Instructions for Viewing the Bottomless Pit

Ralph Gamelli lays some ground rules.


Please behave responsibly when standing near the bottomless pit. No shoving or roughhousing. Do not pretend to push your friend into the pit and then grab the back of his shirt and pull him backward.

The bottomless pit is not a trash bin. Please dispose of all waste in the clearly marked receptacles.

Please refrain from ironically using the term “bottomless pit of despair.” It’s getting old.

Do not throw coins into the pit. It is not a wishing well; it is an eerie and some say unnatural phenomenon that appears to defy all earthly laws. Then again, that would also seem to describe any wishing well. Go ahead and throw the coins.

Do not attempt to jump over the pit unless you’ve gotten a good running start.

Do not drop handwritten messages into the pit in an attempt to communicate with people in China, the denizens of Hell, or the Mole People. Scientific analysis has determined that the pit does not lead to any of those places, but does not rule out the possibility that it could be a vortex leading to another dimension. So please address all correspondence accordingly.

You may hear a strange voice whispering in your ear to, “Jump! Jump in and end it all!” Don’t fall for it. That voice is coming from Doug, one of our eternally bored attendants.

Do not throw your car keys to someone standing on the other side of the pit unless that person is a good driver with a healthy respect for other people’s property.

Chest-kicking someone into the pit in a re-enactment of that famous scene from the movie 300 is highly discouraged, unless you can deliver the line “This… is… Sparta!” in a moderately amusing way.

Please note: When you stare into the bottomless pit, the bottomless pit stares back at you.

When, despite all of these precautions, you still manage to fall into the pit, please do not shriek as you plummet to whatever dark fate awaits you. Ghostly echoes of your scream can reach the surface for several days afterward, and this can put a damper on everyone else’s enthusiasm when viewing the pit.

Failure to comply with any of these rules may result in a barrier of thin twine being erected around the pit.

Illustration by Madeleine Flores

Ralph Gamelli is of average height, weight, and intelligence, and requires the average amount of time to grow a respectable mustache. His ability to write an interesting bio, however, is far below average.