Posts Tagged ‘morality’

You try to do the right thing all the time.

You don’t steal pens from the office. You always greet everyone by name, and you try to do so with a warm smile or friendly handshake (back when handshakes were still in vogue).

You obey the traffic laws (within reason; I mean do we *really* need to watch for slow children?)

And then comes COVID. And still you do the right thing. You always wear a mask whenever you’re around others. You avoid getting too close to anyone. (So no more handshakes. And giving complete strangers a soul kiss might be right out of the question now.)

(Surprise frenchies were never that popular anyway.)

One day you decide you need a new frying pan. You’ve done your research so you know the one you pick will likely last a lot longer than normal non-stick frying pans. You’ve researched the user reviews on Amazon so you feel confident about your choice.

Wait. Amazon.

No, that won’t do at all. Amazon doesn’t need your business. Not really. The local store does though. So again you do the right thing and try and find that model from a local business.

Eventually you find one. It’s not really a local store; it’s a store under a familiar banner, and there are maybe 100 of them in the country. But it’s still smaller than Amazon, so it’ll do.

That’s when your descent into Purgatory starts.

They give you the tracking number and you carefully follow it until the day it says “DELIVERED!” But the address displayed is not your address. It’s not even your city.

You run to your door anyway but it’s not there. It’s not in your apartment lobby either.

The sucker was over $200 so you start the recovery claim process. First you call FedEx to see what happened. They can’t figure it out either. They give you a process number and tell you they’ll get back to you in a few days.

You wait a week but there’s no response. So you call the store from which you purchased the pan. The rep gets online and confirms it was delivered to the wrong address. He processes a replacement to be sent to you.

You sigh with relief and figure that’s that.

That is most certainly NOT that.

FedEx gets back to you the next day to tell you they found your parcel and it’s on its final leg of the journey to you.

After it arrives you quickly call the store back to tell them to stop the replacement process.

“What replacement process? Oh I see what happened. It turns out we didn’t have it in stock like we thought so we issued you a refund. But now that we know you’ve got it, we’ll process a re-charge on your credit card. So don’t worry if you see a refund and a re-charge. It’ll take a few days.”

No big deal, you think.

Yeah, it’s a big deal.

You get the refund. You see it in “pending” on your credit card, and then a few days later you see it clear back into your account.

Then you wait. And you wait. And your morality meter is flashing into the red zone.

A week goes buy and you still have this new frying pan (which works great by the way!) for which you have paid nothing.

Your brain raises its finger. “THIEF!” it bellows.

You could call the store but, knowing how things have gone so far you imagine they might process a new charge against your credit card, and then a few days later another charge for the same amount would be processed (the original charge that took its time coming forward), meaning you’d have paid twice for that stupid, ignorant, unnecessary excuse for a frying pan that you now wish you’d never coveted.

Better to wait, you think.

WTF knows. These flaming pants are getting a little uncomfortable.


Posted: May 8, 2011 in Life
Tags: , , ,

Don’t know about you but the next time someone in real life starts a sentence that starts “Wolf, you should…” I’m going to pay real close attention.  Probably the first thing out of my mouth will be “why?”

Followed by “why?”

And the answer would be followed by “yes, but why?”

Like some snot-nosed little kid who truly wants to know, but comes off looking like a little shit disturber.

I’m not talking about logical “shoulds” – they’re welcome.  “You shouldn’t touch the stove when it’s hot” is generally a good idea.  As is “you should save your money” and “you should be careful about what you eat”.  Those are all designed with your well-being in mind.  It’s the moral “shoulds” that interrupt me.  The “shoulds” that get blurted out from some long-held tradition which isn’t easily explained.

Like “you should go to church”.  Or “you should give to panhandlers”.

Or, “Wolf, you should stay married.”


“Cause God hates divorce.”

“Yeah, the Bible says that.  But why?”


“Is it because the culture of the time was pretty lenient towards marriage and divorce, and people had a propensity for taking almost-one-night-stands and using marriage as the moral tool to make that happen?  Is it because all one had to do once the deed was done was say ‘I divorce you I divorce you I divorce you.’?”

“Well the Bible doesn’t give parameters for God’s emotion.”

“Well, do you have emotion?”

“That’s a stupid question.  Of course I do.”

“And do you have reasons for your emotions?”

“Yes, but so what?”

“And are you made in the image of God?”

“Yes, but…”

“And so doesn’t it follow that if you’re made in His image, with emotions that came from Him, it’s likely He has reasons for His emotions?”

“I suppose, but…”

“So aren’t you trying to set yourself up as moral judge here?  Aren’t you trying to paint a multi-coloured situation as black and white?”


Man, I wish I had all of the above handy when I was still going to church and believing that stuff.

But the thing is:  this kind of “should” nonsense happens inside circles of people who aren’t necessarily religious too.  People want to feel morally right about everything, so they deny their feelings, by putting a big old “SHOULD NOT” stamp across their emotions.

The thing that brought this my attention recently was the fortunate demise of Osama Bin Laden.   At first, when I saw updates on folks’ Facebook pages talking about how it’s good that he’s dead, but we shouldn’t be rejoicing, I thought “well, that’s typically a religious -wrongheaded- approach”.   I entered into some pretty heated conversations about it, to no avail.

But then I saw the same sentiment being uttered by non-religious people.  People who felt it was wrong to be happy about anyone’s death.  Even Noam Chomsky has a problem with his death; he tried to paint a comparison between troops going in and murdering Osama (which is clearly what they did, as he was unarmed), and terrorists coming in and murdering George Bush.

What I’m really hearing people say is this:

“I feel good, and maybe even joyful that the murdering terrorist tyrant Osama is dead, but I feel bad about feeling good.”

What nonsense.

Maybe the problem is one of distance from 9/11.  It seems likely that, had Osama been killed within a few weeks of 9/11, very few would have felt the least bit bad about feeling good that he was dead.  That swelling feeling of justified vengeance would have been too overwhelming.  Anyone who raised an objection would be viewed with high distaste; they would have been seen as hopelessly naïve and stupid.

It got me thinking about other things in our lives where “should” takes the place of honesty.  One of the pitfalls of growing out of childhood is that we become so socialized that we forget the joy of saying what we think.   Many old people have figured that out, and have reverted to blurting their honest thoughts, which is off-putting to so many of us.  Can you imagine a truly truthful conversation among your peers?

How many times has “should” ended up shutting your mouth?  I mean fine, you saved on an argument, but at what cost?

This is the kind of stuff I think about, at 2:30 in the morning when normal people are fast asleep.   When I *should* be asleep too.