Alex McRae

Missing in (in)action

Forget the abs, thighs and shoulders. The only part of me that needs a workout these days is my conscience. Mostly because I’ve lost the ability to commit a decent sin.

This is one I never saw coming.

I can still crank out the minor transgressions, like saying an ugly baby is cute (you know you’ve done it, too), but the Big Ones—the sins that give you night sweats and a fear of being rejected at Junior League functions, those are so few and far between now that my conscience is the size of a single grit.

When I was younger nothing suited me better than a walk on the wild side. Once I found out about the Seven Deadly Sins, I couldn’t wait to try them all.

I wasn’t sure what Sloth was, but figured I’d get to it after I’d plowed through Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Anger, Greed and Lust.

It turned out that the Seven Deadlies were like the little girl that had a little curl: when they were good, they were very, very good, and when they were bad, they were horrid.

When the consequences of bawdy behavior outweighed the fun on a regular basis, I let off the accelerator. A few years ago I put my rowdy ways in Park and started watching “Breaking Bad” and reruns of “The Godfather.” I realized that second-hand sin suited me fine.

I also realized that cutting back on corruption should have been hard. It wasn't. It didn’t take long to figure out that most of my problems had been solved by age and experience, better known as the buzzkill brothers.

Pride is one of the biggies and I had it in spades. Not any more. Once your hair goes AWOL and the teeth threaten to follow, Pride shrivels like a fresh-plucked prune. Problem solved.

Envy is a desire for other’s abilities or possessions. The only thing I envy now is a paid-off mortgage. It’s on the way.

Gluttony was one of my favorites. Whether it was food, drink or stupidity, my rule was “I ain’t never had enough of nothin.’” My new motto is “moderation rocks.”

Greed is Gluttony’s first cousin. Most people associate associate Greed with money. Not me. The only thing I’m greedy for now is chocolate and barbeque.

I still haven’t figured out what Sloth is.

I can’t say the same about Anger. I used to get mad about anything. Enjoyed it. I took offense more quickly than a guy with a chip on both shoulders and the top of his head. Now I’m meek as a dove. Usually. I miss raging at crooked politicians but these days, that’s a full-time job. No thanks.

And now to everybody’s favorite: Lust. First of all, anyone who says they’ve never been swept away in a riptide of lust is a saint or a liar. I know plenty of liars. Never met a saint.

Surprisingly, this is one sin I don’t miss at all. Now my lust is reserved for just one hot chick: my wife. That’s allowed, by the way, even encouraged. Lucky me.

My once-overworked conscience may not win a ribbon at the County Fair any more, but that’s fine. And I know I’m not not the only dude who finds an afternoon nap more exciting than drinking, gambling or hitting on a hussy.

I’ve dealt with it, but maybe my fellow sufferers haven't learned that losing your gift for sinning doesn’t mean it's time to turn in your Man Card.

A self-help book for past-their-prime sinners might be just what the ego ordered. And I’m just the guy to write it.

Coming soon to a bookseller near you: “Rebel Without an Urge.”

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