#2. Letting Someone Take the Fall for You
I know that a lot of you are annoyed that you don't know me as well as you'd like. "Tell us more about your life, Gladstone," I hear you say (because I have a superpower that allows me to hear things people aren't saying). Anyway, your fictitious prayers have been answered. Here's a story from fifth grade:
I don't really remember what it was, but my fifth grade teacher kept a test tube of something near the sink.
Siri Stafford/Photodisc/Getty Images
I'm guessing it was genetically engineered goat syphilis virus.
One day I picked up the test tube, trying to figure out what the hell I was looking at, and then I put it back down in its container. Too hard. I was pretty sure it had cracked and was now leaking into the bottle it was kept in, but I didn't want to find out, and no one saw me, so I went about my day (hoping that goat syphilis could not be contracted in its airborne form).
About a week later, the teacher noticed the damage and asked if anyone knew who did. My classmate Rich said that Darren had done it, that he had seen Darren knock the bottle over with his coat and then put it back. First off, yes, Rich was a twat. I mean, seriously, right?
Anyway, at that point I confessed, because I was fine with sneaking around and avoiding punishment, but I couldn't deal with someone being punished because of me. But that happens all the time. People let other people get fired for their mistake. Fired. And they're OK with that. I mean, OK, you're walking down the street with some dude from your office and a meteor falls out of the sky and kills him -- it's not cool, but you can say "Better him than me" if you really want to be an asshole.
But how can you embezzle money and watch someone else go to jail, saying "Better him than me?" How is that any better than actually framing someone? I feel these people must rationalize a difference, but there is none. Or maybe they don't even bother.
#1. Having Unrealistic Expectations of Accommodation
A couple of years ago I was in New York City on Christmas Day. Now, I know that many people think of New York as a gathering of godless heathens, but on Christmas Day the city is as shut down as you will ever see it. Even in Times Square, one of the most densely packed tourist areas in the entire world, at least 75 percent of the food businesses are closed.
Anyway, my kids and wife at that time were looking for a place to eat and settled for some generic deli. It was a big one with sandwich stations and a salad bar and even a pizza oven. Certainly it was the best we could hope for, and we were content.
While we were in line, however, a woman with the most obscenely proper, over-the-top English accent made an inquiry to the sandwich guy, who barely spoke English. "Where do you keep your vegetarian options?" she asked.
She looked like this. Yes, I said she had an English accent, but that doesn't mean she couldn't
be of Indian descent. WHY ARE YOU SO RACIST?!
Yes, she was not content to find a clean place with an array of food and ample seating; now she had a special request. OK, OK, she doesn't eat meat. That's her right, and a lady's got to eat, so, sure, ask a simple deli about their "vegetarian options." The employee said, "Oh, right this way," very politely, and pointed to several prepared (but not yet pressed) paninis in the display case. These sandwiches are like pita-type bread with vegetables and mushrooms and quality cheese. They actually looked really good. This woman, deeply offended, replied, "DEAR GOD!" and left the premises.
In life, we should all pursue the things we want and not accept anything less than we want. Go us! But there's also such a thing as reality. At some point, you cannot expect the world to provide you with anything in your incredibly specific wish list. It's not like this place billed itself as a vegetarian emporium. How do you expect to come to a place where nothing is open and find not just something that meets your needs, but wows you on Christmas Day? I mean unless you're actually Jesus, maybe shut the fuck up?
"The panini's fine. Thank you."
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