Moral Shower

Sometimes I wish a thing such as a “moral shower” existed, some combination of water and magical soap that could remove the sense of moral taint and utter revulsion. Today is one of those times. I’ve got moral slime all over me and I can’t get it off. 

It started when I bought a used bicycle on Craigslist.

A neighbor drove me out to nice suburban neighborhood in Leander, TX to pick up the bike. The seller was a man in his fifties who walked with a cane. From his, “Don’t ya know” Scandinavia-influenced accent, I pegged him as originally from in the upper mid-West . As I rolled the bike down the sidewalk, I made the obligatory remark that he had a nice house. 

That’s when my nightmare began. [My non-verbalized thoughts at the time appear in brackets]

“It’s alright”, he said. [It’s a much nicer house than my rented duplex.] “We had a really nice two story in Georgetown [then way nicer than my home] but we had to sell it and buy this one after I got injured at work.”

“That’s rough”, I said. [Here I could readily sympathize having seen up close and personal the effects on a family of job loss due to medical reasons. ]

“Yeah,” he said, following down the sidewalk, “I was a machinist at 3M. I went to work one morning, some other guy messed up and I woke up with cracked ribs and a broken back!” [Not literally broken because he could still walk with a cane.]

“I wanted to sue 3M but all the lawyers I talked to said that Texas is a Right-to-Work state and that  no one can sue their employer.”[Not true. You can sue but you have to meet a high bar for willful negligence.]

“Then they sent me to a worker’s comp doctor [I’m guessing after the major injuries healed] because my back still hurt. They looked at me and said that nothing was wrong.” [The infamous, soft tissue damage that can’t be measured.]

“I finally went to another doctor and he said I had a problem in my neck and that if I had come to him in the first place, they could’ve fixed it! [One doctor’s opinion.] I talked to four lawyers and they all said that you can’t sue a worker’s comp doctor!” [Kind of true. Turns out that when the government foots the bill for malpractice insurance, even indirectly, it doesn’t think much of malpractice suits. Pain and suffering is capped and punitive damages are not allowed. This means lawyers will only accept cases of clear malpractice. Since no lawyer would touch his case, he probably wasn’t the victim of malpractice.]

All this time I am easing the bicycle to the car and trying to do so in a manner that won’t look rude.

“Sometimes I wish I’d never come to Texas,” [Of course, our lack of unions and extensive regulation is the reason the jobs that drew him here existed in the first place.]

At this point I’m a little unnerved and annoyed by the guy but not too much. He seems very passive and whining but I am willing to reserve judgment. He might have had it as rough as he claims.

Then after we got the bike and the car and were trying to find a way to escape short of diving through the windows and peeling rubber, things got really ugly.

“It’s like I was telling my friend, well ex-friend, I suppose.” At this point, my neighbor made the mistake of making slight “oh” sound and the guy was off. 

“Yeah, I don’t talk to him anymore. We worked together for ten years [another machinist I guess] but his wife worked [I guess whiners didn’t] so they lived off her income and he invested his in a 401k and the like. [Wow, impressive. Assuming they each made an income of around $40,000 a year, they reduced their lifestyle from an $80,000 one to a $40,000 one just so they could save. Most people won’t do that.]

“Eventually, he stopped working and just managed his investments.” [So, the guy worked and saved for what, ten years or more to save up, say, $400,000? The ‘just’ showed that whiner had never tried to manage money.]

“About six months ago, he was complaining about time he spent ‘working’. Can you imagine complaining about having to spend an hour a week or whatever typing on a computer?” [No, but I can imagine complaining about the hours of boring research a person has to do before they actually click a buy or sell order on the computer. I would also complain about the sheer anxiety of making an investment and then watch it roll up and down for months or years. That’s hell’s roulette wheel.]

“Then he was complaining that his taxes would soon go up.” [Presumably after the Democrats won the election.]

I said, if I had that much money I would be proud and glad to pay the taxes.  He said he’d send me the bill then. I said that if someone gave me the money, I’d happily pay the taxes!” [Yes, when you win the lottery you don’t care as much if the government takes a third or more.]

“He said, ‘I worked for that money’ and I said, well, you could only save that money because your wife worked. He said he wouldn’t have married an uneducated woman who didn’t want to work! I hung up and haven’t spoken to him since.”

He looked at me and shook his head, “Can you believe some people?”

I replied, honestly, although ironically, that, no, I couldn’t believe some people and we drove away. 

I felt befouled by this whining man because of the utter selfishness he evinced.  Most people who support soak the “rich” policies don’t actually watch “rich” people sacrifice to get what they have. This jerk, however, watched his friend sacrifice over many years to get his nest egg.

By his own telling, his friend’s family forwent hundreds of thousands of dollars in immediate consumption so that they could save and invest. While other families bought bigger houses, fancier cars, electronics and all the other goodies you could blow $400,000 dollars on, the friend made do with less and invested it so other people could have jobs, houses, cars etc. While other wives did not work outside the home, his did and lost all the benefits not doing so brings.

Whiner watched his friend make choices and sacrifices over the years but now can only feel envy and resent that his friend has more than he. He thinks his friend selfish for wanting to enjoy that which he sacrificed for.

Whiner is the left-of-center mentality in a nutshell. This guy is going to vote for Obama and higher taxes on his friend and feel no shame in doing so.  All they see in the friend is a person with money. They don’t care how he got it or what he sacrificed to get it. He’s got something they want and they’re going to take it. 

In the end, its just ugly, mean and selfish but they feel good about themselves for acting that way. They stand there smiling at their self image of their own righteousness and ‘compassion’ as they kick others into the dirt and take the fruits of their labor.

That is why I need a moral shower.

8 thoughts on “Moral Shower”

  1. Oh, Shannon.
    You haven’t worked in an architect’s office specializing in government contracts. If I needed a moral shower every time I hear people whose entire life is result of capitalism complain of it, envy the rich and advocate expropriations – I’ll have no time working. I’ll spend all my waking hours hosing away the slime.

  2. There’s going to be a lot more of that in a few more years. My expectation is that probably two-thirds of the Boomers are not remotely adequately prepared for retirement and a good portion of the remaining third are only half-heartedly preparing. The tenth or so of us that are actually on track will become the focus of a huge amount of resentment when it becomes apparent how comfortably we are living on our own savings – ie, without Social Security. I have friends who are well along in the process of becoming whiners like the one Shannon encountered.

  3. The moral advantages of a society that sees envy (and pride) as sins seems clear. If we don’t want a religious definition of sin, we might go with a more Greek definition of the “good” – or the sense of humility other traditions define.

    Envy destroys friendships like this one, leads to appropriation of the wealth, but it also harms the person feeling it. Does this guy sound happy?

    And, of course, I feel the green passion plenty often myself; this is human nature. But a part of human nature it wouldn’t hurt me or others & certainly policy to restrain.

    On the other hand, given the ages of these guys and the impossibility of much changing in their lives, probably his friend could have constrained himself from the remarks about wives.

  4. > Sometimes I wish a thing such as a “moral shower” existed, some combination of water and magical soap that could remove the sense of moral taint and utter revulsion.

    Ah, milady… you’re not the one who needs the shower, though.

    And him, well, there’s no lye powerful enough to remove the taint.

  5. This is a problem with democracy remarked by Aristotle 2300 years ago. It empowers whiners and parasites to harm those better than tnemselves.

  6. During the Carter years oif stagflation people were complaining about “price gouging” when eggs went over $1.00/carton. (fond memories). In response the late Russell Long told the story of a friend of his complaining about high egg prices; “Why, I’d only charge around forty cents/doz,” he exclaimed. To which Long replied: “If I didn’t have any eggs, I’d charge 40 cents/doz too!”

    Trust me, this attitude abounds. One sees it in the “obscene profits” rant against oil companies. People forget that before the GOP took back Congress the Clinton administration was deep in the process of proposing legislation for the taxation of pension
    assets and the cash value of life insurance policies. It will ALL come back as sure as the sun rises in the East, Bears do it in the woods, and a certain part of the anatomy of dogs is red.

  7. So,

    I wonder if O and the Dems will look at all that moolah the well-prepared boomers have stashed away, and say:

    They really are very selfish, and we should spread the wealth around.

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