This I Believe

Benjamin - Cincinnati, Ohio
Entered on May 10, 2007

Finding the Good in the Mundane

I believe in the Golden Rule. Sure, it’s an old rule, but it’s a good one. Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. The beauty of the rule is, it never actually tells you to be nice to people. Magically when you begin to imagine how, in a perfect world, you’d like be treated, being a good person is something that just comes along naturally.

I believe in the inherent “good” in all people. I don’t assume this world is uncaring; that the philanthropic masses have tumbled into malevolence. I don’t believe in the “dog-eat-dog,” in the “everyone’s looking out for themselves,” or in the “rat race.” We’re all good people on the inside; we’re just busier now than we used to be.

We’ve all become so busy, in fact, that we forgot we have to sit down and enjoy life every once in a while. We now carry expensive little gadgets on us at all time that ensure we are never too far out of reach. These devices can take pictures, and play songs whenever our friends call us… and ensure that we will never have a moment’s privacy anymore.

People watch too much television nowadays. The reality they know all too well is the world broadcasted daily, on 150 channels, in hi-def. The world on the screen can be a far less jovial place. Crime and bad news are exemplified on television, because they pay the bills; because, let’s face it, they’re damned interesting. If all you see of the world is the 11 o’clock news, then by God, Earth can seem like a very scary place.

I work in a restaurant, and that’s a perfect place to enact my philosophy of life. There isn’t a more paranoid, narcissistic group around than restaurant employees. Servers in particular must enact a nightly ritual in which they pay the bartender for concocting all of the customers’ alcoholic drinks. During one random, forgettable night, I realized I had not paid my bartender, and the night was coming to a close. I hunted him down for a few minutes until the manager informed me he had left for the night. Now the understood rule of the trade is, if a bartender leaves the store and forgets you didn’t pay him, the money is yours. This didn’t sit right with me. I had heard he was going out after work, and I knew which bar he was going to. I drove to the bar, gave him his money, and walked to the door. He stopped to ask if I had driven out all the way just to give him his money, to which I said, “Yes.” He was floored; imagine some guy with an opportunity to keep a few extra bucks, but instead he had the audacity to do the right thing. The bartender said I was “nice;” I’d like to think I was just normal.

I believe everyone has a little good in them.