Letters to a trainee tempter…

One of my main interests in Ireland was keeping abreast of the news as reported by Catholic newspapers. My, em, “favourite” was a freesheet called Alive!, which is basically a vehicle for the extreme right-wing views of a select group of people but is widely available all over the country and is sometimes pushed through the letterbox of unsuspecting citizens.

Alive! runs a stellar trade in unfounded reporting, badly researched articles, disguising opinion for fact and generally weak news dissemination. One of the things that always fascinated me was a regular feature called Dumbag Writes.

Dumbag is a trainee demon. He is a little horned, red devil, much like the cuddly toy Manchester United mascot, and he poses with his trident, pulling a letter out of his hellish mailbag. It’s not quite clear what the relationship is to the letter writer. Surely the actual devil wouldn’t have time to write individual instructions on letter headed paper, but who knows. The main gist is that a small devil is getting tips from a big devil on how to screw over the heathens of the world.

In the latest letter from Dumbag, he discusses how easy it is to tempt bad humans into seeking instant gratification through such evil, awful attractions as “bargain-hunting to pilled sex, from sun holidays to victory in sport”.

Pilled sex? Does he mean sexual intercourse taking place following the consumption of ecstasy tablets? Because if he does then he’s a very forward thinking demon. I’m a pretty forward thinking twenty-something year old and I still wouldn’t immediately list that in my top four cheap kicks.

Bargain hunting? Surely that’s alright. It’s better than buying something crazy expensive just to show off to your mates. Also, kind of boring. And sun holidays? The sun is grand, sound, it helps loads of things. It certainly does not drag people to hell as far as I know. I’m pretty certain at no point in the bible does it say you must remain milky white and in a cold climate to remain useful to the Lord.

And victory in sport? What the fuck is wrong with winning an egg and spoon race? Or kicking someone’s ass at darts? Or table tennis? There are immediate issues to be raised with a gom like Wayne Rooney making several hundred thousand pounds a second for being an alright footballer and a world-class idiot, but I don’t think you can just say winning at a sport lets the devil get your soul.

So many flaws, Alive! You missed the seven deadly sins by a long shot. I don’t recall there being anything in there about drugged riding or scoring a goal or getting a tan on your face in Torremolinos.


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