Pushing yourself back from the dining
table with a groan after dinner and heading to the nearest soft place that will
accommodate you horizontally?
If misery loves company, rest assured
that you’re not the only one suffering from the cumulative effect of holiday
overindulgence, that some would call, well, gluttony.
One of the original deadly sins as
proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church, gluttony’s six brothers — pride,
envy, anger, lust, avarice (or greed) and sloth — also rear their
devilish heads this time of year.
Angry as we line up for Boxing Day
sales, greedily buying yet more stuff — cheap — that didn’t appear
under the tree. Envying those who got all of their loot. Lusting after various
configurations of bootie at festive parties. Lounging around slothfully after
stuffing ourselves with whatever was handy in miserable compensation for being
spurned and recovering from said party… you get the picture.
But it’s gluttony we universally
suffer from in this indulgent neck of the woods, and the one collective “sin”
— more like the state of the nation — we pledge to reverse through
diet! exercise! weight loss! as the holidays wind down and the New Year rings
By comparison, when’s the last time
you heard pals resolving to be less angry or more humble in the coming year?
The problem is, in our constructed
free-market universe that not only tolerates but encourages eternally
insatiable appetites, what do we consider gluttonous?
In medieval times, theologian Thomas
Aquinas described gluttony as “not any desire of eating and drinking, but an
inordinate desire... leaving the order of reason, wherein the good of moral
Aside from the moral virtue part,
that pretty much covers the holidays, and beyond. When I asked one friend if
she was suffering the consequences of gluttony over the holidays, she wittily
replied, no. She and her husband suffer from it all year.
But you’d never know, for they both
exercise — exorcise? — away the consequences.
This is normal. While some cultures
used to celebrate, even revere overeating as a hallmark of status and power, we
carefully corset, if not completely closet by whatever means necessary, any
evidence of same.