Hell Doesn’t Cut it: What Treehouse of Horror IV Gets Right and Wrong About My Time at York
By now we’re probably all familiar with Treehouse of Horror IV; a classic episode that any Simpsons fan would be sore to miss on a rainy October evening. This year however, my fifty-second viewing of this particular Simpsons short drew an interesting parallel never before relevant to my life.
For those of you who took up residence under a rock on or before the 28th of October 1993, Treehouse of Horror IV presents the tale of Homer Simpson naively selling his soul for a donut. Desperate for his sugar fix, Homer clasps his hands together, pleading, “Oh I’ll do anything for a donut!”
Without missing a beat, a pitchfork-wielding Ned Flanders rises up in smoke and offers a contract: one soul for one donut. Eagerly, Homer signs the contract and upon mindlessly finishing the donut, is damned to hell for all eternity. The fitting punishment is announced by a goblin: “So, you like donuts, eh? Well… Have all the donuts in the world!” Homer thus begins to be force-fed donuts by a machine; a task that proves to be less punishment and more pleasure as Homer finishes eating every last donut in hell.
I’ll spare you the happy ending, since happy endings are, so far, not relevant to my experience at York. What you need to know is simply that donuts are to Homer Simpson what research assistant positions are to me. Only I didn’t sell my soul—just my entire savings account and four years of my life. But who’s counting?
Maybe I didn’t shout, “Oh I’ll do anything for a donut!” but maybe I clasped my hands together, pleading with unknown forces of the universe, “Oh I’ll do anything for a research assistant position!”
Lo and behold, the invisible contract was signed, pen and paper be damned (pun totally intended). I was offered a position for which I am both grateful and an unlikely candidate—one that I have no regrets accepting without hesitation.
Queue eternal damnation.
The spirit of York grips me, inquiring, “So, you like research assistant positions, eh? Well… have all the positions you applied for!” Only, York isn’t as generous as the Devil, and I am unfortunately not in hell. Want to know how I can tell? I’m not being forced to accept every research position I applied for—much like Homer Simpson, this would constitute more pleasure than punishment. Instead, I am simply forced to gawk at the emails and opportunities I never expected to receive, as York maintains that no two RAY, YES, CLAY, or Work/Study programs can be held concurrently.
In this respect, hell could probably take notes from York. Maybe forcing Homer to just stare at many beautiful, succulent, gleaming, prospective donuts would have been more effective. In my experience, this is certainly the greater punishment.
So, if anyone is reading this, send help… and donuts. Why not?