“An’ it Harm None…” by
(94 Stories)

Prompted By Guilty Pleasures

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I don't have any guilty pleasures

This subject presents me with a conundrum; I don’t have any guilty pleasures.

Not that I don’t have pleasures. I have quite a few. Most are pretty run of the mill; art, music, the company of good people. Some are a bit more individualistic; fine tequila, mountain biking and long hot showers. A few are only known to a select group of friends, lovers and the occasional enemy.

But I don’t feel an iota of guilt about a single one.

Not that I am immune to guilt. I have felt guilt (and its more nebulous and even nastier cousin, shame) on far too many occasions. I hate the feeling so much, I do all I can to avoid it. Luckily I find that fairly easy to do.

I was raised to be, above all else, kind. Considerate. Gentle. Now, I do NOT always achieve these goals, as my parents did not before me. I can be arrogant. I can be impatient. I can be sarcastic (the vice that has been particularly challenging to get a handle on). I can be cruel, although more through carelessness than design. I have a bit of a New Jersey style temper, especially when I see people being hurt by those who were not raised to see kindness as the cardinal virtue…and anger is the key that unleashes the Krakens of arrogance, sarcasm etc. And, maybe worst of all, I once cared deeply about what other people thought of me.

But, whether by nature or nurture, nothing that I have ever found pleasurable does any harm to anyone, and hurting other people is what makes me feel guilty. The worst that any of my enjoyments ever subjects another person to is bewilderment at why in hell I’d enjoy such a thing.

This attitude toward pleasurable activities has not always been smooth sailing. The idea that pleasures simply must be bad if indulged, overindulged or indulged improperly, is deeply ingrained in most people and institutions. My personal disconnect between morality and… um, most things, has frequently been met with disbelief, dismay and anger. I’ve been told I am going to Hell more than a few times.

But since I no longer care what no more than maybe half a dozen people on Earth think of me, and they already know all about me, I can indulge my hedonistic tendencies with a clear conscience.

On the other hand, I do like watching Family Guy.

Profile photo of Dave Ventre Dave Ventre
A hyper-annuated wannabee scientist with a lovely wife and a mountain biking problem.

Tags: Guilt, Pleasure, Sin
Characterizations: right on!, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Interesting take on this prompt, Dave. I very much liked your last sentence, that was quite funny. As for your other thoughts, you have shared some personal struggles and I respect those thoughts and feelings.

  2. Laurie Levy says:

    Aha, Dave, you do have one small guilty pleasure. This is a very interesting take on the prompt. It makes me wonder what I should feel guilty about anything I enjoy, as long as it doesn’t hurt someone else.

  3. You got me at Family Guy, Dave.

    As for any guilt those of us have at our age and at our stage – let’s toss it!

  4. Khati Hendry says:

    It took me a long time to identify a guilty pleasure for this prompt—but reading all the retrospect submissions reminds me that I have more than I thought. Raised in a family that had a healthy dose of needing to be a “productive member of society”, any thing that was frivolous could induce guilt. I love that you were taught to be kind—that is a wonderful lens through which to see and be in the world.

    • Dave Ventre says:

      My parents were odd ducks for their time and place and upbringings. Bizarrely enlightened and progressive when those were not commonly held to be virtues. The contrast between them and their peers was and is still surprising. Those few I remember of the generation before them…a fetid cesspool of racial, ethnic, national and religious bias.

  5. Marian says:

    Perfect punch line, Dave, and I agree, as long as there is no harm in these pleasures … Maybe a little indulgence will help us be more relaxed people with a wider bandwidth to have compassion for others.

  6. Suzy says:

    This is a great take on the prompt, Dave. And in truth, all the guilty pleasures the rest of us have written about don’t really seem like anything to feel guilty about. So as I say in the title of my story, all of us should Let the Guilt Go!

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