Thursday, March 13, 2008

About my guilt

I just said to Greg tonight, in reaction to a story I'd seen online about short people being more prone to jealousy, that, while I've certainly felt jealous once in a while, it's not a driving force in my life: I think we all know someone whose motivation IS the green monster. But then, I'm tall--maybe that explains it.

And, not being Jewish or Catholic, guilt is not part of my oeuvre of functional emotion, not too much (and yes, I realize I've just evoked stereotypes of several sociological groups).

The things I'm jealous of, or feel guilty about, are pretty pedestrian:
Being over 50, I am officially jealous of young bodies, because I miss mine, and did not appreciate it when I had it. However, I am thankful for having any body at all.

I am jealous of people who live in the Midwest -- like me -- who get to go to Florida in the winter. I get to go sometimes, too, so I can't waste too much time on this.

I am jealous of people who can buy any book they want, but since I can go to the library and get any book I want, so what?

I'm not jealous of rich people, because they often are just as screwed up as the rest of us; I'm not jealous of blonds, nor females with big boobs, because I just don't care; nor am I jealous of people who can eat anything they want, because sooner or later that will catch up with them.

Now guilt: I feel a little guilty when I eat the last cookie. I feel guilty when I buy that pair of shoes I really could and should live without, but can't resist, then later they look so cute I forget I felt guilty, especially if I got them on sale. I feel guilty when I go in the grocery and forget my cloth grocery bag. (Which is almost every time.) I'm guilty of reading (or computing) when I should be cleaning or doing other chores; please note I said I'm guilty OF these things, but I don't feel guilty ABOUT them. I don't feel guilty about not going to church, because I work at church, nor skipping my doctor checkups, because I got those caught up, or watching too much TV--oh wait. Never mind.

And I was thinking about all this because of this guy: Eliot Spitzer. Soon to be former governator of New York.

And just go take a look at his wife: she is having one bad day.

Are we there yet? Here are people we might understandably be jealous of: Harvard lawyer types, big successful careers, high profile jobs, possible presidential aspirations, beautiful family. Maybe I wish I had an Ivy League degree (but I don't wish it, IPFW). Maybe I wish I had the confidence to run for public office, and hear people tell me confidentially I'm Oval Office material. Maybe I'd like to have everyone holding me up as an example of integrity in business and politics.

Or maybe I don't, because, who wants to be just one more couple standing behind a microphone with a galaxy of lights shining in your eyes and a forest of microphones pointed at you, and one person looks so sick they might be about to throw up, and the other person looks, as my mom would say, like death warmed over? (See story referenced above for several examples.)

How many more of these scenes must we be submitted to on CNN? 'Cause I'm thinking they should just replay the same one over and over and dub in the apology for the specific sin(s) committed. You know, just make their lips move, like the sea captain at the beginning of SpongeBob.

We all screw up, and we all feel bad, and the next day we get up, put our shoes on (mine may be cuter than yours), and go on.

Thank God: When most of us screw up, we don't end up bawling on national TV about it. And looking like crap to boot.
How about you? Guilty, or jealous?

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