The Seven Deadly Sins Part 2: GLUTTONY
The Seven Deadly Sins. I can't believe there are just seven, but who am I to question them? I mean, we've had a couple of thousand years to consider adding to the list and nothing new has come along. I started with Sloth yesterday, because my favorite book as a kid was Sloth's Birthday Party and I felt a strong connection with him, because his place was a mess, all his tea cups and chairs were broken and his friends all judged him, but he was so relaxed it didn't really matter in the end. In honor of this sin, I spent the entire day doing anything but blogging and then decided that a true sloth would post nothing...so I didn't. Honestly, I'm not sure sloth is a sin, because it felt so right.
I'm not sure if there's an order to the sins, but if there is, I'm ignoring it. Sloth, Gluttony and Lust seem to be the most fun, so we'll start there. Next up - Gluttony. And how timely, since I ate a 14 ounce burger last night. And not just a burger, but enough fries to have solved the Irish potato famine. I'm actually going back to get another platter of onion rings, because I want to send it to my 25-cents-a-day child in Malawi so that he has something to eat for the rest of his life and save myself $30 a month.
Friends called us up to go out to dinner and, while they were likely in the mood for something classy, we wanted greasy burgers served by Indians. Yes, Indians. Somehow America has corrupted them. Cows are no longer sacred, but are to be ground into chunks and served with jalapeño ranch dressing in a plastic cup. It's a chain restaurant, but I so hope they make enough money to go solo and start a place called Untouchables. "We have three menus - Upper Caste, Lower Caste and Untouchable. Can I get you a beer, or perhaps a concubine? By the way, did I tell you I was a doctor in New Delhi?"
I'm not sure I understand the difference between Gluttony and Greed - both are wanting more than you need. As a society, we've fallen so deeply into that mindset that we feel like we not only deserve more than we need, but that we'll screw each other over to achieve it. It's not just considering 12 pounds of potatoes to be required for one order of fries - it's that we consider ourselves jipped if the meal is not large enough to make us incapable of walking. If we aren't so full that we risk gastrointestinal tearing, we aren't satisfied - either way, we order dessert. We've reached a point in the history of our society where, in order to be happy, we have to have the best of everything whether we can afford it, or even deserve it - the best clothes, the nicest cars and the most power - and some of us will do anything to achieve it.
While that really sucks, I think that trying to cure ourselves of the sin of gluttony, to purge ourselves of the desire to desire, is just as risky. I've always had the idea that want and need were two very different things, and that wanting something was somehow brash, rude and selfish. To ask for something, to wish for something is as natural as breathing. If we didn't do it, what would be the point of life? We could just be born and sit there for the rest of our lives, content to lay on the floor with no need to work, no responsibility to improve ourselves or strive for something better, because, what do we REALLY need but shelter, food and water? Well, we do need love and affection, but in my mind - corrupted by the misguided lessons that God does not want us to have more than we need - even they were filed away in my mind as selfish. Being the stubborn idealist that I am, I took my desire to overcome gluttony to the extreme, and tried so hard not to actually want anything at all that I left myself with nothing but food, water and shelter. Going without material things is easier - I could convince myself that I didn't need anything special and survive without it. Convincing myself that I didn't want them was harder. When you really aspire to something, but think you don't deserve it, it only results in resentment towards others that have it. That seems more like a sin to me somehow. And, refusing love and affection for fear that I would seem needy and selfish did nothing but leave me empty and wanting even more. So, in the end, Gluttony will always win, not matter how we attempt to slay it. And isn't it more damaging to go through life unable to enjoy what the world provides?
And why must it be a sin? I think there are some things that we should set up as an all-you-can-eat buffet and gorge ourselves upon. Why can't we accept love until we're so full that we have emotional heartburn? Why can't we feast upon kindness and assistance from others without becoming nauseous with guilt? Why not gluttonously show our affection and appreciation and gratitude for those around us until we are insatiable? And, why NOT lust for the material things we want too? As Americans, we work like beasts of burden every single day - why not use the fruits of our labor to buy whatever it is that inspires us and makes us happy? Can we not just let each new day make our mouths water with anticipation of its promise and then devour it like it's our last meal?
I want to be obese. I want to be morbidly obese. I want to binge on happiness, love, beauty, being adored, admired and appreciated - and yes, I want a really nice house, an Audi, 2.5 kids dressed in funky designer clothes and two iPads, just in case one breaks. I want to eat until I am so full of positivity that my body and soul forces me to purge all the self-punishing feelings of guilt, selfishness and pride. I want to be covered in happy blubber so that when I laugh, the world shakes and everyone around me feels my gluttony - for life.