Thursday, January 08, 2004

The Thanks Department

This will be a recurring feature of this blog where I give thanks to things that may not have known they needed thanks.

Thank you O first years of the new millenium! These are best of times because they are the worst of times. It is so simple to be a good man in these days of ours. I do not have to die for an ideal like Carton in A Tale of Two Cities to stand head and shoulders (well, in Carton's case sans head) above my fellows. No, all I have to do is stop at stop signs and red lights and let pedestrians just walk on by! This alone places me in the upper 10%. But wait, there's more! I will not rest on such laurel-strewed crosswalks, nay, I shall strive for all that is good and just. After allowing my good-hearted fellow citizens to carry on their business without fear of my grill indenting their coats - I (I hesitate to brag, but my heart bursts out and my fingers can but only follow) proudly flick on my turn signal! Yes, I am signalling my intentions to other motorists both seen and unseen. I rejoice in casting out confusion and misdirection from their traffic calculations. The powers that be scowl at such displays of personal virtue, but I shall not be dissuaded! I cannot tell a lie and say that I am not humbled by my actions. I weep at the grandeur.

In other times and places, men and women of good hearts have had to make harrowing choices to be in the upper moral echelon. They were martyrs or dissidents, giving up their lives or livelihoods for their choices. I regret that I have but one (or two) cloth bags to give to my country's supermarket bagger to re-use instead of paper or plastic! In the days of Ward Cleaver and Jim Anderson it must have been so difficult in the business world to aspire to their wisdom and morality. But now I find that I can attain similar heights by doing frighteningly simple things that nonetheless escape my contemporaries! I am soaring in the clouds of Mount Olympus when I inform my esteemed co-workers of details that may affect them A WEEK (OR MORE) AHEAD OF TIME! By the very act of following procedures and not cutting people out of the process I am like Gandhi - the mind reels at such audaciousness in the workplace today. In fact, like Gandhi and Thoreau I am willing to be the apostle of a new movement that I hope will sweep the land and make it more difficult to be seen as a good man. I shall call this daring and Quixotic enterprise Civil Obedience.

If you can stop at stoplights
And signal for your turning.
If you can walk away from petty fights
And let everyone know concerning
The decisions that you will make,
And the things that you have done
Yours is the world for you to take
And - which is more - You'll be a man my son!

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