Pass to Heaven—Assembly Instructions

(2010, age 63)

Overview

I find this little bit of paper-cutting and the story quite incredible. I am astonished that four simple folds and two straight cuts could yield such a compelling and complete story.

You will tell a story about a good man who has died and is carrying a pass to heaven on a piece of paper. At the same moment, an evil man has died and is also on his path to Judgement but who has no pass. He asks the good man to share the pass. Will he share his paper, his “pass to heaven?” You will make a few simple folds and two cuts on a piece of plain paper to see the amazing answer.

The Pass to Heaven

Take an unlined sheet of paper and set it flat on the table. Take the upper right corner and fold it over to the left until it lines up with the left side of the paper. Make a crease. The paper should look like this:

paper cut results

Take the top left corner and fold it over until it is at the right edge of the paper. Flatten it and it should now look like this:

paper cut results

Fold the bottom up and make the third crease.

paper cut results

Finally, fold it left to right and you have completed your pass to heaven. Have a pair of scissors ready and then with the paper in hand, tell the story.

paper cut results

The Story

Have as much fun with the story as you like. The essentials, though, are these: the evil person asks the good person to share the pass to heaven. The good person has shared all his life, so he decides to cut off a piece of his pass to give to the evil person. He doesn’t cut much off. With the scissors, make the cut shown here and put the pieces cut off, those from the right in the drawing, aside for the moment.

paper cut results

The evil person is worried he doesn’t have enough, so he asks the good person again for more of the pass. Eventually the good person agrees, and makes a second cut. Cut the pass and put the new pieces cut off, to the right in this diagram, aside with those already cut off. These are the pieces of the pass to heaven carried by the sinner.

paper cut results

In your story, both men arrive at the Pearly Gates and Saint Peter speaks to the sinner first. “What’s that you have?” and the sinner replies “It’s my pass to heaven!” Unfold all the pieces of paper and put them together to spell a word. Saint Peter sees the word and says “This looks like it’s a pass to the other place.” “It can’t be. I got the pass from him!” as he points to the good man. “Let’s see what he has for a pass to heaven,” says Saint Peter as he unfolds the remaining piece of the pass from which all the other pieces were cut. You unfold the last piece and the story is complete and nothing more need be said.


Topology

paper cut results

If you can’t figure out the spelled word and the symbol that remains, it’s shown in this diagram. All the cut pieces are shown both assembled and arranged in a word and a symbol. It’s amazing to me that the folds and the cuts are so simple and so few, and that the word “HELL” and the symbol for the Cross are formed completely and with no extra pieces.