The Public Eye

printed 09/25/2020

The Seven Deadly Sins — Pride, Greed, Envy, Wrath, and so forth — just don’t cover it anymore, as some, in my opinion, should be either dropped or modified to reflect the additional knowledge we have gained.

Sloth, for instance. Would that be the two-toed version we should avoid or the three-toed, and this business about Gluttony — is it really a sin if, say, you’re eating crabs?

When you’re skipping a car payment to buy a dozen big ones, I submit it doesn’t qualify as gluttony to eat them all in one sitting.

Instead, that’s what you might call risk reduction, as the chances of going to hell for eating a dozen crabs are somewhat less than if you only ate three of them, and then Lusted after the remaining nine that were being consumed by the other people in your party.

Then Envy comes into play and you’re pretty much doomed to an eternity under the broiler.

But that’s not really the point here. There is one other Deadly Sin that is rarely mentioned, but will surely result in your consignment to the gates of the inferno ... and by popular demand at that.

That would be the Deadly Sin of Cutting in Line.

I say this as a way of asking for redemption, since it was I who cut in line at a local WaWa last week.

Yes, the shaggy-haired older gentleman who jumped ahead of that string of people winding all the way back to the coffee station, and who quite possibly had been there so long their firmly planted feet were being watered every morning, and Root Toned once a week by the courteous WaWa staff, well, that was I. And I’m sorry.

The thing was I had just wandered in to make a purchase, when the counter clerk declared, “I’m open here!” I looked around, and then stepped up.

Luckily, the woman who found herself behind me after I circled and landed, was not armed, and therefore could only respond by saying, “You DO know there’s a line, right?”

“Oh (expletive deleted)!”

Understand, this was not an “Oh (expletive deleted)” as in “Tough noogies, lady, I’m here now.” No, it was more of “Oh (expletive deleted)” as in I didn’t know for sure if I’d be sent to the netherworld, but I could be certain that the 24 other people in that store were praying hard for that to happen. Immediately.

And then it occurred to me: I’m wearing the requisite facial safety gear, so they have no idea who it is that butted to the front.

Nevertheless, my decent upbringing demanded that I apologize to every person in the room: “Soooooorrrry,” I said to the ones who still seemed capable of independent movement, as I departed.

On leaving, I heard a voice filter forward from back at the coffee machine, “Who was that masked man?”

“Why?” asked another.

“Because he broke the cardinal rule of Cutting in Line, and if I catch him, Wrath will come into play.”

On reflection, it might have been me who cut in line and it might have been someone else. If there’s one thing the CDC got right, it’s that this mask business really does provide life-saving protection.

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