I went shopping today in one of those big box stores. I was basically in and out (or, at least, that was the plan). As I was winding up my foray into the final aisle, it hit me. I was hungry.
To quote an overused (and misused) phrase, “I was starving.” In fact, I wasn’t starving. I’m sure I could go for three days without food and not be starving. But that’s a story for another day.
I suppose the real trigger for my hunger was the aroma of hot pizza wafting in the air of that warehouse. The closer I got to the source of the scent (which, naturally, was near the checkout counter), the more my pangs of malnutrition began to haunt me.
“All I wanted was one small slice…”
In my defense, I hadn’t eaten any lunch. It was well past noon and getting harder by the minute to withstand the draw of the inevitable.
I took a quick glance at my phone and realized I had enough time for a bite before my upcoming appointment. What can I say? I succumbed.
All I wanted was one small slice of pizza. That would more than have satisfied my growing yen to get something bad into my digestive system. And that’s all I ordered. The problem, of course, was not in my numerical choice. Like everything else in these big box stores, there’s no such thing as small. They gave me what amounted to a quarter of a pie.
My mother taught me to clean my plate. I’m not blaming her, but it’s a habit I need to learn to break. Today was no exception.
The pizza, which looked and smelled like an epicurean delight, was neither epicurean nor delightful. Oh, don’t get me wrong. It tasted great—for a while. Then my body, which has been getting used to eating in a somewhat healthier style, turned on me.
How can the same body, which had been crying out for this stuff only minutes earlier, betray me like this? I knew better, but I couldn’t help myself.
The whole sordid episode reminds me of other temptations. We often get led into sin the same way I got led into that gosh-awful pizza. It looks good, it has the promise of scratching some existing itch, it has a temporary satisfaction attached to it, and then it lowers the boom.
“Pizza is not sinful.”
For the most part, we know better. I knew better than to buy that slice of pizza, but I talked myself into it anyway.
We know the temporary satisfaction is going to give way to a pack of bad consequences. Yet we allow ourselves a rash of temporary amnesia. We conveniently forget what will inevitably catch up to us on the other side of our wrongful actions.
Pizza is not sinful (although my stomach is currently arguing otherwise). But avoiding the ravages of such temptation is not unlike that of avoiding the siren call of sinfulness. As my mother also used to tell me, “Use your head.”