Saturday, March 18, 2006

40 Days of Lent - Day Eighteen

These Are A Few Of My Deadliest Sins

Several years ago, I was playing the "What's Your Deadly Sin?" game in which you decide which of the Seven Deadly Sins is your greatest weakness and guess the deadly sins of the others in the room, or better yet, those who aren't around. It's not really a game per se, but an interesting source of discussion. I'd much rather talk to people than play some lame game anyway. I'm not competitive by nature and I have little use for "rules."

Then as now, I see myself ruled by two deadly sins: a tie between sloth and gluttony. Though I sometimes exhibit the other deadly sins, I think I have them under control and don't consider them fundamental parts of my personality. Sloth and gluttony on the other hand are definitely part of who I am.

Sloth in this case refers to my inability to complete a project on my own without some deadline imposed from outside. I am simply not a self-starter. I've been wanting to paint two of the rooms in my apartment for a couple of months now. Have I done so? Of course not. I had an excuse a month ago when I was working; however, I'm not working now but always seem to find something else to do. I know the pattern: I will think about it for a while, then decide I want the job completed by a certain date (say, a weekend when someone is coming to visit) and frantically get it done the day before the deadline. I've mentioned trying to write a book inspired by my travels in Europe -- guess how much I've gotten done? I printed out that section of this journal for easier editing, and the pages sit on the table in my (ironically named) work room. The reason I'm posting every day for Lent is to force myself to work and get some writing done each day.

But it is gluttony that seems to truly define me. Not just gluttony for food, though anyone who knows me knows my love of eating. But gluttony for things: books, cds, dvds, artwork, etc. I'm lucky the objects of my desire are fairly inexpensive. I still have unopened cds that I got for free when I worked at Columbia House eight years ago, yet still buy new cds. When I discovered free movies online at, I gorged myself, downloading educational films, Betty Boop cartoons, and old television commercials with the plan of burning them to disc. However, I haven't found time to watch them, let alone make dvds. I have piles of unread books that I'll get to "eventually," yet if I don't stop in a bookstore or library at least once a week, I feel funny (this is not hyperbole). I ususally don't leave empty-handed, either.

My trip to Europe was inspired in part by a gluttony, but a gluttony for experience. My office job had left me bored, my sloth prevented me from looking for work I enjoyed. Plus the job paid well. A hunger for new experiences, new images and sounds, drove me on. It was an impulsive drive, acted act in slow motion over several months. I indulged and wallowed in this aspect of gluttony and I'd do it again in heartbeat.

See you all in Hell!


Mom said... define sloth as I define procrastination. And I'll think about that tomorrow.
As regards your ideas on gluttony, I don't know that the desire for new experiences can be considered to be gluttony. I think that exposure to new people, places and things keeps up from shriveling up and blowing away. Actually, generally speaking, I am of the opinion that the desire to take part in new experiences is a virtue...that is, until I look at my third floor storeroom. Love you, John.

Mom said...

PS...line 6, read "keeps us" Not "keeps up." I don't want to cause Kate any distress.

the hanged man said...

She (Kate) is just keeping me in line.

Actually I found it interesting that I have a chorus of ladies who write in when I've made a mistake (ie salamander = fish). I mentioned this to a friend the other night and she said I was misogynist.

Julie said...

You? a misogynist? I don't know many other men who have more respect for women, both as individuals and as a whole. That's probably why the women in your life feel free to correct you without worrying that you'll get defensive. If you're wrong, you admit it without any macho bullshit.

Mom said...

Question...were they all Pisces?

the hanged man said...

Now that you mention it, only Carol is a Pisces. Kate's birthday is in December (does that make her a Capricorn?) and I believe Mrs. Collins was born under that most holy and perfect of signs, Gemini.