Sin of the Week: Gluttony
Posted by Rystefn on March 20, 2009
As before, following the concept from Perhaps We Learned Something. This one is, I think, rather less awesome then the previous two, but there’s only so much I can do with the subject at hand.
Gluttony, or the sin of “too much of a good thing,” is hard for me to wrap my mind around. By that, I mean, it’s hard for me to grasp how it’s supposed to be a sin. As an avowed and lifelong shameless hedonist, the concept is pretty well at odds with my worldview. (Lust, by the way, is pretty much the opposite of a sin in my universe, if you haven’t figured that out.) Sure, I can understand from an academic standpoint that alcoholism, eating until you’re morbidly obese, etc. are bad things, but it’s hard to really truly understand it. By the time I was 17, I was drinking half a liter of whiskey every Saturday night and eating six meals a day when I could get them. Sounds exactly like the case most people pitch against gluttony to me, except that the horrible consequences they always go on about never happened. At 6’3″ or so, I weighed a whopping 155lbs. I quit drinking for months at a time, and never so much as craved a taste. When I was in the Army, I had bacon with literally every meal. Three times a day, every day, for years on end. At my exit physical, the doctor praised me for being so careful with what I ate and taking care of myself that way and said that if everyone had cholesterol levels like that, cardiologists wouldn’t have a job.
Yeah, it’s probably more to do with luck than anything else. I basically won the genetic lottery. The same high-octane metabolism that made me so good at running, jumping, and martial arts kept me from putting on too much weight (and still does). The same systems that keep the smog and fumes from the chemical plants and refineries from screwing up my body also help keep me from addictions and the other effects of alcohol consumption. I am aware of these things from a logical standpoint, but since it’s the only thing I know, it’s hard for me to really get a full understanding of other people’s problems. To me, a person who has trouble resisting the bottle or who has to keep track of what and how much they eat may as well be a space alien. I can sympathize, but the empathy link comes up blank every time.