I often ask myself this question as I open a catalog of ” interesting items ” and check the shipping section to see that they will deliver in plain unmarked wrappers. Not that I am all that moral to start with – I spend a good part of my spare time pushing unsuspecting victims off railway embankments into the path of oncoming trains – but I like to keep the good opinion of the family. Or at least of the Australia Post chap on the motorbike.
I used to think that sin was an easy thing to define. And there were no-end of people who wanted to help me do just that…all the way from close relatives to religious advisers to school teachers. In many cases their admonitions overlapped – I realised early on that counterfeiting currency and wearing garments made of mixed fabrics was a moral no-no of the highest order. Also no footling around with strange gals. Bank robbery, arson, and drinking milk from the bottle also figured in there at various times.
Well, I have avoided all these snares. With the possible exception of the counterfeiting and the footling…but even there I can say that no harm was done. The Andalusian Zlotny is still worth all it ever was. And the footling has never actually resulted in a dirty weekend…unless you count cleaning the gutters with a teaspoon as footling and then I can say I have indeed had dirty weekends…
Is shopping a sin? If it is, then is working in the retail sector also morally reprehensible? I did so for 7.8 years and do not seem to have gone to hell in a handbasket. Possibly spent a few lunch hours in Purgatory during stocktake, though. I count it as a positive step in my life that I now do not have to take stock of anything and can throw things away just as I please.
How about gluttony? With a single slice of toast for breakfast, fruit for lunch, and one plate of dinner, I think I can put myself above this accusation. It’s not sanctity – I am old enough that I can’t eat all that much, and the stuff I do eat need not be the gourmet cuisine of the rich and famished. Plus if I am cooking it and then cleaning up afterwards I tend to limit the number of little glass bowls of ingredients that I tip into the mixture anyway. I am fastidious enough to use a fork to get pickles out of a jar, but that is hygiene, not prissiness.
Avarice? Is that the same as standard rice? How much does it cost?
Pride? Well I never wear silk robes, orders of the garter, or coronets when I go out to the shops, and rarely at home, either. I have stopped sneering at people…mainly because they sneer back…and am quite approachable by the lower orders.
Anger, of course, is always bad news. But then so is bad news, and we get that every day at 7:00AM and 7:00PM presented by the Australian Broadcasting Commisars. I try not to hurl things at the radio or television, though I have no objection to other members of the family doing so, as long as it is not me they are hurling. And I have conquered road rage entirely, he says, lying through his teeth. It is pointless in a country that bans the civilian use of handguns.
And there is nothing quite like the cat for curing sloth. When it wakes up, you wake up.