Becky Says...

September 2003

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September 11

What I wrote on this anniversary day a year ago is still how I feel. My hope for the world is still intact. Oh, and so is the Constitution of the United States.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Just in case I might have forgotten that I'm feeling older than the hills about the birthday coming in November, I got an ad today from a company with the lovely opening line, "Dear Senior Citizens." It wanted to entice baby boomers to buy life insurance. Aside from the fact that the ad was shall we say impertinent, I already have plenty of life insurance, so that ad made it to the trash in short order.

Receiving that ad reminded me of something that happened a few months before my mother retired. She picked up her mail one afternoon, and saw that the bank had sent her something in an envelope which was bearing the phrase, "As you prepare to retire..." in very large print.

Mother was furious. She wasn't upset that people knew her age, but as she had not yet made a public announcement of her retirement plans, she didn't want her intentions broadcast all over town. Her anger was such that she had to talk to someone about it. It is good that this happened after the bank was closed for the day, and that the someone she could reach was me.

I let her rant for a few moments, then told her that the same bank had sent me an envelope bearing the same phrase. I went on to suggest that she look inside to see if her envelope also contained an ad for Individual Retirement Accounts.

Yes, she did thank me for preventing her making an ass of herself to the bank manager. And she told the story on herself a number of times.

September 10

I found out this afternoon that a college classmate of mine who went on to become an attorney was disbarred earlier this summer, after allegations against her were proved. The allegations involved misappropriation of client funds.

And I'm actually quite stunned. I wonder what in her mind was going on that made her think what she did was anything approaching correct behavior. I wonder what in her life was going on that led her to such desperate acts.

The preceeding paragraph is not meant to defend what she did. I am saying I wish I knew why.

I'm really tired of the rants of people who can only see the bad when someone has committed a crime. I learned a long, long time ago that we humans are all both saints and sinners. We carry within ourselves the ability to do both good and evil things. No one is strictly and exclusively evil, just as no one is strictly and exclusively good.

So what leads the bad side to the forefront? Some set of circumstances arises; some degree of stupidity takes control; some something happens that makes the person at that instant decide to do a wrong act.

What makes one person, in those instants of decision, act one way, while another person does the exact opposite? Or what makes a person who has followed the rules for a lifetime suddenly break them? Those questions are pretty much the core of my interest in psychology, and why I studied the subject.

The one thing of which I am convinced is what I said earlier: that we are both saints and sinners, capable of good and evil. And since that's the case, I plan to continue to acknowledge the good in people. Even when their choices and actions in certain situations make them look really bad.

Text © copyright 2000-2003 Becky