Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Indulge Me. Remember What Mae West Said: "To Err Is Human, But It Feels Divine." The Dept. Is (Sinfully) Seven!

by Marc Petrovic and Tim Tate
 In 375 AD, Evagrius Ponticus, a teacher and writer also known as Evagrius the Solitary, decided to identify the most terrible sources of temptation for human beings.  He came up with eight and named them as the sources of all sinful behaviour.  Two hundred years later, Pope Gregory I revised the list down to seven, and we now know them more commonly as The Seven Deadly Sins:  Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed, and Sloth.

In August 2012 AD,  the Dept. of Nance, written by a former teacher, celebrates seven years of being a source of...well, something for human beings here on the Interwebs.  In its existence for the past seven years, no doubt it has encouraged and celebrated some sinfulness here and there.  In the spirit of Evagrius Ponticus and Sinners everywhere, I would like to 'fess up--in spirit--to seven each of the Seven Deadlies.

1.  Pride/Vanity:   I'm vain about everything, as Readers all know, but inordinately so about my shoes (which must match my outfit); my clothes (which must be impeccable ensembles); my reading glasses (which must match my shoes and outfit); my hair (which I am at war with constantly); my eyelashes (Bug, where is the Mascara Spreadsheet?); my cats, who remain overweight despite their pricey diet food (and getting no treats or table food--so embarrassing); and the appearance of each post in this blog (it's exhausting, really).

2.  Envy:  This is a tough one.  I'm not generally an envious person, although I do wish I had the blogger book deal, the wherewithal to go on a world cruise, a warm-climate winter getaway home, the ability to eat and not get fat (like Sam's girlfriend seems to be able to!)...(See?  This is turning into what I wish, and not really a list of Envies.)  I'm envious of people who have a really good sense of direction, who like to take photos and have them organized, and who don't have the Worry Gene.  Because I do.

3.  Gluttony:  I don't eat like I used to be able to, and my food cravings change.  But we all have foods we love.  Seven of mine are:  Lobster, Avocados, Fresh-cut French Fries, Duck, Asparagus, Risotto, and Nutella.  Still Nutella.

4.  Lust:  Sometimes I find myself attracted to the oddest men.  Other times, they fit My Type exactly.  Here are seven men I find attractive, and a few are just big question marks, honestly:  Daniel Day-Lewis, Rob Lowe, Pau Gasol, Hugh Laurie, Robert Herjavec (from TV's Shark Tank), Anderson Varejao, and Richard Engel.

5.  Anger:  Lots of stuff makes me mad.  You and I both know that the short answer here could be "republicans" and I'd be done.  But that wouldn't be fair.  So, without getting too peevish, I'll say the USA's poor mentality about education funding in general; the way society bashes teachers; the downward spiral of quality in journalism, especially among broadcast/television media; the glorification of bad behavior in society, namely via so-called "reality programming"; the breathtaking sense of entitlement among people in the past 20 years; the astonishing attempt by some politicians to demote women to second-class citizens by abrogating their rights; and the unreasonable and inexplicable discrimination against gay citizens of our country.

6.  Greed:  This is the desire for material wealth or gain while ignoring the realm of the godly.  And while I pretty much observe the latter, I'm not the Quintessential Material Girl in that I don't wear jewelry or care about designer clothes or give a hoot about driving a Beemer and all that baloney.  Are there even seven materialistic things I want, say, before I die?  I would love a Viking range, a Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment for my mixer, a shopping spree in Sur la Table or Crate and Barrel, someone to come in and repaint the inside of my house for free, and oh hell!  While I'm at it, how about someone just gives me a summer home in Niagara-on-the-Lake? Wouldn't that be nice? Oh yeah, with a vineyard!

7.  Sloth:  According to everyone I meet, I have this one covered.  As soon as anyone hears I have Retired, the very next thing out of his or her mouth is, "Oh! And what are you doing now?"  It's become incredibly embarrassing to say "Nothing."  When did Retirement come to mean Moved On To Next Big Fucking Busy Work Thing?  Because I retired in order to Be Done Working. Here are seven things I'm NOT doing:  grading papers; calling parents of highschoolers; holding my pee for three hours because it's not my conference period or lunch period yet; having a 12-hour day because of parent conferences; buying my own supplies to the tune of a couple hundred bucks a year; pulling together a semester's worth of makeup work in one day for a kid who has been absent and failing but is entitled to his makeup work even though I know he will never turn it in; running to four different copy machines to find one that works in order to copy a test that I am giving that day since I tried to copy it all day yesterday to no avail.  Ahhh, yes.  Sloth.  I'm still, as far as Work Outside The Home Goes, diggin' the Sloth.

Now that I've suitably shocked and dishonored the memories of both Evagrius Ponticus and Gregory I, I invite you to help me celebrate my Blogiversary and do the same.  What are some of your Deadlies? (Or, if you don't want to share, you may merely comment upon mine.) And, oh, do have some cake.  But don't be Greedy and make a pig of yourself.


  1. Happy anniversary!

    I thoroughly enjoyed this - & I might have to steal some of your dudes (but not all of them - I'm intimidated by guys in suits).

    I LOVED your answer to Anger - I may just have to quote you verbatim on my blog.

    As for my own sins - mostly they involve sloth & gluttony, so maybe I should just stay away from that cake!

  2. Well done! And may you continue for many more.
    Cake? Virtual bliss?
    Sins - Sloth, mostly.

    Also, I was brought up to believe that acting sad and depressed was a big sin - my family needed me to be happy, upbeat and productive. So, I'm feeling very sinful at the moment.

    BTW - 8th deadly sin. Ugly grammar sins such as using 'lie' and 'lay' backwards and telling people that 'Me and Dad went fishing', or variant thereof.

  3. Mikey G.9:59 PM

    Oh, for me it's all about the sloth. Today was my first day back to teaching. I only had three hours of class, but it just felt like so much that I came home and took a nap afterward. And I really should be cleaning my room, but dammit, I had to work today! Wasn't that enough???

  4. Mikey--You're still recovering from Vacation. Plus, I remember so well those first few re-entry days after summer, and I never had the extensive trips away that you did. You are Absolved, my child.

    Mary G--Sadness was the sin that was eventually omitted. I found that to be sad in and of itself. Imagine sadness as a wicked human passion or offence against Love! I guess it was considered self-indulgent. Surely the Victorians had strict rules governing it, especially mourning, and especially for women. As a matter of fact, when I Googled images to use in this post, modern imagery concerning the Seven Deadlies without exception portrayed them as women when using human forms. Boy, does religion have Issues with us!

    Take care, dearest Mary. I understand and sympathize. Perhaps you need a small trip by yourself?

    And thank you for the kind encouragement. The Dept. will press on (with all Good Grammar)!

    Bug--Oh, thank you and thank you. What a lot of Confessed Lazies we have here in Comments! Well, we can all burn together.

    As far as the men go, those are a random sample, and some wear basketball uniforms rather than suits, as I am sure you may know. In the case of Richard Engel, he shows up in a flak jacket now and again. I actively worry over him because he always shows up in the center of some Middle Eastern coup or civil war, embedded with the rebels and walking among the rubble after a mortar strike. Normally, I prefer my men much more sedately engaged.

  5. I'm getting worried and thinking that perhaps I should dispel my sweet daughter of her desire to become a school teacher. It sounds exhausting. It's a profession that's big in our family, so she'll all for it. But it sounds exhausting.

    Regarding your anger section, I think you'd be interested in hearing today's Forum (KQED.COM, our local PBS radio station), which interviewed a local film reviewer, Mick LeSalle. I don't always agree with him, but I liked what he had to say about American actresses, though I found it depressing. To paraphrase, he said that French audiences are interested in interesting women, so French actresses are allowed to be interesting and strong, and their beauty counts, but it's not first. American audiences only care about women as the adjunct to the male hero of the film, and most important is their beauty, so you get boring actresses who are lovely in photographs, rather than interesting actresses who are lovely to watch in a film. Frustrating, but so right.

  6.'m trying mightily to come up with an interesting and UNattractive French actress.... But the point is well-taken, nonetheless.

    Other cultures, primarily European, have long eschewed the panting pursuit of young women as the Ideal Female. The US leads the league in tossing women on a scrap heap once they turn thirty in any industry where they are on the air or on display. This is coming from a woman who is probably more vain than anyone--seriously--but I never lie about my age and honestly believe that a woman's attractiveness, in large part, has a lot to do with her intelligence and her confidence in herself. And those last two factors boil down to "interesting," really. There is something truly beautiful about a person who is smart and assured and moving with grace among others. Think about it, right? And without getting really preachy, that's what I tried to model, especially for my female students, every single day.

    Which leads me to Maya. I'm really torn when anyone tells me about wanting to be a teacher anymore. Because the career incredibly politicized and in flux right now, and not, in my long view, headed in a positive direction. One of my colleagues, who resigned the same time I retired, said "It's like no matter what you do, it's never enough. And when you do more, no one says thank you; they just expect more and more." Good teachers will always be needed by kids. Always. But the rest of it? Sigh. I miss the actual teaching. Period. But that was not what I retired from. Let's just say that.

  7. Happy blog birthday! I love the idea of this post. However, I am shocked by the Pau Gasol mention in the list. Really??!!

    Robert Herjavec from the Shark Tank I get. He's cute! Funny that you mention that show, I just wrote a post with a mention of another person on that show. And I've mentioned you in the same post! Interested to hear your thoughts. : )

  8. Lisa/Anali--Thank you. I know--Pau! I share your surprise. I told you that some of them are question marks. I have no idea why I find that Certain Something about him, but I do. RH from Shark Tank has almost no lips, and lips are big with me, but there is something else about him. Maybe it's his Croatian heritage, which I share. Who knows?

    Thanks for the mention over at The Amendment, where I've just visited and commented. Interesting collection of doodads you're thinking about!

  9. I spent many years working in PR, so I have a hard time with the whole sin thing.

    I'm not a glutton, I'm just someone who appreciates cake. I'm not vain, I'm middle-aged and have to work harder at looking good now. I'm not angry, I just have the balls to call out STUPID when I see it. I'm not slothful, I'm easy-going. See how it works?

  10. V-grrrl--Since this is an Election Year, we can also call it Spin!


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