Thomas Aquinas says that gluttony “denotes, not any desire of eating and drinking, but an inordinate desire.” It is that desire, “inordinate through leaving the order of reason,” that constitutes the sin. He classifies the appetite twofold: 1) the unconscious appetite, naturalis, which refers to hunger and thirst, and to which considerations of virtue and vice are irrelevant; and 2) the “sensitive appetite,” animalis, which requires the knowledge of what is pleasant and useful. It is in the concuspience of the latter that gluttony exists.

At first glance, The Blob appears to be a creature of pure naturalis, consuming “in accord with its nature, without any knowledge of the reason why such a thing is appetible.” Indeed, as Aquinas argues, if The Blob exceeds “in quantity of food, not from desire of food, but through deeming it necessary to him, this pertains not to gluttony, but to some kind of inexperience.”

But, according to Bruce Kawin, The Blob represents the growing consumerism of 1950s America — consuming for the sake of consuming. Americans’ “complacent desire to stuff themselves with goods and good times had shown itself to be a monster,” says Kawin.  If this is the case, then The Blob fulfills Aquinas’ requirements for gluttony: “when a man knowingly exceeds the measure in eating, from a desire for the pleasures of the palate.” The farmer’s hand would have been enough, but it ate the whole farmer; the nurse would have been enough, but it ate the doctor too; the projectionist would have been enough, but it swamped the theater itself; one diner would have been enough, but it engulfed the entire diner whole. Dayenu.

At the Golden Castle diner, where I sometimes have late-night meals, the neon signs reflect off the surface of the glass. It feels as if we’re being smothered in raspberry preserves. The waitresses move with desultory good cheer and, in the moments in between customers, discuss what may lie outside of the diner. Bills to pay. Disappointed families. The sadness that night brings. All the things that eat you alive.

My order arrives: a French dip, which comes with a side of fries and a condiment cup of coleslaw. The roast beef is smothered in Provolone, which looks like melted plastic bag. I release a red splotch of ketchup adjacent to my fries, trying, as much as possible, not to let it touch the fries themselves. Nonetheless, it seeps towards them, maybe from the tilt of the plate, maybe of its own accord.

At the end of my meal, very little remains. A few burnt tips of French fries like fingernail clippings. A shallow pool of au jus with a flotilla of coagulated oil, which I sop with a piece of bread. I slouch in my booth, like I’m sinking into the vinyl. I’ve always trusted my metabolism to keep my waistline in check, but lately, I’m not so sure. The skin on my stomach stretches taut, and I imagine it eating more, eating endlessly. The blob waits to consume us all.

The waitress asks if I want a refill. Of course I do.

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