Tired of Gray…..

So something from this morning has been pounding me in the back of the head and won’t let me be until I put it down on paper/screen.

I am plagued with Black and White vision.  There is nothing wrong with my eyes, it’s my heart. I see things in right or wrong.

It is a horrible disease in that it makes life 1,000,000 times harder than it has to be.

People talk about gray areas. I have no knowledge of gray.  I can pretend to not know whether something is right or wrong…and I can even convince myself that something WRONG is right….but I have a conscience with a mega-phone…and after a while it will break me down and make me acknowledge that it is, in fact, wrong!

This morning I was told, by my employer, “I’m not telling you to lie because I know it goes against your ethics! But…blah blah blah” I stopped listening after that…

My ethics?

MY ethics?

Why the hell aren’t they YOUR ethics?

I’ve been told by strangers and people I love, all my life, “You can’t always tell the truth about everything…”

My employer has told me before, “If you are 100% honest about everything in this business, you will never be successful”

Am I an Angel? Nope…Of course I have lied about things in my lifetime. And I knew it was wrong when I did it.

THAT is the biggest problem I see with people in my life…they know it is wrong, yet they dismiss it as necessary.

I made a conscious effort, about 10 years ago now, that I would not allow myself to willfully let something bad happen if it was reasonably within my power to stop it from happening. Just purposely doing the RIGHT thing, especially when the wrong thing is FAR more convenient.

I know what you are thinking, “Wow buddy…sure did set yourself up for failure on that one.”

Let me illustrate what I mean:

Last Christmas, the family and I are at a Seasonal Light Show in City Park. My daughter is in a dancing school and they were performing there.  My Wife had gone in with my Daughter and my Son and I are waiting in a LONG line of people to get into the park and meet up with them.  As we shuffle along in line, my Son (who is 6) reaches down to the ground and picks up a wad of money.  “Look Daddy. I found some money on the ground.”

I took it from him and looked through it.  It was 7 dollars, in one dollar bills.

I tapped on the shoulder of the man in front of me and asked, “Did you drop this?”

“No,” He said, “not mine”

It might have been someone all the way up at the front of the line but I couldn’t imagine it would have been passed over by everyone else before it was picked up by us.

My Son was watching me intently, curious to see what was going to happen.

I looked over and saw two NOPD officers talking and standing next to the ticket booth. They were only about 4 feet away and the line had stopped, so I walked up to them.

“Excuse me officers. We found this on the ground and I don’t know who it belongs to.  I’d like to turn it in to you in case someone comes looking for it.”

The policeman looked at the roll of money (and at me) like I was offering him a lump of shit.

“How much is it?” he asked with a sour expression on his face.

“About 7 bucks” I said.

He shook his head and chuckled, “Man..I don’t want that..just keep it.”

At first i wasn’t sure I heard him, “I’m sorry?”

“It’s 7 bucks. Just keep it or put it back where you found it.”

Son was watching me now.  And I was getting a little upset.

“Well, I was thinking someone might come looking for it. I really would like it if you would take it. It doesn’t belong to me.”

Now the cop made a poster-child-for-annoyed look on his face and held his hand out.

I placed the money in it and turned around, hearing him say under his breath, “damn it.”

When I related the story to a friend of mine who is a Detective, he said he was probably pissed because he had to write a report on it now.

“Tough shit!” I said. It did not matter.

You see, in my mind. That money could have been pocket change for a millionaire OR it could have been a child’s savings of allowance for several months. One thing was clear.

I had a little 6 year old boy watching my every move and it didn’t belong to me.

IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO…NOT THE MOST CONVENIENT!  and I want him to understand that you CAN do what is right.  That you must make every effort possible to do it….even when it seems hopeless, unnecessary or stupid.


The point of this post I guess is to say….That cop saw the same Gray area that most of the rest of the world sees. He saw something I don’t. And something I want my children not to see. Yet there are people from all sides screaming that YOU MUST SEE IT! IT IS NECESSARY TO SURVIVE!!!

I don’t believe that is true.  And I’m tired of being told I have to be dishonest to succeed at my career…at raising my children…or at life.

So that’s my creed. If it is within my power to do the right thing, I must. Period. end of discussion.

There are developing chapters in my life where this is going to be a key factor.

Choosing the wrong path is not an option.



About Eric

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