Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Acedia

Come, shrug off the smoke of that place. Let’s be off to the last sight to see. Nicer in this house. No one smokes. The father fought hard to quit, but we’re not here for him. We’re here for what’s melting over him, and his boy.

Every big economy needs its waste adjustors. The ones who come in and turn useless assets lucrative. Acedia really should be on par with busty Luxuria and pot-bellied Gula, but he doesn’t care for reputation. Too much work. She doesn’t do work, allowing clients to come to her. They always will. They cannot help it. They can diet and exercise, keep their energy up, meditate to focus, but eventually everyone becomes tired. How easy is it for Gula to goad you into eating another a bite or a little dessert? How hard is it to fight Superbia’s fingers around your heart when you’ve done something you know as good? Now triple that feeling, and know how hard it is not to lie a little longer when your muscles ache and your dreams are so much more pleasant than the work that waits in the world of the standing.

Alas, it’s Sunday morning and the vices are melting from our eyes. Their bodies, that is. I cannot show you Acedia: The Woman Incarnate. Already she melts into two. Soon she will be all. What is she this second? Look closer.

See that. A father’s brown eye through a crack in the white-painted door, and the fraction of his smile visible over a boy asleep at noon. How could this be vile? How could this be vice? The old one deeply proud, the young one indulging in long slumber. It’s sweet. It’s love incarnate, which we did not plan her to be a part of the tour. Love could not be a vice. Not one of the seven, at least.

And with the sun, here melts the truth of all vices, dear tourist. That none are pure evil. The boy is earnestly tired from last night’s high school football. That game where adrenaline, colorful sports drinks, the budding chests of cheerleaders and vicarious parents made every vice rich again. Was any of it pure evil? Not a drop of it, for that which is pure evil rots and crumbles from the whole. The vices abandon such investments.

They are humanitarians. You can say they write off some of their crueler work like this. Superbia can invest in parents proud of their children, and Acedia here rewards a child after long work. What romantic story does not dip its brush in Luxuria’s wells? You can say they write off their worst work in accenting the best of yours. You could also say they justify their accounts this way. Perhaps they began as good. Perhaps, frightening as it may be, they are always good, in a little way, somewhere. Humanitarians, insofar as vegetarians love vegetables.

But now Acedia has melted from the father and the son. The boy stirs, face rubbing in his pillow. Somewhere, someone sleeps. Look as we like, though, we cannot see Acedia in any of them. Gone are Luxuria in the low and Gula in the high. Gone are Avaritia, Ira and Superbia. Is that Invidia still in the corner? No, it is a doll with a dumb expression. Art imitates them all, and fools us so often. My mistake, not ours. I apologize. It’s Sunday morning, and a tour guide makes mistakes. But do you still see them? Our eyes diverge, but yours are surely still open.


  1. An excellent series! I'm sad to see it's end.

  2. I really liked the last one, it surprised me. It added depth to the rest of them. Well done.


Counter est. March 2, 2008