Please be gentle with me. This post was difficult for me to write.
You remember I’m Mormon, right?
Before I dive into this post, my non-Mormon readers need a crash course on the Word of Wisdom. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it in vague terms (“You don’t drink coffee?!”), but a bit more in-depth knowledge is required before my rant will make any sense.
So. Here’s the basic list from mormon.org:
“In addition to emphasizing the benefits of proper eating and physical and spiritual health, God has spoken against the use of:
- Coffee and tea.
- Harmful, habit-forming drugs.”
Stick with me, here. Yes, I’ve tried everything on that list. I’ve even enjoyed the hell out of some of it. Obviously I’m not bringing this up so I can try to convince y’all of the error of your ways. I just need you aware of the principle, and now that you are, I can move onto the real reason for this post.
As my faithful readers know, I went to Las Vegas to attend a community pharmacy conference. All our meals were included, and dinner the first night featured an open bar. Sometimes it’s like God is messing with me. “Hey, you down there, I know you have issues with substances and all, and you’re trying to be good, but hey–check out that free liquor!” [Please don’t send me a message about how God really isn’t saying that and it’s totally Satan unless you want to be mocked.]
Anyway, I’m at this conference with free booze 10 feet away from me and…I didn’t drink. I know, right? I’m pretty frickin’ awesome. But it wasn’t just my supreme willpower and desire to do good that kept me from drinking (Did you giggle a little just then? I bet you did!)–it was my fear of judgement. I was at the conference with my boss and two coworkers, all of whom are also Mormon. I knew if I broke down and had a drink, there would be gossip and censuring looks and all sorts of irritating things that make me want to drink even more.
The next day our free lunch came with iced tea. Fortunately, I wasn’t at all tempted. Iced tea is wrong. Argue with me all you want, but I know the truth. Iced tea is icky. I went off to find water, and when I came back, my coworker was sprinkling sugar in her iced tea.
I think I did a double take. It was the very last thing I expected to see. Like, ever. And because I can never keep my mouth shut (That’s endearing, right? RIGHT?!), here’s the conversation that followed:
Me: “So…I’m just curious. How is drinking iced tea any different from if I’d had alcohol last night?”
Her: “Well, tea doesn’t have the same effect as alcohol.”
Me: “I must’ve missed that part in the Word of Wisdom where it talks about how something affects you.”
Her: “It’s my only vice.” [I don’t think she meant that like it sounds. I believe she meant her only vice pertaining to the Word of Wisdom.]
It went on for a bit, but you get the idea.
In light of this new information, I’ve come up with a handy sliding scale for Word of Wisdom offenses:
You drink caffeinated beverages on a daily basis. Shame on you!
You drink coffee or tea. You’re on a slippery slide, my friend.
You smoke cigarettes and/or drink alcohol. You’re totally screwed. You will now die of lung cancer and/or cirrhosis.
There, now. Doesn’t that clear things up nicely?
I’ve spent some time trying to figure out why I’m so bitter about this whole encounter, and all I can come up with is that I felt like I’d been judged and found lacking by someone who has problems with the exact same commandment.
What makes me angriest is the knowledge that I’ve done the same thing. I made snide comments about the addicts who came into our pharmacy and then I went home and popped a handful of Lortab. I shook my head in dismay at the people doing sobriety tests at the side of the road, but then deemed myself perfectly capable of driving home after a night of drinking.
One of my biggest pet peeves is hypocrisy, yet I’m one of the worst hypocrites I know.
I’ve become my own pet peeve. Weird. Also, uncomfortable. Someone hurry and do something really annoying so I can focus on something else, okay?