One of my favorite children’s books is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Ronald Dahl. The 1970s movie with Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka was excellent. As a child, I enjoyed the simple pleasure of watching Charlie find the last gold ticket, securing his and Grandpa Joe’s participation on the tour of the Wonka Chocolate Factory. In a university English class I took, this book was on the reading list. If you study the plot more in-depth, you will recognize that each of the 7 Deadly Sins is identified through characters in the story. I just recently watched the remake of the movie starring Johnny Depp – somewhat creepier than the original.
This got me thinking about my own vices – which of these characters would I be? Regrettably , I recognize a little bit of each of them in me.
Envy: desire for other’s status, abilities, or situation – Pinterest is chockfull of pictures of magnificent homes, stunning clothes, and gorgeous people. I have albums filled with images of my “ideal” home, wardrobe and body.
Sloth: avoidance of physical work – Embarrassingly self explanatory. If I had a dollar for every time I talked about getting into better shape, I could make a huge financial contribution to ending world hunger, or trying to find a cure for cancer.
Pride: excessive belief in one’s own abilities – I spent the last few days participating in numerous floor hockey and soccer challenges against a 6-year-old. How hard could it be? Well, my pride took a huge beating as did my goal count on the score board. You know it’s bad when your nephew suggests you may want to name your “team” Laurie’s Losers.
Wrath: strong anger, often with a desire for revenge – Not much makes me angry – at least not to the point of seeking revenge. One of my biggest pet peeves though, is when someone borrows something from me and doesn’t return it in the same condition. While we were travelling south, John and I decided to share some of our toiletries to save packing space. After the first week of him using the hand lotion, toothpaste and shampoo – but NEVER putting the lids back on anything – I had enough. I was continually mentioning it to him, and yet I would still always find the bottles uncapped. I just started hiding the stuff after I used it. He would ask if I knew where it was, and I would shrug or pretend not to hear him. Finally he went out and bought his own.
Greed: desire for material wealth or gain – Every few weeks, I will see or hear that one of the lotteries has a huge jackpot, so I rush out to buy a ticket. I know that odds of winning are slimmer than the chances of my getting into shape.
Change is never easy – but I think acknowledgement of your weaknesses is the first step. Maybe it takes a children’s novel to help you see who you are – and who you might be.
If all else fails, I am fairly certain that I would make an outstanding Oompa Loompa.