Scruples

Often times, I look back at my life, my existence, and I try to see it from an objective view point. I look back at actions I’ve taken and try to decide if I’m generally been a good or a terrible person over the course of my life. I sometimes have to make concessions, like not counting the first 10 years of my life. Sure, that’s literally 1/3rd of the time I have been alive, but little kids are generally self centered morons. I mean, the times when I peed in people’s faces while they were changing my diaper and then laughed? Hey…come on. As soon as I was smart enough to realize what that did to other people, I stopped. And sure, some people might say that the tween and teen years are times when people are supposed to make mistakes, but I’ve made some decisions in those years that I still live by for better or worse, so I’m counting them rather than be selective. I’m trying to be objective, y’know?

My decision on whether or not I’m a good person…like a lot of things, my answer depends on my mood. There are times when I’m with my family, who, through my admittedly biased eyes, are just the most wonderful people I know. I spend time with them, and I think to myself “I must be a good person, because I can’t imagine why else these people would continue to associate with me if I wasn’t.” I think back on times I’ve put off my own stuff to drive people across town. Times I woken up in the middle of the night to help people with their problems. My moments of selflessness, and I say “Yeah…I’m a decent guy.”

Other times, all I can do is think back on things that literally haunt me. Times when I’m driving down the street and I remember something exceptionally cruel I said to a classmate in junior high. Saying something out of turn to friends I no longer talk to, wondering if that was the turning point. If I took it back, would we still be friends? Or times when I skipped out on appointments to get rest. I prefer to talk behind people’s backs rather than say things to their face. I know people consider it rude, but I feel that sometimes, you want to get things off my chest and you’d rather not hurt anybody’s feelings. I say to myself “These aren’t things good people do.”

I’ve had friends tell me that I’m a nice guy. Maybe I should believe them. But then I think about all of the terrible people out there who have sycophantic yes-men telling them their every move is divine and right. I think about the kind of people who blindly defend morally reprehensible actions behind the veil of “social justice.” I think about how easy it is to get random stranger on the internet to agree with you and say “Good point, bro.” I can’t rely on other people to tell me if I’m a decent person or not.

So there I was, lying down, staring at the wall, pondering if I was an alright guy. I thought about my own failures in the job market. I thought about the multitude of scummy people I’ve known throughout my life who were successful. I thought about how much easier it would’ve been if I had no scruples at all, and was willing to lie to people’s faces and treat others like they were less than people, how much better off I’d be financially. I came to an inarguable fact that I have scruples. Granted, there are plenty of successful people with scruples…but that’s besides the point. I have them. I can’t be that bad of a person if I have scruples, right?

 

…then again, it’s entirely possible to feel guilty about things and still go around doing completely reprehensible things.

I still think I can’t be that bad of a guy, because my conscience always nags me.

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