Deep, Abiding Questions of Ethics, SUPPRESS YOUR EXCITEMENT, PLEASE

by jen on April 7, 2009

Well, crap. I have nothing to say, really. It’s not just you — friends, boyfriend, family (you know, those who come and go), they’re like, what’s new? And I say: work.

That is, in all seriousness, one of the biggest bummers about working a lot. You haven’t read anything new, heard anything new, or rather, you have, but nothing that ISN’T protected by the attorney-client privilege. You want to be like, I swear, I have been doing something for the last two weeks, let me tell you about it! But instead you have to say: “Work is stupid.”

Anyway, do you remember Highlights magazine? I remember my favorite features of that magazine as being Goofus & Gallant and the one where you figure out which picture is different but I have no idea if those were actually my favorite features or if they were the only ones that were delivered with enough frequency for me to remember, 26 years later.

This question has no point except for it is the only non-work thing I have discussed in the last 15 hours, and also, how hard did Highlights rock??!!

OK, maybe it does have a point, because someone I worked with recently was talking about her college-aged son, worrying about his ethics, his generation heading down the tubes (where do they go, them darn tubes? DOWN is all we know), the same sort of hand-wringing we seem to do with every generation. And I was thinking about myself when I was little, reading Goofus and Gallant, and the answer then was clear: Gallant was a pussy. Just kidding. Really, totally kidding, I was always able to figure out immediately where Goofus screwed up.

And then, as I got older, things got more confusing: there was “The Man” I was contending with, always getting the underprivileged, the underrepresented and me down, there were income taxes and what you could and couldn’t claim (my accountant tells me I am a .5 on a scale of 1 to 10 of aggressive, simultaneously awesome and embarrassing), there was just a general realization that is 100% completely possible to justify A LOT OF CRAP YOU SHOULDN’T BE DOING.

So what I tried to tell this woman worried about her son was, you know, when you’re younger, you’re good at rationalization, right, you’re human, but you haven’t yet developed the self-awareness to recognize when you’re doing so.

But when you’re older, just like you develop (kind of) enough sense to realize you’re just rationalizing a boyfriend’s behavior and really he’s being a dick, you develop enough sense, enough self-awareness to realize you’re rationalizing your own.

So you stop, and you do what’s right.

I dunno, that’s what I think. I think of some of the stupid stuff that I did to my friends, boyfriends, when I was younger, stuff I justified to myself (“all’s fair in love and war”). And I know I would never do those things now.

I’m too, like, adult and shit.

Or rather, I know full well when I’m not doing what I should. And I’m old enough to know better.

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