My Gluttony, My Gut

If you look at the classical list of Seven Deadly Sins you’ll find: Wrath, Greed, Sloth, Pride, Lust, Envy and Gluttony

Most people would agree that those items belong on that list, at least to one degree or another. Aren’t you tempted to rank them, though? Or perhaps you’re thinking of other sins that are more worthy of inclusion. I mean really, who puts gluttony on the list of the seven deadly sins? Perhaps because of this passage:

Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.
(Proverbs 23:2)

I’m here to tell you, then, about my night of gluttony.

Toblerone, Cream Sherry and Rugby

When I was studying at the University of Sussex back in the early 80s, one of my friends was another foreign student, Dave the Australian. Dave played professional rugby before coming to study in England and he looked it.

Dave was huge and he was boisterous and he was about as gregarious a person as I’ve ever met. He was smarter than any 10 people I’d ever met, too. Dave came to Sussex for a Master’s in Early Modern Intellectual History, a subject I didn’t even know existed until I met him. It turns out he then went on to get his doctorate from Oxford. Dave’s brain capacity was as huge as his body and his personality.

I loved the guy.

One evening all the friends we usually met at the pub or played soccer with or generally just hung out with were all out of town. I told Dave not to worry; I’d recently come into possession of a kilo of Toblerone Chocolate and a large bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry.

“What are we waiting for, Tim? Retrieve your supplies and repair to my place!”

So I went by my room, got the chocolate and bottle, and banged on Dave’s door.

We broke open the chocolate and poured from the bottle and sat there through the night, trading stories and laughing at our absent friends missing out on all this. What I thought was going to be us putting a dent into the sherry and chocolate turned out to be us finishing them off. Not a sliver of chocolate nor a drop of nectar remained, and so I left my rugby friend in the hour after midnight and weaved along the path to find my way to bed.

Sleep came quickly as you might imagine. But it didn’t last long.

I woke about 3:00 a.m. with the worst gut cramp of my life. My eyes popped open and I clutched at my midsection, my mind similarly clutching for what could possibly be causing such agony. I doubled over to try to relieve the pain and remembered how I’d passed the earlier hours. All that sherry and chocolate were now doing battle with my digestive system, and my digestive system was getting pummeled.

All I could do was lie there, one agonizing minute stretching inexorably into the next. Minutes piled upon minutes as agony piled upon agony. And yet as dawn broke I somehow fell asleep.

Noon arrived and so did my consciousness. I got up and shuffled my way to the sink, splashing cold water on my face. The funny thing was that I didn’t feel hung over. Just very tired and slightly gut-achy.

That night I saw Dave at dinner and, thinking that misery loves company, asked him how he slept.

“Slept like a baby, Tim! How ’bout you?”

How ’bout me? I didn’t have the guts to tell him.


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9 Responses to My Gluttony, My Gut

  1. Elizabeth says:

    LOL!!!!! Thanks for sharing, Tim… that was hilarious.

  2. Jeannie Prinsen says:

    Oh dear! That does sound like a pretty deadly combination. Gluttony is one of those sins that usually has very direct, immediate repercussions. Thanks for sharing that, Tim.

  3. Next time, just buy a bottle of Baileys.

  4. Laura Droege says:

    Yikes, that sounds like a horrible night! While it didn’t remind me of any particular incident of outright gluttony (overindulgence), it did remind me of a time when I had bulimia and anorexia; the pain I felt after swallowing 6 Correctols on a mostly-empty stomach was similar to this. (I don’t recommend it.) It brought up a question in my mind: does the sin of gluttony only relate to over indulgence of food/drink, or can it relate to the other end of the spectrum, where one under-consumes out of fear of over-consumption? (Hope that makes sense!) I also thought of how lust can relate to two ends of a spectrum as well; one can be lusting–in the sense of turning the other person into a sex object–by extreme avoidance of the object (certain “rules” come to mind) as well as extreme obsession with the object. Could the same thing happen with gluttony?

    • Tim says:

      I’ve read articles where people relate that type of avoidance as a kind of gluttony as well, in that the size of the ascetic void is what a person is going for and is a glutton about it.

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