THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS
Once the Seven Deadly Sins formed a support group to buck up their spirits. For the longest time they’d resisted the move, wishing to believe they could deal with their individual problems on their own. There was something degrading in a Deadly Sin’s reaching out, each one had felt, something like an admission of weakness. Only when they could no longer ignore the seriousness of their difficulties did they feel they had no choice but to face the facts and admit they needed help. The common complaint among the Seven Deadly Sins was that morality was declining faster than their ability to adapt to the new normal or to work out new coping strategies. To a greater extent every day, they found themselves confronted by the demands of increased multitasking, trespass-wise. This they could handle, albeit with a strain, but the nature of sinning now, the dreary levels to which it had sunk, was what had brought their own spirits so low. Deadly Sins just weren’t what they once had been. For example, what was Covetousness forced to put up with every day? Compulsive buying disorders? Glassy-eyed 24-hour bidding at online auctions? The mass pursuit of cheesy “collectibles”? Forget coveting “thy neighbor’s wife,” there was so much to grab and so little time. Even coldhearted fraud and rapacious greed seemed debased to the level of chummy conspiracies between those who had billions already. Or what of Lust? How could Lust, once capable of driving a person mad, have fallen to the level of smirking teen comedies, fashion-mag sex advice, and by-the-number porn videos with canned moantracks? Where was the power to lift one out of these numbing banalities and into the far reaches of sexual imagination, where carnal yearning moved at the speed of light? And poor Gluttony, stuck with gourmet clubs and cooking shows, supersized sixteen-year-olds, and recovery programs where the “good life” was considered a “treatable eating disorder.” Even gout had taken on the odd ring of an eighteenth-century curiosity, so matter-of-fact had overconsumption become. Pride really didn’t know what to make of all the minor-league vanities being praised in its name. Towering hubris displaced by a gauche posturing for the cameras, bone-deep narcissism yielding to garden-variety self-touting, Chamber of Commerce boosterism passing for civic vainglory, boasts that flag size matters when it comes to love of country—such were only some of the embarrassments that Pride had to suffer daily. And if Pride was nonplussed, what about Envy? This once-ubiquitous Deadly Sin wondered how it could maintain any self-esteem whatsoever after being reduced to little more than a schoolyard jeer: “You envy and hate me for having everything you don’t. Well, too bad. Now get out of my sight, or you’ll be sorry.” Where was the “green-ey’d monster” of jealousy, that apotheosis of Envy? And puerile Twitterstorms of lies about those whose greater reputation preceded you and will outlive yours in the future. What a bewildering, disheartening comedown to the sandbox level! Nor did Anger escape mortification, although it could find some solace in having now become the Deadly Sin with the highest recognition factor at all levels of society and throughout the virtual world. From a general resentment at life’s failure to deliver on one’s personal wish-list to a conviction that the entire world was in a conspiracy to get the better of one, the belief that somebody must be to blame for everything that doesn’t benefit oneself and should pay the price for it festered in untold hearts. “Fine,” thought Anger, “but how do you tell the difference then between mere road rage and global strife?” The Deadly Sin most put off by its fallen state, however, was surely the unlikeliest: Sloth. How could any of the other Deadly Sins not be shocked at the straits that Sloth found itself in? Bodies turning to flab were one thing, but to witness the spread of intellectual and ethical flab as well was to see “indolence” take on new meaning. With reports of clogged synapses and moral blockages approaching contagion proportions, even breakthrough procedures in cerebral liposuction couldn’t keep up. The Body Mental Index itself no longer had any meaning, its measurements were so far beyond belief. Given all of these insults to their legacy, was it any wonder that the Seven Deadly Sins felt the need to support each other, pull themselves up by the bootstraps, and carry on however they could? It wouldn’t be easy, but what other option did they have? The way things were going, it was hard to imagine a single one of them would be worth going to hell for pretty soon.
Copyright © 2020 by Geoffrey Grosshans