Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Seven Deadly Sins -- Pride

As usual, we've left the hardest ones for last.

Let's flip a coin. What'll it be?





Pride? Lust? Pride? Lust? Pride?...

SHADDAP already, expateek, just pick one, for Pete's sake!

That would be expateek's mother yelling from the next room.

And it had better not be lust, young lady, because let me tell you, we won't be having any of that! Damn it all! My daughter expateek! All she ever wanted to do was to get married. And lucky she did, too. It's a wonder anyone would have her, so lazy and plain. But Mr. D, my son-in-law... what a saint!

Which is probably why expateek doesn't have an excessive amount of pride. Not that one's allowed to blame one's mother at this late stage of the game. After all, the passing of 50 years and some excellent therapy (thanks Dr. Owl!) should have worked out most of the bugs.

However, this is self-analysis week, so why not probe a bit, just in case we turn up something. Something appalling? Perhaps...

1964. expateek comes home from school with one of her first writing projects from 1st grade. Her father and mother are sitting at the dining table.

Please, expateek, show us what you did today! No, stand up by the sideboard. This can be a real presentation. Please, begin. Go ahead! Her father, always the professor, is full of enthusiasm.

Little expateek holds up her glue and construction paper collage. It's a picture of the American flag. expateek has worked very carefully to make sure there are the proper number of white and red stripes and, using white chalk, has diligently drawn all 50 stars on the blue field. She tried very hard on this project, knowing that it was a bit of make-work but whatever. She could read her Dr. Seuss books later, after school.

Read aloud to us, please, expateek!

The American flag has 50 stars. It is also striped. It...

Stripped! Stripped! STRIPPED! She's spelled it STRIPPED! expateek's mother is cracking up laughing. Stripped! ha ha ha ha ha. Stripped. God. Stripped. ha ha ha ha ha.

expateek blushes deep red as her pride is stripped from her, in her very own home.

Lesson learned? Never raise your hand in class, show off, or voice a strong opinion in public.

Because you might be wrong.

Wait, wait, wait, expateek! Not so fast!

Holy crap! Dr. Owl! You scared the living daylights out of me with that terrifying rushing of wings. Damn! I thought you were in rehab on a journey of self-discovery. What the hell are you doing here?

Oh, we birds are very clever at sensing subtle signals from miles and miles away. How do you suppose we navigate all over the bloomin' planet? We owls got da toolz, baby.

Dr. Owl, have you been in California recently? Because you're sounding a little weird.

As a matter of fact, yes, expateek. The Wonderland Center in Laurel Canyon is just fab, darling. Maybe you ought to try it. They just got written up in The New Yorker. I've bin hangin' with Britney and Charlie Sheen. Such a laugh. Britney's really into my feathers. When she strokes me and smiles at me with her pretty little Chiclet teeth, my talons go all rubbery.

Jeez, Dr. Owl, too much information. Don't they tell you that in your sessions?

No, no, sweetheart, sharing is what rehab my journey of self-discovery is all about! It'll make me a better therapist in the long run. And speaking of which, dear girl, you seem to be holding onto some very old grudges.

Hang on, Dr. Owl. This concerns me. If you're supposed to be in California right now, what are you doing in Poland?

Oh, Wonderland is great. They're really really flexible. You can check out if you need to score some coke see a troubled patient, and voilà! Here I am! At your service, darling girl. You troubled patient, you!

Dr. Owl, this is making me a little uneasy. I don't want to be a party to any relapsing on your part. Whatever the heck your substance abuse problems may be.

Oh, expateek, you're such an ethical stick-in-the-mud, and kind of a wet blanket too. We've had this conversation before. Just don't you mind about me. I'll be back on Mulholland Drive by tomorrow morning. So, carry on. You were talking about pride, yes?

I guess, Dr. Owl.

Pick up the pace, expateek, I haven't got all night. I'm meeting up with some guys after 7.

Dr. Owl!

Just for some good jazz and some blow snow I mean. It's really been snowing a lot here the last couple of days, hasn't it? Brrrr. Wintery weather here in Warsaw. Don't know how you stand it!

Well, fine. Okay, Dr. Owl, I admit that I have some strange issues about pride.

Pride? Is that what we were talking about?

Pay attention, Dr. Owl. Yes, that's what we were talking about. You know, if you want to just skip this session, it's fine by me. I get the feeling you're a bit distracted.

Me? Not at all.

*stops texting for a moment on his mobile phone*

Why don't you tell us what you've learned about pride from da boyz dat knowz whatz whut at Wikipedia.

Dr. Owl. You're just not taking me seriously at all. I'm concerned.

No, expateek, go ahead. Why don't you stand over there by my sideboard and give a little presentation about pride. Go ahead. I'm all ears. Which you remember are slightly asymmetrically placed so I can better locate my prey in pitch blackness. Ah, yes. I'm waiting.

Dr. Owl. This is crap.

Excuse me, expateek. Who's the doctor and who's the patient here?

Fine, forget it. Ok, then, pride is considered the most deadly of the seven sins.

REALLY, expateek? I'll have to tell that to Britney. She was talking about lust with me, just the other day.

I'm just going to ignore that, Dr. Owl. Please pay attention. Anyway, according to Wikipedia, pride can be good or bad.

Pride is, depending upon context, either a high sense of the worth of one's self and one's own, or a pleasure taken in the contemplation of these things. One definition of pride in the first sense comes from Augustine: "the love of one's own excellence." In this sense, the opposite of pride is humility.

Pride is sometimes viewed as excessive or as a vice, sometimes as proper or as a virtue. While some philosophies such as Aristotle's consider pride a profound virtue, most world religions consider it a sin.

Look, expateek, our time's about up.

But Dr. Owl, it's only 6:20!

Come on, expateek, I've flown in just a half hour ago, it's a nine hour time difference, and I've got my pals to meet in 40 minutes. Let's wrap it up. I say, just go with the Aristotelian interpretation of pride and you're home free. And forgive your mom. After all, she taught you humility, didn't she?

Uhhh... yes. As a matter of fact, inadvertently, yes, she did.

See? No harm, no foul. Or no fowl, if you know what I mean.


1 comment:

Christine said...

What? You are leaving out lust? I have been waiting all week for lust.

Isn't it amazing at what we can remember? First day of grade one and I had to stay after hours...for talking too much. I am still traumatized.