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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #462
The Deadly Sins
David Gunn

Jerome was lounging in his apartment the other day trying to decide which of the seven deadly sins he would honor this month. He spent January wallowing in gluttony, dutifully binge-eating everything from lamb brain burritos to Spamakopita and knocking back Jello Shooters with the practiced cool of a refrigerator envoy. During February plus the first week of March, he meticulously filled himself with profound envy. He coveted his neighbor's house, wife and ox, not necessarily in that order. Then he begrudged his brother for liking his mother more than he did. For the rest of March, he exhibited a supercilious streak of pride that alienated him from his few remaining passing acquaintances. Each morning began with an attitude of acute arrogance, followed by a ritualistic minute of impertinence at noontime. Afternoons and evenings were alternatingly condescending and disdainful, which left his nights free for unbearable haughtiness. That left avarice, lust, anger and sloth. Well, he really liked lust, and he was good at it. He spent all of 1999 engaged in lustful activities and never tired of it. But by December he began to drift into a more lusty temperament, so he perforce moved on to another moral transgression. An anger management course had temporarily dimmed his zeal for that particular deadly sin, but he figured if he dug deeply enough into his inner self, he could work himself into a pretty good rage. Avarice was never a problem, either. For Jerome, it was merely an economic extension of his deeply held conviction of envy. So by revisiting the desirous feelings he harbored for his neighbor's wife and ox, he merely added a price tag to them both. Voila--instant avarice! And sloth--well, except for his almost fanatical need to tackle these sins, he could score perfect 10s in the International Indolence Competition at the drop of someone else's hat. Yes, he liked the idea of an avril fainéant, so sloth it was!

Oh, it wasn't as simple as just being lazy. A truly great sloth--such as those slow-moving, arboreal mammals with the long hooklike claws that Dr. Frank Baxter was forever pandering to on the old Bell Telephone Hours--underwent extensive training to reach the high water mark of the quintessentially idle. And when Jerome needed to hone his craft of the classically lazy, he knew where to go.

Only the most cursory academics called the Omicron Nu Omega fraternity house of the University of Hummock-on-Smythe in southwesternmost Lincolnshire home. No records existed of precisely who lived there because its inhabitants were loath to make the effort to formally identify themselves. So disorderly were the environs that the house could have been a poster child for chaos theory. Thus, when Jerome walked through the front door bearing the demeanor of the archetypically apathetic, he fit right in. The living room was awash with young men slumped over chairs of wicker and bean staring at an unplugged television. A dozen donuts, as glazed as the denizens' eyes, lay disregarded on the floor, their jellied interiors creeping steadily towards staledom. Jerome walked unnoticed through to the dining room, which was uninhabited. In fact, it showed no sign of ever having been used. A patina of half-inch-thick dust covered the table and chairs; the rug was musty with age; the hasp on the single armoire had rusted shut. Jerome had deduced during an earlier visit that the housemates took their meals--if they ever found the inclination to do so--elsewhere: the living room, bathroom, and, primarily, outside. The dining room, therefore, served the same role as their textbooks and was rarely visited. And never vacuumed.

Jerome had just deposited himself phlegmatically in the mahogany howdah in the corner, preparing to studiously ignore the passage of time, when his attention was nonetheless drawn to a nebulous mound underneath the table. It looked like particulate fluff, lots of it. From a distance, it seemed entirely amorphous. But when, unable to disregard it, Jerome crept closer, he saw that it had long ears, a short tail and whiskers. It was that opprobrious member of the rabbit family known as le lapin de la poussière énorme--the giant dust bunny. Sheltered from whisk brooms and the dreaded Hoover, the thing had grown to the size of a wolverine. Its antennae alone were bigger than many breadboxes that Jerome had personally coveted. Its compound eyes--hazy crosshatches of lint and fiber--followed him as he backed away, his mind temporarily roused from slothful activity.

Then it began to drift menacingly towards him.

The canons of sloth dictated that he make no effort to alter the course of events, but as the vermiform antennae morphed into clawlike grotesqueries that reached inhospitably towards him, a sense of trepidation began to supplant his practiced laziness.

Fortunately, deadly sin number three appeared in the doorway just then in the guise of a comely coed in search of the lavatory, and Jerome instantly switched his reprobate predilection from sloth to lust. Libidinously, he escorted her out of the room as, behind him, the bunny fumed an existential expression of deadly sin number six.

We at KalvoCorp have no problem with deadly sin number one, pride, when referring to today's 462nd episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, for it features one of the best interviews we ever conducted at ten o'clock on a Monday morning at CalArts, at least of those that included Damian and, logically, Kalvos.