediately felt inner harmony. There was a room, amongst the clouds, where everyone was either sitting quietly reading or resting peacefully. The tranquil video ended with the tag line “Welcome Home Joe.”
As he walked up to the second booth, Satan met him half way, threw his arm around Joe, and handed him a beer mug that read: “Having One Hell of a Time!” As the video began, Joe felt the incredible sensation of tropical breezes and an inner glow of excitement. He watched as ocean waves crashed into the most beautiful sandy pristine beach he’d ever seen. Everyone was sipping on margaritas, playing volley ball or surfing. The next scene highlighted an evening of drinking and gambling. Everyone was enjoying themselves beyond their wildest dreams. This stimulating video ended with the tag line “Party on Joe!”
Based on Satan’s words, along with the extraordinary video, Joe chose Hell. After the official paperwork was filed, Joe was led down a path to a gold plated door with a sign which read: “Welcome to Hell!” Once inside, Joe was strapped to a very hot wall ... which began to heat up even more quickly by the minute. His clothes were then ripped from his body as he was brutally whipped to the sounds of, what could only be described as a cross between Arabic Music and Gangster Rap. With the flames rising, just as Satan was heading out the door, a stunned and staggered Joe cried out: “This is not what you had sold me!"