First Circle: Limbo

The sun glimmers on the large box filled with portable basketball hoop guts, and my husband tells me, “We can probably bang this out in 45 minutes.” I attempt to find the tools needed for assembly. This takes 45 minutes.

Second Circle: Lust

Sweat drips from my husband’s brow as he uses the wrong screwdriver. I’m both annoyed and turned-on as I fan my face with the instruction manual. It’s only 55 degrees out.

Third Circle: Gluttony

Believing (incorrectly) that we are halfway done, my husband and I take a break in the backyard to eat sandwiches and listen to a podcast about a heinous crime. We also eat chips. And cookies.

Fourth Circle: Avarice & Prodigality

We bought a $500 basketball hoop because it was readily available for curbside pickup when a similar model costing $200, could have been delivered in two weeks. My husband receives a text asking him to donate $5 to the Red Cross. He ignores it.

Fifth Circle: Wrath & Sullenness

My husband holds four wrenches in one hand, as if by doing so will conjure the correct wrench — the one we don’t have. At the same moment, I realize I forgot to put rubber washers in six different joineries. I take to my hammock and commence a toddler-esque melt-down.

Sixth Circle: Heresy

I see my husband holding a screwdriver and ask, “Did the instructions say to use that?” Then, when I’m the one holding the screwdriver, he says, “Shouldn’t that be a Phillips head?” The cycle repeats.

Seventh Circle: Violence

The backboard bolt won’t tighten and we have yet to locate our ratchet set. My husband takes out his frustration by kicking the bumper of the car, causing the alarm to go off. I remove the red basketball hoop from its bubble-wrapped nest and contemplate hoop-icide.

Eighth Circle: Fraud

We decide to keep assembling even though there are several pieces that are not fully secure. “We’ll go back and fix that later.” And just like the wobbly IKEA bookshelf and the underwhelming paint-job in the guest bedroom, we won’t.

Ninth Circle: Treachery

Sensing that the basketball hoop is fully assembled, the traitorous sun retreats, and it rains for four days. The newly assembled portable basketball hoop lays in the grass, a wounded soldier, praying for death.