Six and eight are good numbers aren’t they? All curvy and sensuous on the outside, but sensible and even within. I like six and eight. Good proper numbers. Not like that seven. All pointy and full of itself.

“Ooh look at me. I’m the highest single digit prime number.”

Smug, spiky, septimal bastard.

That’s just me though. Everyone else, it seems, can’t get enough of it. Brides, brothers, dwarfs, samurai, they all love seven. And (and here we reach the point of today’s edu-ma-cational presentation) so did the compilers of the things for which we will be damned, for they determined that there are exactly seven Deadly Sins.

I don’t have many ways of taking money off people. Pretty much just working, really. That’s all I’ve got. But were I of an unscrupulous, money-grubbing persuasion I think I would be tempted to try these things:

1)   Betting people a pound that they can’t spell the word MINUSCULE.

2)   Betting people a pound that they don’t know the first of the Ten Commandments. (I’m talking about other people here. You obviously know that it is “I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” It’s amazing how many people will go for “Thou shalt not kill” which is waaaay down the charts at this week’s number six.

3)   Betting people a pound that they can’t name the seven deadly sins. Even if they have seen David Fincher’s fine crime thriller Seven.

Again you probably know this, but for my own entertainment let me list the seven deadly sins: Pride, covetousness, lust (the only one which is also a Dwarf, though in the film he uses his street name Doc), envy, gluttony, anger and sloth.

These subdivide into the ones I like to call the good ones (lust, gluttony and sloth), the bad ones (covetousness, envy and anger) and the inexplicable one. Pride.

What the hell is pride? It is touted where I live as a bit of a virtue if anything. Pride in your nation. Pride in your heritage. Pride in your culture.

Where I live is Scotland, and what I technically am is English.

What I actually am is half-Scottish, half-English. My Mum’s lot are Irish Catholics via Glasgow. My Dad’s lot are Vikings (with a pinch of Roman) from Yorkshire. But nuance is nuance, and it doesn’t always play in a pub environment. So, what I go for is yes, I am English. What of it?

Fortunately I haven’t been on the receiving end of much grief in my years up here, but there has been some. And, if I challenge it, it’s invariably thrown back at me as a lack in my sense of humour.

“Excuse me,” I might mention. “You seem to be repeatedly plunging your sgian dubh into my duodenum.”

“Ah, f*** you, you c***,” they might reply. “Can you not take a bit of banter?”

And the whole thing is about pride. The pride of being Scottish as expressed through an irrational, but vaguely historical, hatred of the English.

I love the diversity of my background but it is none of my doing. If I were 100% Scottish, that would be none of my doing either. You’re born where you’re born. Taking credit for it is silly. Hating other people for not having been born in the same place is mad.

Is it not enough that I love Scotland so much that I made my home here? That I work and pay my taxes here? Apparently not. Hey, and furthermore, ho.

This lunacy reached this point a few years ago:

In summary the Scottish Society For The Protection Of Animals were complaining about the RSPCA (the equivalent organization in England in Wales) of benefiting from donations they felt should have been theirs.

Cruelty to animals in England was being prevented, but at the expense of the prevention of cruelty to animals in Scotland. Is this right? Is there a substantive difference between English animals and Scottish animals? Over to you, High Brains.


There is, I have realised now, another way I could relieve the credulous of a pound: By asking them “Pride goes before… what?” Mostly, I like to imagine, they would say, “A fall! Pride goes before a fall!”

The actual quotation is “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

Enjoy your money-making. Watch out for the haughty spirits now.

One comment on “Pride

  1. Ah sloth, my sin of choice. Although I have temporarily overcome it to make this comment.

    I think that you might lose your pound more often than not over the 7 Deadly Sins; unless you are really strict a refuse to accept anger for wrath (and I prefer avarice to greed).

    A more difficult challenge would be name the 7 Virtues: Chastity (to oppose Lust), Temperance (Gluttony), Charity (Avarice), Diligence (Sloth), Patience (Wrath), Kindness (Envy) and Humility (Pride).

    Well, I’m not now going to win a pound off you but maybe that will count as a bit of charity.

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