As ugly as homemade sin

Okay, I stole that heading from a Pat Conroy book. One could spend a lifetime writing posts based on phrases like that out of his books. I like phrases like that because I like catching readers unaware–the flip side of relying on clichés.

All in all, I don’t think homemade sin is as popular as it used to be. In part, it takes more time than factory fresh sin. And, like those clothes people used to make from patterns or the cakes some people still make from scratch, homemade now seems to cost more than storebought.

Being pragmatic about my use of time, I’m willing to sacrifice a little bit of quality for easier living. Why make a pie crust when people can’t tell the difference between the one you made and the Pillsbury pie crusts next to the eggs and butter at the grocery store?

Unfortunately, most people won’t admit to practicing homemade sin, so it’s hard to compare its costs with the kind of sin that comes out of a can. Plus, a lot of people gave it up for the same reason people gave up homespun clothes–they got looked down on. Then, too, I think the sin consensus is that if it (the sin) can’t be mass-produced, it’s really something we don’t want to talk about, much less advertise on TV or display in a store window.

Frankly, I think sin–including so-called “original sin” is an invention of the church because–without it–we wouldn’t need the church. But that subject’s a whole nother post other than to note that whether you’re a church or a factory, sin is damn good business.

If you’ve read a lot of Pat Conroy’s books, you’ll not only find strong plots and lyrical prose but a fair number of real or imagined Southern expressions.  I grew up in the South, so I’ve heard some of the most twisted, profane, ludicrous, and humorous expressions folks can make up. Those that haven’t turned into clichés, I love to see in novels because they wonderfully define a character–the kind who would say such things vs. the kind that wouldn’t. Of course, the Navy has always been a fine source for beautiful profanity and other phrases most of us didn’t share with our families when we came on on leave.

And when it comes down to it, so-called sin makes better feature films and novels than everyday people being good. All you need is a little homemade sin to stir up the plot a little bit or–if you’re lucky–bring down an empire.

–Malcolm

Satire and sin. It doesn’t get much better than that in a story about an old fashioned reporter stuck in the modern age.

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