Not shades like sunglasses or those things you pull over windows. This is Shades. Pronounced like “shay dees”.

Let’s face it, if you are reading this and there really is a hell, chances are, we’re all meeting up one day. I’m not saying y’all are evil or anything, but depending on the religion, there are some pretty stringent rules about getting into heaven. I’m pretty sure I blew my shot around 1984.

But I’m not all bad. I mean, I am mostly not bad.

As long as we can forgive profound impatience, a penchant for swearing, and maybe a few other things I’m not talking about.

I don’t think that I would deserve the true fire and brimstone of hell. I get that it’s hell and it’s not supposed to be paradise, but I think it’s fair that for those of us not quite good enough to get into heaven, but not bad enough for hell, should get to go to Shades.

Shades: More cool than Jimmy Buffet’s restaurant chain Cheeseburger in Paradise, but just barely. 

That’s what Shades is, a big, never ending chain restaurant. There are jukeboxes everywhere with every song ever played in all the history of time. Remember, Shades is forever, so we can listen to music for eternity. Well, we could if the jukeboxes worked. None of them work. We can scan through the lists of songs, but we can’t play them.

Shades is hell lite, but still hell.

There are televisions there too, but they only play the red wedding scene from Game Of Thrones on a loop. Forever.

There is booze, because we might not have been perfect, but we weren’t monsters. The booze gets watered down though and our hangovers never quite go away. Also, you have to watch the bartenders because they pick their noses and stick their fingers in the drinks. Still. Booze. It’s eternity, booger fingers or not, we’re gonna want to cop the occasional buzz.

The chairs are made of iron and it’s hot in Shades, not hell hot, but hot enough for the chairs to leave a mark.

The iron will be twisted into Barry Manilow lyrics, so you have the words to Mandy or I Write The Songs backwards on the backs of your thighs and your back.

Also, don’t ever order the quesadillas. The middle part is always ice cold. Unless you want to use the quesadillas to soothe your Barry Manilow thighs.

There will be trivia night once a week, but the questions are about economics, tax laws, and bowling.

So, Shades will suck, because it’s sort of hell, but there won’t be torture or anything. Well, unless I sing. That would be torture for everyone around me.

Your time spent won’t be all bad. We’ll probably get super sick of jalapeno poppers after the first ten thousand years or so, but at least we won’t be on fire. And just because the jukebox doesn’t work, doesn’t mean we can’t sing. Or, hang out with people who can sing. I have some friends who are amazing musicians and there is no way they aren’t ending up in Shades.

Anyway, when we all get to Shades, look me up.

I’ll be singing Me and Bobby McGee and holding a quesadilla against the backs of my thighs.

Not everyone will end up at Shades, though. For instance, people who pay women to pretend they’ve been raped to attempt to discredit actual rape victims for the purpose of getting a pedophile a senate seat.

Those people can go straight to hell.

This was based entirely on another meme Randy made. He’s a weirdo, but he’s my weirdo.



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  • I’ll meet you there and buy you your first martini. First though, we beat the shit outta the bartender so he doesn’t booger up our coctails.

    Also “Barry Manilow thighs” – kinda liking this idea but it sounds skeevy. OK, maybe that’s why I like it.

  • At first, I thought you were basically setting forth the catholic concept of Purgatory.

    But this sounds better. I mean, it actually sounds better than Heaven, to me. I don’t know how to play the harp and someone as clumsy as I am shouldn’t have wings.

  • I am now singing “Barry Manilow Thighs” to the tune of “Bette Davis Eyes”. My ear worm for the day, I’m sorry to say.

  • I’m in awe of how your mind works. My favorite is the horrid topics covered during trivia night. Awesome! I am curious – was it something specific that led you astray in 1984, or just the general time period when you became an independent thinker, perhaps?

  • OK, now there was a Night Gallery episode called “Hell’s Bells” that this reminded me a lot of. Remember Night Gallery?
    Anyway, in the episode, a hippie crashes his car and dies (written in 1971) and finds himself in a hell he isn’t prepared for. There’s no fire, demons, chains, or any of the stuff commonly associated with hell, just a boring old guy and a stack of records playing that he finds boring and can’t turn off.
    When a middle aged couple appear with their 8,500 slides of their trip to Mexico, he demands to see the devil, who appears and explains to him that hell is never what you think it will be, but for him, this is it. The devil tells him “It’s a curious thing, but they have the exact same room up there (gesturing toward heaven). You see, while this room is absolute Hell for you, up there it is someone else’s idea of heaven.”
    Then he disappears again, leaving the hippie to his hell, and he falls down and beats the floor with his fists and cries “bummer!” over and over again.
    I found it to be hilarious, even when I first saw it as a little kid.
    Anyway, I’ve been searching for the video of the episode for years with no success, but this morning I found this video of the ending of it, so here it is:
    Shades sounds sorta familiar, actually, just without the “whole of eternity” thing…

  • You can’t see it but I’m doing a serious Tina Fey “I want to go there” right now. Please, let Shades be a real place. And thank goodness the jukeboxes don’t work because if they did they’d be playing “Muskrat Love” nonstop, and that really would be Hell.

  • hmmm. Well now I am in a dilemma. I am pretty sure I am going to Heaven, unless the whole swearing thing is a non-starter.
    But if you aren’t gonna be there then what’s the point.

    So, I’ll look for you and sing harmony on Me and Bobby MaGee.
    I hope Shades lets me bring my guitar,
    and my knitting.

    • I saw Pat Benatar three times when I was young. She wore that same red and black jumpsuit at every show. She was a HUGE part of my music when I was in high school. Her and Joan Jett.

  • I already watch bartenders like a hawk, so Shades might not be too bad! (If you don’t watch them, they have a disturbing tendency to touch the vermouth, when everyone knows you’re only supposed to shake the ice in the general direction of a sealed bottle.)

  • *in a more than passable Janis Joplin voice*

    “Busted flat in Baton Rouge, waiting for a train
    I was feeling near as faded as my jeans.
    Bobby thumbed a diesel down just before it rained,
    And rode us all the way to New Orleans.”

    I was totally down with you, sister… until you got to the iron chair with Barry Manilow lyrics. Ouch!

    Could be worse, I suppose. Could be Hanson lyrics.

    *whistling softly*

    Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose…

  • I’ll bartend! You’ll never get over your hangover because you’ll spend eternity falling-down drunk. Of course, I will be too, so there’s that. I’ll also be singing whatever my personal jukebox allows me to hear (ya know, in my head). I don’t know most of the words to “Me and Bobby McGee”, so I’ll have to just sing along on the bits that I DO know, the rest of the time, letting ya’ll who know it do the verses and stuff.

    … although, I may not make it into Shades unless Fuckity Fuck Fuck Fuck will get me there. Pretty sure I’m goin’ up, if up exists.

By Michelle


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