My Sins

     My sins are pretty pathetic, but at least I have the decency to feel bad about them.
     For instance, Columbus Day was a light work day so I took off early to drive to the Dartmouth College library to read a 1931 “Musical Quarterly” article on Beethoven.
     I looked at the leaves on the trees all the way there and back. That was 140 miles of not much, but it made me happy, so it must have been a sin.
     I don’t get this sin business. For instance, from what I’ve heard, there’s all these ways to have sex that are sins, and each one of them is worse than the next. I’ve done most of them, though not recently – not recently enough, anyway – and if that’s sin, give me some more, please, with whipped cream. Lightly whipped, low-cal whipped cream.
     I’ve always said, and I’ll say it again: I would have sex with guys if the idea appealed to me. But it doesn’t so I don’t. That’s how I know that homosexuality is not a sin.
     If it were a sin it would sound like fun, and tempt me. But it doesn’t. That’s not because it’s a sin, though. It’s because it doesn’t sound like it would be any fun.
      I committed another sin on Columbus Day. I went to two used bookstores, even though there was nothing I really wanted.
     I usually see books I want, but don’t buy them, and end up feeling bad. Since I feel bad, I must have done the right thing.
     But on Monday I spent $20 on a history book. I’m glad I bought it, so it must have been wrong.
     I have about nine books piled on my nightstand that I have to read first. I look forward to reading that new old book, though. It must be because I’m a bad person.
     Right across the river from Dartmouth and the bookstores is the King Arthur Flour Store and Bakery. I bought a big old loaf of bread and bags of pumpernickel flour, first clear flour, sourdough rye flavor, a big brick of yeast, and – I’m ashamed to say this – malted milk powder.
     I always feel good when I go to King Arthur, so it must be a bad thing to do.
     I suppose I should feel ashamed for what I did Monday, but the only thing I feel ashamed about is the malted milk. Not the powder itself; I feel bad because I just scarfed down about three spoonsful of it. But since I feel bad – worse than I felt before I ate it – it must have been the right thing to do.
     So – help me out here – sins are bad, but the Devil, or someone, makes us want to do them.
     If sins were no fun, we wouldn’t be tempted to do them. So sins, I take it, are bad, but fun.
     But the only fun I have is going to used bookstores and bakeries, and looking at trees and eating malted milk powder straight from the bag.
     And – pardon me if this makes me a bad person – since that’s the only fun I have, I’m going to keep doing it.
     Except the malted milk powder.
     Once this bag is gone.
     So, am I going to go to Hell, or what?
     Because I went to used bookstores?
     Because I bake bread?
     And if I do go to Hell, will it make me feel bad?
     And if it does, that’s good, right?
     As opposed to going to Heaven, which would make me feel good, right?
     Which would be a sin.

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