Monday, March 24, 2008

A Multiplicity of Vices

Never support two weaknesses at the same time. It's your combination sinners - your lecherous liars and your miserly drunkards - who dishonor the vices and bring them into bad repute. ~Thornton Wilder

There are those who would consider my voracious sexual appetite and my non-traditional ways of going about meeting this need to be a "vice". Naturally, I don't consider it a vice, but, rather as my basic nature. If I did find it be a failing of character, I would certainly take better pains to conceal and/or deny it.

Rather, I think my primary failing, my personal vice, is sloth, better known as laziness. I'm a procrastinator of the first order and I've never worked any harder on a job than was necessary to keep that job. I do what I'm required to do, but not one iota more. My personal motto regarding work is "Never volunteer for anything".

I never do today what I can safely put off until tomorrow. I live in the one house on the block that makes the rest of the neighborhood look bad with its unkempt yard, gutters that need replacing, bits of trash unpicked-up on the lawn. The inside of the house looks similarly "lived in".

My lack of ambition and industriousness has had a major negative influence on my life -- the college diploma never earned, the book not published, the musical career not pursued -- and is, of course, the major reason why I'm as poor as a college student though in my late forties.

Though, for the most part, I don't regret or apologize for my laid-back approach to life, I do regret not getting my degree and I know I need to get my rear in gear and publish a book.

On the other hand, there is nothing I regret about my sexual proclivities. It hasn't had a negative effect on my life and I won't go to my grave with unfulfilled fantasies in this realm. Hence, it is not a "vice" in my life.

In reference to the quote above, many people exhibit more than one major vice in their lives, as part of an underlying addictive personality. Heavy drinkers are usually heavy smokers, and drug addicts often have problems with smoking and drinking along with their primary addiction. Excessive drinking often accompanies chronic overeating, and compulsive gamblers are often heavy smokers as well.

You get the drill; though vices can happen singly, they commonly occur in various combinations together.

Though I consider myself to have the single vice of sloth, and though some would add sex as my second vice, I'm not at all tempted by any of the other common vices.

In fact, I can be rather anal and self-righteous about some of the other vices. I don't allow anyone to smoke in my car and I make gibes about "taking a health break" to my co-workers standing outside smoking. Though I went through a phase in college where I drank a good bit of beer, I left the habit behind when I left college. After years of dealing with asshole drunks on the police force, I never drink at all now, nor can I abide the company of drunks. The only reason you'll ever see me in a bar these days is looking for a hookup -- I always order Coke or Pepsi until I've made my conquest for the night.

I've never done any drugs at all, including pot. I saw all my college roommates doing it, and they'd always choke with their eyes running every time they took a hit, and combined with the revolting odor, it completely soured me on the idea of taking part. Similarly, I don't overeat very often, nor do I gamble beyond buying a lottery ticket once in a blue moon.

I'm not particularly bothered with feelings of envy, greed (indeed, my sloth prevents me from being too greedy), jealousy, and though I can get angry, it doesn't happen constantly, nor at the drop of a hat.

So, what's my point with all this rambling? It's simple. I advise everyone to have one vice and do it really well. ;-)

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