Life is so full of Little Ethical Decisions.
Nothing that will change the world, you understand. Nothing like whether to use the atomic bomb on our next military adventure (Dumbfoundingly, some do consider it.)
Nothing like whether to supply condoms to young people or just preach abstinence. Nothing like whether to use animals in medical tests to help cure Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s. Nope, nothing so important as those.
And nothing unimportant either, like which shoe to put on first in the morning or which half of your sandwich to eat first. (I always cut mine unevenly and start with the small side.)
Nope, I’m talking about the kind of decision I had to make on the spot recently, when MHTB and I went back to his 50th college reunion. An elderly professor (by elderly I mean he had 20 years on us, which still makes us middle-aged, right?) remembered I had sung in the college choir. Naturally I was flattered, when he said fervently, “And I will never ever forget how gloriously you sang the solo in ‘Beautiful Savior!’ “
The only problem was this: I had sung several solos in that choir (oh, certainly all of them well enough to be remembered 50 years later!), but never the solo in “Beautiful Savior.” In fact it was an alto solo, and, as the signature number for the choir, it was gloriously sung by a succession of excellent soloists.
However, none of them was ever me.
Little Ethical Decision coming up. Should I tell him that I had never sung that solo, and make him feel foolish, not to mention doing me out of a compliment I can always use?
You call it.
Several years ago we were guests at a dinner party with another family we had never met before. It was quite a nice dinner party, and there were two forks at each place. The lovely little pre-teen across the table looked dubiously at the table-setting and then asked her dad, who was next to her, “Which fork do I start with?”
He told her the wrong one.
Little Ethical Decision coming up: should I correct him and make him look like an idiot and me like an over-bearing know-it-all? Or keep my mouth closed and allow her to mature into a beautiful, delightful, very sweet, wrong-fork-using young woman?
You call it.
This spring a robin built a nest on our front-porch light. Don’t ask me why. Any robin with an ounce of common sense would have noticed while she was constructing the thing that there was a lot of disturbingly close traffic in and out every hour or so. Not to mention the very foundation of her home sometimes lighting up in a suspicious fashion at night.
But none of this fazed her at the time. The nest was too high to look into, but it was obvious that the usual egg-to-fledgling process was about to begin. So I taped off the light switch in the house and cautioned MHTB to to open the door VERY QUIETLY every time he went in or out. Still, she flew into the yard with a flurry of wings and a pathetic scolding cry every time we ventured out.
Little Ethical Decision coming up: should we use the back door until everybody grew up?
You call it.
Life is so full of these miniature moral milestones. Or, as somebody once said, “It’s s not the mountains you have to worry about in life; it’s the molehills.”
When you’re sharing an armrest in the theater with someone else, who gets to put his elbow on it first? And for how long? This is especially dicey when it’s a stranger; but even with a spouse you can significantly sour the hour by hogging the thing.
Are too many afternoon naps over the weekend unfair to the family? Or was Dagwood Bumstead right to regard it as a preventive health measure when he told Blondie, “Being lazy keeps me from getting tired?”
Some years ago, our phone number was similar to the number of a local lumber company. Once when we got home from a long vacation, I found a 3-week-old message on our answering machine with a large order for lumber and other items. It included her phone number. Should I have called her back at that late date and told her not to expect us to fill it any time soon?
We had a mouse problem for awhile, so I reluctantly put out mouse poison in the food cupboard. I stored the extra poison up in the bathroom closet for awhile, until I discovered one day that the mice had gotten into it.
Should I have moved it to a more protected spot?
Okay, I won’t keep you in suspense any longer.
I didn’t. I didn’t again. We used the front door and the robin family grew up to fly away happily after making a terrible mess on the front porch.
Take turns. One nap a weekend. I didn’t. And don’t be ridiculous.
I tell you, life is not easy.
Or is it just me?
Maude McDaniel is a Cumberland freelance writer. Her column appears on alternate Sundays in the Times-News.
Life is so full of Little Ethical Decisions.
- Maude McDaniel - Living
What’s missing in TV cooking shows? Lots
As if badmouthing cupcakes isn’t bad enough — I have to go on and say this: I think the plates of food that are winning so many of the prizes on the Food Channel are well — boring.
Only one person doesn’t like cupcakes
Cupcake-wise, the last four or five years have ballooned into a huge plus for almost any bakery that attempts them. (Not to mention the ballooning of many of the individuals involved.) You could call cupcakes the up-cakes of our time. Well, you could, but I guess only I would, and even then only in a column on a very good day, when everything else was go!
Some of us are ‘privy’ to certain information
Outhouses used to be an object of fascination for me. (and in fact I wrote a column about them in 2007. Since we have all forgotten that, I decided to write another one this week.
Just the right thing for very cold weather
Beginning the new year with a tasty recipe always seemed like a good idea to me. Unfortunately, in this day and age, it should be a healthy recipe, and I’m a little short of those. It turns out that the period I learned to cook in (the 40s and 50s) was not noted for its general nutritional values. Although, of course, we thought we were pretty much on course there. Later, the next generation informed us that we were way off track and what did we mean by raising them in such unwholesome habits. (Foodwise, I mean. They arrived at certain other unwholesome habits on their own.)
Who thinks these things up, anyway?
Here are some of the best jokes (of the email world) in 2013. Have a Happy New Year, as I plan to!
How do we compare with rest of the U.S.?
I recently purchased “The World Almanac 2014,” reviewing events of this year, energy, government, science and technology, past and present celebrities, U.S. and world history, nations of the world and sports.
Old houses and furnaces and a different world
Nine houses and four dorms. That’s how many places I have lived in my lifetime, and I remember each of them, well, not vividly but with great fondness. Not a one of them was a bad experience, in fact, good things happened at each place. (Bad things too, but that’s life.)
Things to watch out for as you get older
Time goes so fast these days that I have been known to put a couple of years on in less than six months. And it doesn’t even make sense, because theoretically time should go more slowly the older you get. Everything else does — why not time? But it doesn’t seem to work like that. Can someone explain to me please how yesterday got finished while I was still getting up.
Maude needs a rest, no bones about it
Mom couldn’t think of anything to write this week so I tried to be helpful. I suggested a column about bones, and one about sniffing versus licking, and one about the delightful appeal of female dogs compared to that of male dogs. (Even if you’re what Mom calls fixed, whatever that is.)
Age brings wisdom ... or strong opinions
Some places, I tell you, I will never go!
Mostly, I’m not talking places on the map, but places of expression, or position, or opinion. For instance, as you already know, I will never, never, never in my life say “Oh My God.” Unless, of course, OMG stands for Oh My Goodness, which I have used for years — hey, then I’m with you!
- More Maude McDaniel - Living Headlines
- What’s missing in TV cooking shows? Lots