LC Van Savage
The Seven Delectable Deadlies
Sin. Ah sin. This simple little 3 letter word brings all sorts of thoughts to our minds, right? To some the word brings forth thoughts of great moral rage that it exists at all. To others, it brings forth wonderful memories of youthful indiscretions that we’d kill in the geezerdom of our years to revisit. To even more others, the word means nothing, to them sin doesn’t exist, or at best it’s a most subjective word. Eye of the beholder and all that.
Someone somewhere during the history of humankind made a list, (who asked him?) and seven things were written down. They had names, and those names were entitled, “The Seven Deadly Sins.” Deadly? As in if you “commit” one you die? I don’t get that part, and while I have different views on what sin is from perhaps the views of lots and lots of other people, let’s take a look at those individual seven deadlies.
Thus my fellow sinners, let us begin with the first; envy. To be envious is a sin? Then we’re all doomed, folks. Please tell me how a feeling can be a sin, when feelings are unavoidable? We cannot control our feelings, right? Tell me, when you’re driving down a street in a rusted out hulk of a hacking and belching hybrid car, called “hybrid” because it’s constructed and patched together out of eleven different cars from a junkyard graveyard, and a big, black, sleek, shimmering chauffeured Rolls Royce purrs past you, its owner sitting in the back sipping on a white chocolate mocha latte, are you really going to tell me you wouldn’t feel envy? Come on. No fibbing allowed. Of course you would, so ooops, sorry, you are a sinner according to that mysterious, ancient list maker.
Sin #2 – anger. Please, give me a break here. Anger’s a sin? Really? OK then, every living creature, reptile, mammal, bird, bug, worm and hominoid is a great roaring sinner. Do we not feel anger when defending our young ones from an attacker? Having our food stolen? Seeing a bully hurting a small kid? Slamming our thumb with a hammer to a big fat pulsating, bleeding bulb? One shouldn’t feel anger mixed in with the agony? A driver cuts us off so suddenly we’re forced into a mud bank; no anger from that? Right. Sure. Look, the deal with anger is what you do with it. If you take your anger and hurt someone with it, that’s definitely not OK and I’d say that’s absolutely a sin. If you never feel anger, you’re a saint and there should be a statue put up to you somewhere with you in a toga, a laurel wreath on your head, waving a mighty sword atop a frothing steed. So I guess the deal is that if we do occasionally feel anger, even justified, apparently we’re sinners.
Sin #3 – gluttony. Uh oh. There’s a favorite. Stuffing one’s craw with more food than one needs is no sin, except to one’s own body. But of course gluttony will always be a sin when there are people starving anywhere. So I’ll give us all a small pass on this one. The definition of sin is roughly, “An offense against God, religion or good morals.” Gluttony however, is mostly a sin against ourselves, so I suppose some would say that to sin against even ourselves is sinning against humanity’s personal gods. I’m not sure. But eat too much when there are those with no food? Yeah, that’s a big, fat sin for certain.
#4 – Sloth. That’s a sin? I’m totally doomed.
#5 – Lust. Another favorite of mine. We can control our feelings of lust? OK, to a point maybe we can. Or ought to. I mean we all try to resist the impulse to jump someone’s bones because they look particularly juicy that day, especially if we haven’t been properly introduced. And of course doing that is a serious faux pas when one does it at a party, a wedding, funeral or ball game. But to control our feelings of lust? Who can do that? Not even Jimmy Carter, remember? (Look it up.) Sure we should control lustful urges so we don’t go casually around acting on them, but I’ll tell you this; if I were sitting across a table from Tom Selleck I’d be in major sin mode because I’d be lusting after that man in the most extreme and primitive way even if Mongo were sitting right smack-dab next to me. Tom of course wouldn’t know of my uncontrolled feelings because I’d be very cool although might perhaps nonchalantly ask him to pass the salt so I could accidentally grab half of his hand as he passed it over. Sure, there’d be lust in my heart but it’s acting on it that makes it naughty. Not feeling it.
#6 – Greed. That’s a sin? Once again, it’s what we do with it. If your personal greed makes others suffer, makes them do without, then OK, sin it is. But greed, while a majorly negative word, has probably made our country what it is today. Think about the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889 for starters.
#7 – Pride. Oh my. How on earth can that be a sin? If it is, a million parents who put those prideful bumper stickers on their, well bumpers of course, bragging about their scholastically superior kids are all sinners. Of course they are prideful of their kids. Why shouldn’t they be? Personally I take great pride in our sons and their wives and their children, and I take huge pride in Mongo. He rocks! I take great pride in the fact that I get to live in this fabulous state of Maine, in my TV show “incredibleMAINE,” in this column, in my friends, in fact a whole lot of things. I used to be very prideful of my naturally curly hair but the curls and the resulting pride have begun to slowly vanish into thin hair. Pride, it’s said, goeth before the fall. I can dig that, but my own personal pride in the things of my life hasn’t made me fall yet and I’m very prideful and jolly well intend to stay that way.
So there you have it. How come these natural feelings one cannot help experiencing are called “sins”? I’m confused. They all seem to be innate to me, uncontrollable actually. Are we to be taken to task, or taken to hell for having natural feelings? The more civilized of us understand that to use these feelings as a bludgeon against other living things is unacceptable. Even wild animals know when they have to control their feelings, that to go about smashing or killing members of the herd or the pack, the pod, the swarm, gaggle, drove, brood, or covey, then all species will vanish and yes, some may say that’s perhaps a good thing, but for now I say we take pride in ourselves and try to get along. We feel these things, we deal with them and we move on. Sins they are not.
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