If your parka hood seems to fit poorly these days, this might be the reason: your large, glowing halo. A new survey — I know, they never stop — says we're the 41st most sinful state in the union.
The verdict comes from the website WalletHub, which did not base its conclusions on tweets. Hurrah. They used actual metrics, real statistics. The first step: Define "sin."
For some, it's murder, theft and blasphemy, You know, the classics. For others, it might be throwing away a pop can instead of recycling it. (If you commit adultery with the driver of a recycling truck, does it all even out?)
Well, our ranking actually is based on the Seven Deadly Sins, which is rather old-school. Let's see how we rank.
Greed: we're No. 30. Seems about right. It's been years since I've seen a top-hatted plutocrat striding the street, knocking orphans out of his way with a diamond-topped walking stick.
Vanity: we score high here, relatively speaking. Seventeenth. This could be a reflection of our overweening state pride, and it makes you wonder whether we're just a bit too fond of ourselves and should ween less. I know the metro area has felt worse about itself the past year, and you wonder if our underweenage has kept our Vanity score down.
Actually, "vanity" is based on the number of beauty salons in the state, which seems a curious metric. I don't go to the salon because I am vain like an 18th-century European royal dandy who cannot abide a run in his hose; I just need a haircut. There's no barbershop where the menfolk sit around reading the Police Gazette until someone comes in for a two-bit shave, there's only the salons.
Excesses and Vices: No. 48. This seems like a rather broad category, though. Not everything that's excessive is a vice. "Oh, I just can't stopping knitting these mittens for my grandchildren! I've done 40 this week, all in different colors." Woman, thou art hellbound! Repent!
By "vices" they mean things like smoking, which has decreased thanks to laws that make smokers stand outside in minus-20 temps, and gambling, which also is strongly discouraged by the state. The government would like you to buy lottery tickets, but that's different. That's gaming.
Anger and Hate: again, right near the bottom, at No. 48. This category contains "violent crime." I think you could wrap that one into Greed, Lust, Excesses and Laziness. If you include "emotions about the Packers and the Nicollet Avenue K-Mart" in the statistics, we'd be No. 1.
What about Jealousy? We're 33rd in the nation, but again, don't use the standard definition. WalletHub uses this category for theft. Sure, breaking into someone's home to steal their possessions could be construed as jealousness, but judges rarely sentence anyone for Aggravated Covetousness.
We live at the intersection of 38th and Lust, the survey says. How do they know? Have they peered into our hearts? Examined our fleeting daydreams? Recalibrated the ShotSpotter system to detect wolf whistles? No: it's based on time spent on "adult" sites. The more time on the sites, the lustier the state.
Pardon the indelicate observation, but the opposite also might be the case.
Laziness: near the bottom. There are 48 states lazier than we are. I'd tell you who the other two are, but it's buried in a page of statistics, and I don't feel like digging it out.
We were the 42nd most sinful state last year. This year Nebraska occupies that position. "Incrementally naughtier than Nebraska" would be an excellent slogan for the next tourist campaign.
South Dakota is less virtuous, by the way. Let's save "Holier than SoDak" for the new license plate motto.