May 15, 2022
THE FINAL SCORE
As a person who has strayed off the path a few times in life, I have a soft spot for other folks who have done the same, whether they ended up in jail or not.
Maybe it’s because people who have never screwed up just don’t seem to be trying hard enough. And they’re certainly not nearly as interesting as the people who did.
People screw up because they get greedy, because they get careless, and sometimes just because they get curious. They break the rules, stray outside the confines of respectable behavior, and explore their dark sides. They may wander into the ethical weeds on their own adventures and often end up paying an emotional and social price for it.
The people who screw up tend to irritate the hard-working, decent folk who don’t, and I understand that. The good folks, who obey all the rules, who manage to resist temptation, who stop at all the red lights, show up for work on time, do a good job, and collect a fat pension at the end may be the backbone of society, but to me they just aren’t as interesting as those who wander off course.
Of course, there is a third category, which is larger than one might think. These are the so-called respectable, hard-working folks, who have secret lives.
They’re ones who go home and beat their wives, terrorize their children, and drink themselves into a stupor. The ones who slap their friends and associates on the back, then berate the hired help. Or maybe their more sinister counterparts – the ones who exploit children, take advantage of the weaker members of society, and never lose a moment of sleep over it.
These folks are always assholes, and sometimes downright evil. That’s all they are, that’s all they are ever going to be. And when they finally die, one-by-one, the world becomes, one-by-one, a slightly nicer place.
Most of us, whether we like it or not, are a combination of all three types. And when we grow old – if we grow old – and we begin to tally up our score, we get a clearer picture of what it all meant.
What was important, what was not, and how we did. When you tally it all up, it’s either pass or fail.
Will the world be a little bit better without you in it or a little worse? Only you know the answer.
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