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Bad manners are spooky. A modern look at Dante's 'Inferno' highlights some of the worst offenders.

A funny twist on Dante's masterpiece will have you contemplating your own social sins.

After nearly 700 years, Dante Alighieri's "The Divine Comedy" is getting a bit of an overhaul.

So that's what Onnesha Roychoudhuriwho writes under the pen name Kali V. Roy (and who, full disclosure, is an editor here at Upworthy) — set out to give the world. Her book, "Go to Hells: An Updated Guide to Dante's Underworld," is part a tongue-in-cheek update on Dante's "Inferno," part modern etiquette guide. Roychoudhuri describes it as "a series of punishments for people who seem to have temporarily forgotten how to be people."


All illustrations by Jesse Riggle/Zest Books.

While Dante's traditional nine circles of hell cover some boring basics like lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery, they didn't really answer pressing questions. Like, "What eternal punishment awaits people in my office — knock it off, Brad — who click 'reply all' when it is wholly unnecessary to do so?" or "What lies in store for the man sitting behind me at the movie theater who's chatting it up with his buddy while I'm trying to focus on the matinee of 'Inside Out'?"

These are pressing questions that Dante (come on, dude) didn't have the foresight to include.

Let's take a look at some of these modern circles of hell (and how we can avoid winding up within them), shall we?

1. Be polite to restaurant employees. Don't mess with people who handle your food. It's just a bad idea.

"Go to Hells" has a name for those who commit this particular sin: Waitstaff abusers. They're the ones sending food back to the kitchen, leaving subpar tips, and just generally acting as though their server is somehow less worthy of respect than they are.

What sort of hell awaits those who are rude to servers? An eternity of disgusting meals. So take heed, restaurant employees, the man who snapped his fingers at you and didn't leave a tip will get what's coming to him.

2. Spend all the time you'd like on your cell phones — but maybe not in the middle of conversation.

This goes double for people on the phone in line at a fast food restaurant, bank, or really just any situation where you have to interact with someone else.


Take comfort in knowing that those people who rudely glare at their phones as you're trying to speak to them will spend the rest of forever with the teeny, tiny arms of a T. rex and their phone just out of reach.

3. Follow some societal basics, such as walking on the right side of the sidewalk and not blocking train doors.

For those of you out there using public transportation, I'm sure you know who this is referring to — the guy who charges onto a train as soon as the door opens and before others can exit? Yeah, screw that guy. Don't be that guy.

It's only fitting that since he contributes to this type of obstruction that his hell shall be to forever have to fight the current in a river filled with trout.

4. Even if it's "just the Internet," that doesn't mean it's OK to be a total jerk to strangers (or friends, for that matter).

"Who cares!?" this person will comment at the bottom of articles not to their liking. "You're ugly!" they post to your Instagram. These, my friend, are trolls, and you don't want to be one. What are you contributing to the world by telling a stranger how little you think of their writing or looks or hobbies or interest in pop culture? Very little, I'd say!

Those who troll in life shall be trolled in death, as their hell is a never-ending comment section moderated by real trolls.


5. Don't take up an exorbitant amount of space on public transportation, or anywhere else.

Your bag does not need its own seat. Your legs do not need to spread at a 60-degree angle into the seats next to you. You do not need to take up the whole arm rest on an airplane. But, of course, you're not this person, now, are you? Let's hope not.

Because if you are, it seems you'll be stuck in an eternal game of musical chairs with other space-hogs like yourself.

Are these hard and fast rules for existing in society? Nah. Do whatever you please, but try to be considerate.

"I'm an incurable crank with a tiny nugget of hope at my core," says Roychoudhuri. "To me, 'The Inferno' and 'Go to Hells' are less about fire-and-brimstone in the afterlife and more about calling out the things that we do to each other here on earth. In this life. They offer a way for people to identify and relate to the crappy things we do to each other, in the hope that maybe we can find ways to be better humans while we're still, you know, alive and breathing."

Below is a short trailer for the book, complete with a few additional examples.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.