I’ll be honest, I’ve had this list running in my head for years. (That’s the kind of person I am.) In my head, I called this “If I Were in Charge of Hell,” but I thought for an “official” post it might be taking eternal damnation too lightly. So I’m tweaking it a bit to make this apply to punishment on this side of eternity, although this limits my flexibility when it comes to the time, space, and money I might require to bring these practical and effective ideas to life.
Enhanced interrogation methods? Incarceration? Eternal debt due to legal fees? These are easy and overdone. My ideas for punishment that would bring evil humans to regret their ways are a bit more mundane, but I’d argue they are just as (if not more) effective in the long run.
I think there’s nothing that will drive a person to despair more than hard work with no productive payoff. Therefore, my unfortunate charges would be sentenced to menial labor for days…weeks…months at a time, at stations that would include the following:
The worse the crime, the longer the food will have sat on the dishes, and the less abrasive the scrubbing sponge will be. Soap is limited, soaking before scrubbing absolutely forbidden. For the worst offenders, the dishes will mostly include forks, grease splatter screens, narrow-bodied travel mugs, sippy cups, and mixer attachments.
Those days you spend painting will be bad, but it’ll nothing compared to what comes next: realizing that you’ve actually been painting latex paint on top of oil-based paint and now you have to use a handheld scraper to undo all of your efforts. The worse the crime, the more detailed and intricate the woodwork.
Your job is to keep this flat surface pristine. Here is your broom and dustpan as well as a spray cleaner and rag. Now get to work! As the work needs to be intensified, greater numbers of toddlers will use this room for snack time. For the worst offenders, the toddlers will be fed scrambled eggs, sticky rice, and popsicles. And then they’ll get to make crafts with glitter.
Cleaner of Shower Drains in Women’s Dormitory
I can’t even describe your work without making myself sick. You’ll have to figure it out yourself. For the worst offenders, no rubber gloves.
Reader, Toddler Storytime
Those of you with particular skills in the dramatic arts might think you’re getting off easy with this assignment. But you’re bound to obey the commands of your audience, and on the sixty-third time through “Skippyjon Jones Cirque de Ole,” you’ll start to understand the diabolical wisdom of your placement. But keep smiling, you can’t upset the kids! The worst offenders get “Hop on Pop,” nonstop.
They’re all baby clothes, and you must fold all items neatly and uniformly. The worse the crime, the more white socks you get, and no, they’re not all the same. Bwahaha!
This station will be a workout for the fine motor skills. Tasks include hemming various linens, making buttonholes, and monogramming garments for other inmates, all done by hand. I’ve never done this sort of work myself, but Laura Ingalls Wilder says it’s a dreadfully tedious way to spend a whole day, and I trust her word as gold.
So there you have it. Next stop, Washington!