Fitting ‘sloth’ description perfectly

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A few years ago, a local slick magazine called Las Vegas Life assigned seven writers to take one of the seven deadly sins and pen an essay as to how that sin related to their lives.

I thought for sure the editors would slot me in for “lust.” And who could blame them? For the prior three years I had been doing research and interviews for a book and documentary film called “Skin City.”

I had spent an inordinate amount of time hanging out with hookers, porn stars, madams, swingers, strippers, and a whole lot of other folks who spent half their day butt-naked. I could have been the signature voice of Garth Brooks’ ballad, “I’ve Got Friends in Low Places.”

If ever there was a guy who could babble on about lust, I was sure the magazine honchos thought it was me. But the lust I was hearing and writing about was all second-hand stuff, most of it on the seedy side. I wasn’t hearing the kinds of stories that sent fire blazing through my loins, and even if that were the case my Catholic upbringing would prevent me from rapping about it in a family magazine.

It’s one thing to write about horny people, quite another to discuss your own horniness.

When the seven writers convened to choose their most appropriate sin, I volunteered for “sloth,” and all conceded that this was a good fit for me.

Now “sloth,” defined by my American Heritage dictionary as “an aversion to work or exertion, laziness, or indolence,” was a sin I could write about with some authority.

As a freelance writer who for over 30 years has worked out of his house, I understood that little soul-scorcher “sloth” really well. It stays as close to me as the mole on my shoulder, forever beckoning me to leave my office and walk 20 steps to the living room couch and grab man’s best friend: the remote control.

A frequent question I hear is, “How do you have the discipline to write all those books?” I never have a good answer to that. In truth, most of the time I feel like the laziest person I know.

There’s no dress code in my job, I shave only when my chin itches, and I can have three bad-hair days in a row without anyone ever knowing. I give in to that old varmint “sloth” at least 15 times a day, whenever I get stuck on a difficult sentence or a complex idea that is about 30 points north of my IQ.

At those times I’ll take a walk, brush my teeth for the fourth time, floss for good measure, hit a bucket of golf balls, or wolf down an Eskimo Pie. I indulge myself by playing in the fields of sloth, my better side constantly reminding me that I’m being a slug and need to shag my tail back into my cave and get busy.

The simple fact is that I’m unemployed, and yet somehow people keep paying me good money to stay that way.

Before I got married and became a papa, I used to go to dinner with a bunch of male friends, all of whom had real jobs. I remember one night mentioning to them an interesting topic I had seen on Oprah that afternoon.

Instantly, I got a look like I had just come out of the closet.

“You watch OPRAH?!” one said. “I don’t know a single guy who watches Oprah!” The others all laughed heartily and looked at me like I needed to change my diaper.

I just shrugged my shoulders. It had been one of those moments when sloth won the battle. As I recall I lied and told the guys I had been looking for a ballgame on another channel and just paused on Oprah when the topic of conversation caught my interest.

There’s one other anecdote to support my credentials as an expert on sloth. When my daughter was still in grade school, her assignment in a civics class was for every student to give a short speech in which they would explain to the other students what their fathers did for a living.

At the next parent-teachers gathering, Lily Sheehan’s teacher could hardly wait to tell me the essence of her presentation. My girl had proudly told her classmates, “My dad watches golf on television and he swims with my brother and me whenever we want.”

Now there’s a role model for you.

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About the Author

Jack Sheehan

Vegas Vibe columnist Jack Sheehan has lived in Las Vegas since 1976 and writes about the city for Gaming Today. He is the author of 28 books, over 1,000 magazine articles, and has sold four screenplays.

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