By the time you read this it will be mid-January and all your New Year’s resolutions will have gone the way of good manners or mild racist remarks. At least I hope so. Resolutions can be dangerous to one’s health, and definitely a hazard to one’s happiness.
Here in snow-covered Gstaad — we’ve had more snow than there’s cocaine in South America — a new monster has reared its hideous face: envy. Yes, envy is one of the seven deadly sins, although I recognise only two as mortal ones, that and avarice. Lust, gluttony, pride, wrath and sloth, I am rather proud to be guilty of, especially the first and last.
My late low-life colleague Jeff Bernard, who I never imagined would be equalled and surpassed by his successor, chronically complained about his ‘acute lexicographitis’, which he defined as an overwhelming desire to cover blank pages with words. I only wish I suffered from AL — but, on the contrary, I am only happy when lying about with absolutely nothing to do.
Mind you, I deliver four columns a month to the Speccie, two in Greece and three in America, plus one in the Quarterly Review in Britain, which makes for two and a half columns every seven days, more than enough to keep me miserable and complaining non-stop about having joined the vulgar working classes. Jeff knocked off his columns at an alarmingly easy rate, mostly between drinks and visits to the pub. I suspect that Jeremy works quite hard on his, although one never knows. If it looks easy, it most likely was tough as hell, and vice versa.
But back to sin. St Augustine believed that all sin springs from a lack of gratitude to God. I ain’t so sure.