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Chatterbox: To do or not to do


In life, we are all called upon to do all kinds of things. From playing in the sandbox to how we behave at the office, to being a world citizen, we perform. How we perform is a whole other ball of wax.

There’s a line in the movie “Burlesque” that Cher utters as only she can. The rich guy, who purports to be a nice fellow, says he’s not hurting anyone, but, “… when I see something I like, I have to have it … been that way since I was a kid.” She replies, “That must have made you very popular in the sandbox.”

What we do in life, why and how we do it, is everything. It’s all we create, all we’ll be remembered for and all we leave behind. There are people who only, or usually, do what is best for them. That usually doesn’t improve too many things much, and, though they may get what they want, they leave scars, or at least a sour taste, behind.

Of course, none of us is singularly to blame for our behavior. When we emerge from the womb, someone takes on the responsibility of showing us around the planet, teaching us how to use a spoon, and training us to behave in a certain way. Granted, some people come into the world with the deck already stacked against them or with some impediment to solid mental health, and that’s legitimate. Parents, guardians and what we call “the breaks” are responsible for the rest of it. We all also gather plenty of baggage as we go along. What we choose to do with it, well, that’s our choice, and all through life we make those choices, monumental and inconsequential.

Being assertive can be positive or not. Being aggressive doesn’t have anywhere near as much gray area as assertive. Then, there’s straight-up, bad form. People can be basically good, yet still put themselves first regardless of right, wrong or obligations, and that’s never attractive.

When we do stuff we know we shouldn’t, or don’t do stuff we know we should, especially for reasons which hold less water than cheesecloth, we usually know we’re wrong. The flip side is that when we sacrifice something to do what we know we should, we usually know we’re right. In both cases, so does everyone else.

Chatterbox touches on politics often and talks about getting our own information from the most neutral, thorough, and reliable sources possible, then making our own decision. Hopefully, we always go with what does the greatest good for the largest number of people. Making the altruistic choice isn’t always the best choice for us personally, but we know it is and that it’s the one we should make, acting for the greater good. We aren’t always happy, but we’ll never be sorry.

These types of decisions are made repeatedly and daily, albeit on a less critical level. When we have to make some personal sacrifice to do what we know is right for someone or something else whenever possible at all, we’ll never regret doing the right thing.

What is the right thing? Well, when on a fence, the general rule is that the better choice is usually the harder one. Whether the arena is political, familial, or platonic, that which we want to do, going where we want to be, and getting what we want to have, usually divides personal preference from what is right. That which serves the next person better is very usually the better choice. Whether or not we have the magnanimousness or discipline to do the right thing is, actually, purely our choice.

Each of us has options, every day, to think past our self, what we want, need and will do. These choices aren’t always easy, but are, almost always, very clear … and that, unfortunately for our more selfish side, is the hardest part.

Chatterbyte: As promised, keeping readers abreast: The repair work on 202 past 313 and a key route to Doylestown Hospital seems to have been completed. Nothing was repaved, just strip filled, and driving it is still like driving over railroad ties. The pothole at the end of the 202 exit ramp at West State Street is filled, not well but done. The entrance ramp from West State onto 202N has not been touched and still might cause dentures to fall out. Drivers are still using its shoulder, which also had, for a long time, shown intense wear. Sorry.