The mission

Is it possible to go all week without committing a deadly sin? Mike Higgins tries v hard to be a good boy
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Indy Lifestyle Online
These days, to err is human, but to be

forgiven by Kilroy is divine. Sin just

isn't what it used to be. You don't have to be a believer to lament its passing. Sin and its consequences have shrivelled to nothing more substantial than eating too many chocolate eclairs, and having an expanding waistline. What happened to daily temptations and hell's fiery lakes? Life could do with an infernal frisson, I reckon, so why not try to navigate around the seven deadly sins for a week?

A quick survey of my heathen friends to confirm what the deadly sins actually are proves fraught. Most manage four or five, supplemented with a couple of the 10 Commandments. I doubted whether the Wallaces next door had any oxen to covet, however, so I resorted to that incontrovertible source, David Fincher's film, Seven, for the full set: pride, envy, anger, sloth, avarice, gluttony and lust.

This isn't as ignorant as it sounds. The septet, believe it or not, don't make a group appearance anywhere in the Bible. It was, in fact, a sixth- century pope, Gregory the Great, who had the bright idea of reducing the Bible's extensive consideration of wrong-doing to a few buzz-words: the seven deadly sins. These, explained the pontiff, would "serve as a classification of the normal perils of the soul in the ordinary conditions of life". Or, a rough guide to wrong-doing for a week.

Saturday. Sin: envy (v deadly). Find myself at a moped salesroom, head filled with visions of Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. Girlfriend and her flatmate accompany me for a laugh. Am considering merits of centrifugal clutch, when I resurface to find they have bought a moped each! Point out their avarice in questionable attempt to resist waves of envy.

Sunday. Sin: gluttony (v deadly). Up early to avoid slothfulness, waking girlfriend in process. I wonder aloud whether the recently avaricious naturally tend to sloth. Girlfriend wonders more aloud whether being a sanctimonious prat isn't a deadly sin. Over-certainty of a spiritual clean- sheet thus far leads to Sunday lunch pig-out. Worse still, my attempt to justify leftovers consumption with "children-in-Africa-would-give-their- eye-teeth" spin meets with derision.

Monday. Sin: sloth (v deadly but with mitigation). After yesterday's slippage, I realise that going from zero to state of grace in a single week is a bit ambitious, so resolve on a more pragmatic approach. Reasoning that if I concentrate on committing one sin alone, it's difficult to indulge the remaining iniquities, I sit and watch videos all day. I'm not proud of this (which is a bit of a bonus).

Tuesday. Sin: lust (v deadly but necessary). After a fairly blameless day, my girlfriend and I try sex without lust and fail miserably. Thank God.

Wednesday. Sin: pride (v deadly and sneaky). Today had everything going for it. Offered my seat to an old lady on the Tube, let the Big Issue vendor keep the change, resisted temptation to surf the Internet, congratulated a colleague for getting a commission I desperately wanted, went to gym. What a guy - oops.

Thursday. Sin: wrath (v deadly but q productive). Come home to find sinkful of dirty crockery and go berserk. Do the washing-up in a mad frenzy. I wonder if this is what is meant by a "righteous anger" when Kosovo news report puts my heavenly vengeance into a little perspective.

Friday. Sin: avarice (v deadly and unavoidable). Nothing like TV pictures of destitute refugees to pile on the middle-class guilt. Wake up resigned to fact that "having it all" probably means that the one sin I thought I'd outwitted is one I've been harbouring all week.

Saturday. The week's over but I can't help having a peak at Dante, Milton and Joyce to see which particular oven of hell I'll be baking in. I wonder if my girlfriend will be able to bring her moped?