I don’t have much in the way of thoughts about vice. I’m not even sure what it is any more. This morning, in one of those online chat things I do these days in lieu of actual conversations with customer service people, I discovered that “LYING” is only lying if I do it. If they tell me something that is completely untrue and I believe them, it is a misunderstanding. So when they said “We are fixing this and should have a solution soon” and they really meant “This is the way it’s going to be and we’re not going to change it. Ever.” And I believed them, it was my misunderstanding rather than their outright lie. I would normally have categorized it as “vice,” but give the state of the body politic and all the crap I see in the news, I’ve decided telling the truth versus lying is no longer meaningful. If I say something without any basis in fact and claim it’s the truth, but you later realize it is not the truth and, in fact, bears no relationship to truth as anyone understands it … it’s just a misunderstanding.

So how can there be vice if there is no truth?

Fortunately, there still is AD-vice, which is free. Sometimes, it even contains a particle of useful information. I hesitate to suggest that it might also be true because … well … you know … what IS truth?

72-BAFFLE WITH BULLSHIT-Canal-082216_52

As the years have crept by, I have given up a lot of stuff, most of which (it turns out), I didn’t need in the first place. I gave up worrying. I gave up working. I gave up on the lottery, even though I still occasionally buy a ticket (just in case).

I gave up wanting a new car, expecting old friends to call (some of them don’t remember me any more — some don’t remember themselves). I’ve stopped hoping Hollywood will make movies I like. I’ve stopped trying to like “new” music, most new TV shows. Or hoping to remember the names of new “stars.”

Some stuff gave me up. Some people gave up on me. Other things, just slipped away. In the end, it’s the same.

So. Now. If anyone asks me how or why I have given up whatever it was, virtue, vice, or anything, I tell them it was for religious reasons. No one ever asks what I mean by that. But just so you know  …

It doesn’t mean anything.

It’s a misunderstanding. Not a lie. Just a way to end the conversation. No one wants to offend me by asking for details of my beliefs. They might turn out to be embarrassing or bizarre. Thus my all-purpose answer to everyone is “on religious grounds,” “for religious reasons,” or “on the advice of my spiritual counselor.”

These powerful words can make any conversation vanish and I never have to tell someone to shut up. It works on everyone except those who really know me. They will raise one or more eyebrows, and fall over laughing.

It’s similar to (but entirely different than) my all-purpose answer to “How are you?” With the biggest, broadest, fake smile I can muster and with heartfelt enthusiasm, I say: “I’m FINE!” 99.9% of the time, this does the job. Test drive it yourself.

I’m fine. For religious reasons.


37 thoughts on “NO VIRTUE IN VICE”

    1. I think there are a lot of vices that no one ever names, like loving people who can’t possibly love you back, like making sure you have the last word in every argument, stuff like that. But it was probably all a misunderstanding that I gave up for religious reasons.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Are those vices or merely interesting ways to make yourself miserable? I always thought of them as my special version of blind stupidity. The ones who were insane about me when I was obviously not interested in them? I marked it off to a hormonal imbalance. Or a misunderstandings based on religion. Or something like that.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Perfect, just perfect. Just hope you don’t say that to anyone who really wants to KNOW which religion. My favorite is Church of the Holy Apostate…by the time they work that out the lights have changed and you can make a hasty getaway…


    1. That’s always a danger. I’m one of those people, but fortunately, most people are not. My husband, for example, will run (not walk — RUN) from any conversation in which the word religion comes up. Unless he’s at church or talking to the pastor or some other member of the clergy. Or me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I love your suggested responses. And I was actually referring to me not having the energy to make my COMMENT about it all any more entertaining like several of your responders above. See even now, I am trying to find a new way to work in one of the phrases but alas…

        Hey, I bet that would work too. Just say a word like “alas” and then pause…for way too long, with your eyes wandering off into space?


        1. Sadly, a certain number of people will not get a hint that subtle. For them, invoking your mysterious “spiritual guide” is more likely to work. Some people actually will want to know who that is. It’s good to have a nominally oriental name guide at hand. Like … someone maybe you saw on televisiont? The name of any Chinese actor who appeared in Law & Order would do.


  2. I was watching Hondo the other day. It’s the first time that I realized that it is partly about when and when not to tell a lie.


    1. It’s actually an interesting movie because it’s not as obvious as it first seems. These days, though, there’s never a wrong time to lie. Now that we have disqualified “truth” and “fact-based” as relevant, there are no lies.


    1. My whole point in this is to avoid having to think — and more importantly, to avoid engaging in discourse about things I really prefer to NOT discuss. Sometimes, I just need a way out that disengages quickly and painlessly. I’m not trying to insult people, just get them to back off.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. If anyone asks me why I won’t or can’t do something, or why I gave something up, I say it’s because of my health. If they ask what my health condition is, I tell them, and they don’t ask a second time. No one wants to discuss colitis.


    1. I have enough real health conditions to stop most people, but there are always people who not only want to discuss it, but feel they need to advise me … or even more entertaining, explain how whatever recently happened to them is much worse. it’s just easier to not engage. Much easier on both me and them.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I don’t think anyone who grew up during the 80’s like I did can hear the word “vice” and not instantly think of the TV show “Miami Vice.” I’m pretty sure that was my introduction to the word, though I still had no idea what it meant then other than Crockett and Tubbs are on!


  5. Beautiful. Perfect. Brilliant! It used to be that saying “for health reasons” was enough, but now people are too nosy for that, plus they want to advise you on your health. Everyone has their Google medical degree. But no one will mess with your spiritual beliefs. I love it.


  6. Giving up stuff becomes a pastime as a golden oldie I noticed. My mum always felt that the price of cigarettes was increasing too much, after all “what other pleasures does an old boy have in life”. OK, she had other ideas on the pleasures of life perhaps, but not everything we give up is really a vice. After all we enjoyed it all when we was partaking in it.


    1. Since I “grew up” — maybe turned 40? — nothing I have done would count in anyone’s book as a vice — not counting smoking, I suppose. And that’s more a bad, unhealthy habit than a vice. We don’t give stuff up because it’s bad. We give it up because (a) we can’t do it anymore, even if we want to (b) we forgot how to do it or (c) our doctor says it’ll kill us. I actually miss smoking, even though I haven’t had a cigarette in a lot of years. Funny about that.


  7. Thank you for this post, it made me giggle and I enjoyed it. For religious reasons.
    Naw, I can’t pull that one off – I’m an atheist.
    But I really did enjoy the post though.


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