“If you are confused, check with the sun. Carry a compass to help you along. Your feet are going to be on the ground. Your head is there to move you around. So STAND” – Mumbly Mike Stipe
It is offensive to me that sloth is included on the roster of the “7 Deadly Sins”. Of course, I don’t pay much heed to any of the other proscriptions therein, but I understand the motivation in applying a friendly disclaimer to each of them. But sloth? You’re trying to tell me that a lack of activity is somehow a sinful activity? “The Golden Rule”, which seems to be related to the seven deadly sins in that it is a concise summation of virtuous behavior, tells us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Well, I can only speak for myself, but most of the time, what I would have others do unto me is absolutely nothing. Or, if you prefer, “leave me the fuck alone”. So in order to achieve consistency with the Golden Rule as it applies to behavior towards your humble narrator, all you have to do is nothing.
Nike commercials have been admonishing us to “Just Do It” for long enough that this silly motto is now ingrained in the national consciousness. That’s a shame because I can think of no sillier advice than that which this three word marching order of a logo imparts. Think of it like this: the Earth’s circumference is 24,901 miles. In order to cover that distance in the quickest amount of time without the aid of jet propulsion, all one has to do is sit perfectly still…or Just DON’T Do It. For fellow Burquinos that are as directionally challenged as I am, face the Sandia Mountains which we all know form the eastern border of the city. From this position, your right hand is now facing south, your left hand north, and you are greeting the Wild West with your tuchus. Your trip Around The World In 80 Nanoseconds begins by lifting your right index finger ever so slightly from its position against your thigh. Now bend your left index finger inward and pretend that the momentum of your trip that began at your right finger built up enough in its instantaneous circling of the globe that upon reaching its destination (your left index finger), the force of motion caused the inward bending of that finger. See that? You just traveled the world in record time without leaving your seat. (By the way, isn’t Japan fucked up? What’s with the huge-eyed kitten fetish over there?)
If you’re close to my age, chances are your parents grew up in an era when doing stuff was all the rage. My family even did stuff that nobody wanted to do, nobody ordered us to do, and quite possibly no one even wanted us to do…but it was, according to my mom, “what people do”. This is why I spent an inordinate amount of time as a lad watching the depressing grandfather clock tick away the depressing seconds in slow motion in the depressing living room of some depressing aunt and uncle team displaying their passive-aggressive enmity toward one another in a depressing suburb of North Jersey. I can’t get that time back, Mom. But keep sending the birthday checks and we’re cool.
Now I realize that a sudden cessation of discernible activity may be a cause of concern among your friends and loved ones, especially if you are known to be a “go-getter” or some such inexplicably complimentary epithet. Don’t worry, I’ve got a solution to this problem. Tell everyone you’ve recently converted to Zen Buddhism and that you will now usually be found in a still, silent state of Zazen meditation. This way, you can sit like a potato for hours on end but everyone will think, “Wow, look how devoted he/she is to the Zen way of life!” People may even start leaving offerings of food and jewelry scattered around your motionless body. Bonus!
Mercifully, whoever authored that dubious list of deadly sins is long dead. But if he were alive, I would point out to him that “sloth” is also an animal…a noble and wise forest-dweller that understands the importance of energy conservation. We can learn much by observing this oft-maligned creature. So fuck the “eye of the tiger” and all that chest-thumping activity-celebrating nonsense. Embrace the “butt of the sloth” instead. To an outside observer, you will probably seem lazy and dull. But only you will know that what appears to most as loitering in a tree is actually a whirlwind journey of 24,901 miles. Whoo! I think we all need a break now. We’ve earned it.
Author’s Note: I am well aware that a south to north circumnavigation of the planet beginning in New Mexico would not take you anywhere near Japan. But I’m too lazy to go back and edit the trip itinerary, ok?