Me, my phone bill and God


Go straight to Hell, don’t pass GO… (from The Laws of Eternity)

My aim in writing this is to increase your happiness.  Or failing that, your amusement!

On Friday, when I came home from work, there was a bill in my (physical) mailbox. This was from my new cell phone service provider. A month or so ago when I bought the HTC Hero (long may it live), I did so at Telehuset, since they were the ones who had it. I’m pretty pragmatic like that, even though I generally hold Telenor in low regard. It used to be a telephone monopoly here in Norway, originally a branch of the state administration, and it has never quite managed to shake that attitude completely. So I was surprised when the salesperson told me that I could actually get a cheaper monthly plan from Telenor than from the second-largest phone company, Netcom. I have never heard of Telenor being cheaper than anyone at anything ever, but hey, as long as we live we can repent. That is how I see the world. So, after carefully asking the salesman about the details, I changed to Telenor.

Unsurprisingly, the bill was somewhat higher than the salesman had projected. Surprisingly, it was well over twice as much. Out of the three parts the amount consisted on, not a single one was right, and they were all too high.

Now, I am a reasonable and tolerant person. And I certainly could afford the amount. Data traffic is amazingly cheap these days, compared with just a couple years ago, not to mention even further back. So it is not a matter of money. It is a matter of lying bastards lying to honest people. I thought to myself, this guy is probably doing this whenever he thinks he can get away with it. He will lie to your face repeatedly without blinking, without conscience, unaware that he is GOING TO HELL for his crimes. I better warn him. Come to think of it, it is probably something he has been instructed to do by his superior. No doubt they will deny it all in court, where I am going to meet them; they will lie under oath and thus ensure that they too are GOING TO HELL to learn their lesson. I really shouldn’t take them that far, tempting them to swear false oaths, but for the sake of the thousands they are swindling who don’t have the confidence to stand up against the big business, someone has to do it! As a Very Important Person, the task falls to me. But first, I should post their crime all over the web to warn everyone.

“You might want to sleep on this” said God. Or whoever my invisible friend is. “You can talk to them on Monday. Then you will find out whether they really are unrepentant liars.” So, since I have other hobbies too, I decided to not start my campaign FOR GREAT JUSTICE right away but wait till today.

So today I took a little time off from work and went to Telehuset again. In my mind, I started planning my great speech. “You don’t need to do that” said God. “Have you not read in the Scripture that it will be given you in the same moment what you shall speak?” “But someone has to be the champion of the poor!” “Perhaps they just accidentally punched a wrong code when registering the purchase” proposed God. Sure that could happen – I have punched a lot of data in my life – but perhaps they really were crooks. So while I did not prepare my speech, I just quietly made a mental note of various good ideas that happened to fly by.

Given my previous conversations with God (or whoever it is), the outcome is pretty much given at this point. The salesman remembered everything and instantly agreed that this was a clerical error that he would get to within the hour, and please to wait for the new bill. I never got to use any of my good points, much less warn him of the dangers of Hell and how I would see them all in court. Oh well.


It is kind of amusing to watch myself. Instructive too.  It really does not take more than this for me to go into battle-porcupine mode, save for the voice of God, or perhaps the voice of reason, I have a hard time telling those two apart.

Modern psychology has found that humans have “hot” and “cold” states of mind. When basic emotions are activated, we enter a hot state, and our priorities are completely different from in the “cold” rational frame of mind. In fact, another person in the same hot state of mind can predict our behavior better than we did in the cold state of mind.

These states need not be about anger or even lust.  Most adults will be able to name some amount of money for which they are willing to eat a living earthworm, but very few of them actually go through with it when it wriggles in their hand. Of course, those who do can probably earn a decent amount of money by taking part in psychological research. But for most people, it is as if a module of their psyche is conveniently switched out and replaced by another when they come in such situations.  Kind of like how computers swap memory with blocks on the hard disk, we swap pieces of our conscious self with one from the subconscious.

Kofuku-no-Kagaku have a slightly different explanation.  They believe that stray spirits of the dead are reaching out from hell to bond with people who have not brushed and flossed their mind regularly.  Then on occasions favorable to them, the spirits take over control of the body for a while to ease their own pain.  A spirit from the Hell of Strife for instance will try to get you into a fight, and so on.

I guess this is a bit like “does the sun rise or does the earth rotate”.  I can certainly see how it may look to the casual observer as if an angry person is possessed by a completely different personality.  People sometimes even say it afterwards: “I don’t know what possessed me”, “I was not myself”, “I would never do that”.  Those who speak like that are probably wrong though: No matter whether they have supernatural assistance or an upwelling from their subconscious, it would not have happened unless there was some door in their mind that opens into dark rooms.

Or at least there is in me, which is why I have to practice  self-reflection and listen to the voice from Above, wherever that is.

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