A Hostess with the Mostess

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'm still enjoying the Quincy Harker novella series by John Hartness. I especially like Quincy's irreverent attitude and general ‘badass-ery’.  Maybe a novel length Harker story would be too much of a good thing, like when Dave Barry turned his hilarious columns into a book-length rant, but it's possible I would enjoy this character in a more developed plot with additional back story and maybe a bit of romance thrown into the mix.

Make it so, Mr. Hartness. Pretty please?

Anyhoo, now, onto my point, which is the plot of book two in the series,

Straight to Hell

. In this novella, Quincy must avert the end of the world by preventing the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from riding off into the sunset and triggering Revelation in all its glory. Q and his team deal with Pestilence and Famine pretty handily, but War and Death give them a run for their money.  It's all very exciting. And, along the way to averting Armageddon, there was an interesting subplot involving the Sword of Ares’ search for a new host to be the incarnation of War.  

Turns out, incarnating War involves a fair amount of anger.

When the Sword scanned Quincy for the requisite environment in which to thrive, it found him wanting. In Quincy's words, "I felt the magical essence of War search through my soul, and eventually decide that I was lacking. I wasn't the avatar War wanted."

This got me thinking, naturally. What, you don't contemplate becoming an avatar for War, aka Anger?  How about Lust?  Sloth? Greed? Gluttony? Pride? Envy?  Have I covered the bases? Did any of you see the movie "Seven," with Brad Pitt and Kevin Spacey?  At the end of the movie Spacey exhorts Pitt to kill him, urging Pitt to embody Anger. It’s a brilliant and very disturbing movie because of one of its core questions; would we make an acceptable host for any or all of the Seven Deadly Sins? If so, is there any desire to become less accommodating and hospitable?

I seem to be an excellent hostess for the scourge of Pride, and I make a cozy hangout for Envy as well. I'm not proud of my affinity for these mortal sins, and I'm envious of those whose heads and hearts are better protected from these invaders. But my chemical makeup seems to beckon Pride and Envy like mosquitos to ankles in high grass at dusk. I'm riddled with the stuff. 

For me, being a good host to Pride means that I don't fight the urge to ride high on my righteous horse.  Most of the time, I'm certain I know it all, and I'm positive that what I don't know isn't all that interesting or important anyway.  I'm the one who said, when asked by my boss why I always act like I'm the smartest person in the room, "Because I am." I've written about my pride before. It precedes the fall each and every time, but I'm a slow learner. I’m not proud of that.

There was also a time when War might’ve found me a comfy home. Those were not good times. But I got over my Anger, and settled more securely into Pride and Envy.  For me, Envy is about wanting something to be other than it is. Envy is paging through catalogues, imagining myself wearing, using, and buying whatever crap is being peddled. It's reading People magazine and fantasizing about what it would be like to be Princess Kate or Jennifer Lawrence. It's thinking about acting, looking or being something I'm not and likely never will be. I don't just make a decent hangout for Envy, I'm putting out home-baked cookies on my best china to welcome it this particular wickedness.

I wish this weren't the case (Envy again). I'm not holding my head high (Pride in its alternate guise of self pity).  I actually strive for self-awareness and to show the door to Sins when they come to call ("What's your hurry, here's your hat."). I meditate, journal, practice yoga and gratitude. And I've definitely made progress. But I can't say with any certainty at all that any Sins would find me lacking. I'm desperately afraid they would find me all too willing to make me their vessel. What does that say for the state of my soul?

I have no idea. But, if Quincy is sufficiently morally ambivalent (what with acting as judge, jury and executioner for a wide variety of human and paranormal baddies) that if his soul is not in danger of being an acceptable avatar for War, mine is probably not any worse than most – especially as I neither judge nor condemn anyone with any actual authority behind my adjudication. So maybe I'm just a garden-variety sinner, nothing more than another bozo on the ethical bus. Which strangely enough hurts my pride and makes me envious of those hosting the big Sins. Guess I'm not the hostess with the mostess after all. Probably a good thing in the long run.  I’ll let you know.

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