Saturday 18 May 2024

The Saturday List #441 - The seven deadly sins and am I on the express train to hell?

Twice this week, I've had quite deep conversations with people I don't know that well, where they have admitted to being Roman Catholics and being heavily encumbered with the burden that is Catholic guilt. As I was raised a Roman Catholic, I sympathise. The primary school I went to was constructed along the lines of Gulag, sepcifically designed to brainwash kids. I don't actually think the nuns instilled good Christian ethical morality. Instead they gave us a heay rucksack to carry through life, containing rocks of heavy burden. These rocks are various irrational guilts. Let me give one example. One day, the headmistress Sister Gabrielle told us that we were using too much loopaper to wipe our bums. She said, and I kid you not, that the caretaker would be keeping an eye on us and if he caught us using more than two sheets, we'd be in trouble. She added that Jesus saw everything and even if the caretaker didn't catch us, on judgement day, Jesus would hold us to account. To make matters worse, the loopaper was the horrible, hard Izal paper that was rather poor at doing the job. Now I will add that the caretaker never watched us in the loo. The implication was that he'd be counting the sheets on a daily basis and any kids who were spotted entering and leaving the loo and taking too long were in trouble.

I was so disturbed by this that when I got home, I asked my mum how much loo paper you should use. She replied "As much as you need to make your bottom clean". I then asked if I'd go to hell if I used too much. She told me not to be stupid and that whoever told me that was winding me up. The nuns would tell us of the seven deadly sins and gave examples of them, such as the man who was vain and got his wife to pluck every white hair from his head. One day, he looked in the mirror and to his horror, he was bald. I don't know what they made of grecian 2000 hair dye for men?

The Seven deadly sins were first defined by Pope Gregry the Great. They were sins that were not banned by the Ten Commandments, but would land you in Hell anyway. To my horror, I've come to realised that I am enslaved by all of them to a certain extent. So what are they and why do they cause me such problems.

(1) Pride.
I have to say that I really struggle with this. I've always tried to take pride in everything I do. Last night the False Dots did a gig for our friends at Mill Hill Music Complex. Everyone had a great time, I was proud of of the band and myself. Now I understand that being too proud to ask for help has been the downfall of many when troubles afflict them, but I still struggle to see how this is a sin. Of course there is the sort of proud person, who looks down their nose at everyone they perceive as lesser people and who always want to sit at the top table and show off the fact that they are in some way better than the rest of us. Sadly the celebrity culture of these times seems to be especially fruitful for such behaviour. I've always felt more comfortable standing on the terraces having a beer with the lads, than hobbing with the knobs in the corporate boxes, eating prawn sarnies. 

(2) Greed.
Often confused with Gluttony, which is also a sin, in this context, greed refers to wanting more than your share. When you are out with your mates, you are all sharing the bill and splitting it equally. You know this, so you drink Stella Artois, as it is the most expensive pint, knowing that all your mates will be subsidising you. That is the worst type of greed. I was brought up to disavow such behavoiur, but given that I have fourteen guitars, I can't really lecture anyone of having too many of anything. 

(3) Lust.
This one nearly did kill me. When I was about eighteen years old, I was cycling home from work along Bunns Lane. Two very attractive young ladies got off the bus. I was totally distracted. I didn't realise that a Triumph Herald convertable in front of me had stopped to let the bus out. I didn't see at all and ended up in the back seat, with a written off bike. Fortunately the bloke driving saw the funny side. The two ladies pointed and laughed. I felt like a complete idiot. I wish that was the only time I'd made a poor decision for such reasons.

(4) Envy.
Keeping up with the Jones's. I think we all do this sometimes. With me, I am not envious of my mates, but if someone I dislike gets something good, it annoys the hell out of me. When I was at Orange Hill School, I distinctly recall someone who I thought was a complete plonker started to go out with someone I really fancied. Not only did it make me cross with myself for not getting in first, every time I saw them holding hands, it made me feel sick. Fortunately she soon saw through him. Sadly though, I couldn't bear the thought of being the second choice to him, so I never did ask her out (I guess that is pride as well). 

(5) Gluttony (which is usually understood to include drunkenness).
I'm done up like a kipper for this one. I love my food and I love my drink. I am someone who the term "eat as much as you like buffet" is a challenge. I've lost count of the niumber of times my missus has said "How many beers did you have last night?". I've replied "Only six or seven" to which she's rolled her eyes and called me a greedy guts (that's the polite version). 

(6) Anger,
I can joke about the others here. This I can't really. This used to be such a problem for me, that I went for counselling for it when I was about 33 years old. I used to feel consumed by anger all the time. So much so that I felt that if I wasn't angry I'd cease to exist. I was angry about politics, angry about injustice, angry about music and angry about life. When I had counselling, I realised that until my Mum had cancer in 1970, I had a sunny disposition. I think that seeing her in hospital, on drips, hardly able to talk. I've come to realise that I had a dose of PTSD from the experience. On top of that, I am dyslexic and chronically underperformed at school. Teachers would humiliate me. It was horrible. When my wife became pregnant, I realised that I needed to address this. Such demons can never be truly conquered, but you can mitigate the worst of it, which I think I do pretty well most of the time. 
(7) Sloth.
Now this is an interesting one. My wife tells me I am the laziest person she knows. This is partially because she equates things such as blogging, playing in a band, going to work at the studio, networking with people to generate business with anything but real work. In fact she generally equates it with lying in bed or sitting in the pub boozing. In her mind, my total lack of interest in housework makes me the worlds worst partner. I don't think I'm lazy and slothful, but she knows me far better than I do, and she totally believes I am a slob,

So am on the express train to Hell? If God is the God that the nuns used to scare us with, I am doomed. I have a slightly different view. I guess I'll only find out when it's too late, but I am glad I've gone through life using as much loo roll as I like.
If you enjoyed reading this, please have a listen to my band, The False Dots on Spotify and give us a follow. It would be very much appreciated CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

The False Dots are playing at The Horn in St Albans on Thursday 30th May 

You can check our lastest number out here

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