Long Anagram by Tony Crafter

Subject: HELL.

The following is allegedly an actual question (coming from a University of Arizona chemistry mid-term paper) and an actual answer submitted by a student.

The answer offered by this particular student was considered so 'profound' and memorable that the professor shared it with many of his colleagues, by way of the Internet, which is, of course, why we may now have the added pleasure of enjoying it as well:

BONUS QUESTION: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

Most of the students just wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variations of this.

One student, however, answered in the following manner:

'First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving, which is unlikely. I think we may safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today.

Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people don't belong to more than one religion, we may safely project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates being as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially.

Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.

This gives two possibilities:

1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls are entering Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it?

If we accept the postulate given to me by Theresa during my Freshman year that, 'It will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you,' and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number two must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over. The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct... leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Theresa kept shouting, 'Oh my God.'


It's vital for a man to be aware that, as a woman gets older, it's hard for her to sustain the same quality of housework. When you notice this, try not to yell at her. Some are oversensitive, and there's nothing worse than an oversensitive woman.

My name is Tex. Let me explain how I handled the situation with my wife, Ellen. When I retired last year, it became necessary for Ellen to get a full-time job, along with her part-time one, to alleviate the extra expense. Soon after she started working, I noticed she was appearing to show her age.

I usually get in from the golf club the same time she gets in from work. Although she realises I'm hungry, she says she has to rest for half an hour before she starts dinner. I never holler at Ellen. I just tell her I'll grab some zzz's and to wake me as soon as dinner's on the table.

Ellen used to do the dishes as soon as we'd eaten, but now they can sit on the table for hours after dinner. I help when I can by politely telling her several times each evening that they won't clean themselves. I know she values that a lot, as it does activate her to do them before she goes to bed.

Another sign of ageing is the complaining. As an example: she'll say it's hard for her to find time to pay all the monthly bills in her lunch hour. But I wed Ellen for better or worse, so I cooperate. I tell her to stretch it out over a couple of days, then she won't have to rush so much. I also tell her that skipping lunch altogether now and then won't hurt her (if you see what I mean). Tact is a strong point of mine.

When doing a household task, she seems to believe she needs extra rest periods. She even has to have a rest when she's only cut half the lawn! I try not to complain. I tell her to fix herself a nice, cool glass of freshly squeezed juice and sit for a while. And, while she's fixing herself one, she might as well fix me one, too.

I realise I'm a saint, the way I support Ellen, and I can't tell you people it's easy. Many men will find it too hard. Some'll find it's not even possible! No one knows better than I do how frustrating women can get as they grow old. But, guys, if you end up a little less critical of your wife as a result of this article, I'll consider it's all been worthwhile. After all, people are put on the planet to help each other.

Tex died suddenly on April 12 of a punctured rectum. The police report states he was found with a Callaway extra-long fifty-inch Big Bertha Driver II golf club thrust up his rear end, with barely five inches of grip showing. A club-hammer lay nearby. His wife, Ellen, was charged with his murder. The all-woman jury took ten minutes to find her Not Guilty, accepting the defence that Tex accidentally sat on his golf club.

[2,114 letters]

This anagram won an Anagrammy in April 2010 (Special Category).

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