Opinion: Ethical times
Because I am originally a New Yorker, I still read the “New York Times” every Sunday morning. My favorite column is “The Ethicist,” written by several well-known philosophers —not well known to me, but apparently very well known to other accomplished philosophers, although I’m not sure what philosophers ever accomplish.
Here’s an example of a topic: You are the last to leave a restaurant during a rainstorm but the last umbrella in the hat check room is not yours. Should you take it? Yes, they actually debated this. I am sad to say, drier heads did not prevail.
Here’s how I’d answer some common questions:
Q: When I travel, I always take the little bottle of shampoo out of the bathroom and put it in my suitcase. I was feeling guilty about this, but the clerk said the company that makes this stuff expects people to do that. That’s why they put their name on the product. Recently, I picked up a Sony TV and a General Electric hair dryer from the Westin. Should I stop?
A: Only after you cross the border.
Q: I gave my friend money to buy me a lottery ticket. He went to Village Pantry and bought 10 for himself and one for me. He gave one to me that night. The next day, a ticket he was holding won $25,000,000. I think that was my ticket and he got them mixed up in his pocket. Should I confront him?
A. Assuming you can afford to fly to Fiji … and assuming you can get past his four bodyguards on his 300-foot yacht, sure, why not?
Q: Every time I go to a restaurant I steal one knife. I’ve been doing this for about 50 years and now at the age of 83 I have over 3,500 knives in my house. I feel like I should stop. Do you agree?
A. Absolutely! At your age, it’s time to start on forks.
Q: For the last five years I have been having fun with my neighbor. Every day when he goes to work, I mow his lawn. We were at a party together and he was telling me how this is driving him crazy because his lawn never grows. I almost busted a gut. Should I tell him?
A. What, and ruin this perfect practical joke? Hey, here’s my address. Wouldn’t it be funny if my car never got dirty?
Q: I fill my SUV up with gas twice a week. There is this one gas station in town that must have a broken pump. I put in 20 gallons of gas and the meter says $4.00. It should say $40.00. I tried explaining this to the clerk but he just shrugs his shoulders and gives me change for my five. Where’s the crime?
A: Heck, where’s the gas station?
Q: I am a 16-year-old girl but look almost 40. As a result, I have been drinking beer, driving a car, and seeing X-rated movies all year. My boyfriend says this is illegal and I could get in very serious trouble. Do I need a lawyer?
A: No, a plastic surgeon.