While putting off purchasing course books in the bookstore, I came across a paperback by Dan Savage, the nationally-syndicated advice columnist.
Savage’s work, titled “Skipping towards Gomorrah: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Pursuit of Happiness in America,” details the author’s humorous attempts to commit the seven deadly sins and profiles everyday Americans who are doing the same.
After flipping through the book and reading a few pages, I realized that Savage didn’t have to travel from coast to coast in his search. A few months spent as Yale would have provided him with plenty of fodder for his 300-page tome — and perhaps a second volume.
On this Friday, I present the seven deadly sins at Yale.
(In the interest of full disclosure, I must confess that I’m as guilty of the following transgressions as anyone else on Yale’s campus. And I don’t claim to be an authority on religion or spirituality of any kind — after seven years of Catholic Sunday school classes, I still needed to Google the seven deadly sins to remember them all. I also don’t intend to proselytize in any way. A myriad of groups on campus already do so, and the lack of animal sacrifice on campus this fall leads me to think they’re doing pretty well.)
With that said, interpret the following as you wish; either as a ring of hellfire red tape around Yale’s campus or as a primer for sin in the Elm City. The latter usage will probably more fun, but don’t blame me if you’re spending the next 100 years in purgatory.
Yes, everyone at home knows that you’re a “smartypants Yalie,” but bringing up our alma mater every time you get a chance is most certainly sinful. Same goes for wearing your Yale sweatshirt when you visit your friend at that state school you didn’t even apply to. And for freshmen who haven’t already experienced this phenomenon: trying to pick up people by telling them you go to Yale works about as well as telling them about your scathing case of herpes — herpes and Yale, they’re both with you for life.
There is one instance where it’s acceptable to drop the Y-bomb, however. When someone has seriously berated and insulted you to the nth degree before asking “What second-rate school even let you in?” Then, and only then, is it okay to tell them you go to Yale. This actually happened to me and it’s not a sin — I checked.
If there was ever an environment to elicit envy, Yale is it. No matter what you’ve excelled at in the past, there’s someone here who is better at it. The key to avoiding this sin is to find the way or ways in which you’re better than the person you’re tempted to envy. Are you more attractive? Funnier? Better in bed? Is your impersonation of a Portuguese waitress falling down a flight of steps more convincing than theirs? Nobody is great at everything, and the sooner you find out what makes you special, the happier (and more sin-free) you’ll be.
Every year, Commons hosts the Freshman Christmas dinner — a formal affair that culminates in the “parade of comestibles.” This display of foodstuffs rivals the “Be Our Guest” number in Beauty and the Beast. As soon as the procession is finished, however, Commons devolves in a bloodthirsty free-for-all as students scramble for food like a roomful of DS students fighting for the last highlighter. My freshman year, I recall seeing a rather rotund Southerner wrestling an international student for half of a gingerbread house before receiving a blow to the head from the tofurkey and blacking out. No matter — I had already filled my pockets with Christmas sweets (after body-checking a girl in my English class who tried to take the last sustainable food brownie).
At some point during your four years here, you are bound to experience a degree of sexual frustration. When this frustration continues beyond simply making eyes at the hottie across the auditorium and turns into cruising Toad’s for someone (anyone) to take home, it becomes a problem. As anyone who’s drunkenly picked up that “Yale” student at Backroom at Bottega can tell you, you’ll regret it later. Wanting booty desperately is probably the most common manifestation of lust and sure to land you in hell. Masturbation, on the other hand (groan), is not one of the big, deadly seven — you know what to do.
At Yale, as in life, it’s important to pick your battles. Nobody will want to commit any sin with you if you walk around campus like that angst-ridden teenager of your youth. With that said, there are certainly cases when anger (and occasionally wrath) is warranted: returning from being sexiled to find underwear (not yours) on your computer keyboard; being lied to (not about your surprise birthday party) or cheated on (under any circumstances); and being treated unfairly by someone in position of authority. Getting shut out of Berkeley dining hall or discovering that your roommate used up all of your stamps sending letters to the Lindsay Lohan fan club just doesn’t cut it.
Question: Do you want to be an i-banker because you love economics and the business of investing? Or do you want to work on Wall Street so that you can drive a Hummer through the streets of New York and go golfing in the Hamptons with “Diddy”?
Naps are part of your rights as a college student. Unless you move to Spain after graduation, you’ll never again be able to justify spending an afternoon in bed when you could be up doing something productive. Not even the Pope could convince me that naps are evil, and honestly, nothing important happens in the late afternoon anyway. As far as I’m concerned, VIVA SIESTA!
Kevin Osowski took dos siestas while working on this article.