One of my favorite subjects is astronomy. It’s something I learned very little about in high school or college. I’ve jumped into it since then. I’ve read two of Brian Greene’s books. You can watch “The Elegant Universe” on PBS. I’ve read “Cosmos” from Carl Sagan. The leaders of my youth demonized Sagan, so I always thought he was equatable with Satan. They share all the same letters in their names except one. But now I know they feared him, because his ideas opposed theirs directly.
This show called Cheat Sheet is available online to watch:
I saw this story over at Hemant Mehta’s blog. It’s basically about a guy who finds a wallet on the street. He doesn’t take any of the cash in it (which there seems to be plenty). Instead he finds a license and an address, returns the wallet to its owner without pilfering its contents. The owner praises god that there are still good people in the world. Grateful owner introduces the stranger to his family. After an awkward moment of the guy admiting he’s not a believer and, in fact, atheist, the family gets super awkward. And he anxiously leaves.
The stranger asks the question, “Lesson of the story? You tell me? From hero to zero answering what she wanted to know.”
If this story really happened the way the guy said it did, then the burden of responsibility was on the stranger. At least give them a smile and a kind word, like, “I just wanted to show that goodness is universal.” Or “See, we’re not so bad. How about a hug?”
In the book “Haunted” by Chuck Palaniuk, he talked about the French notion of “l’esprit de l’escalier” (translated: “the spirit of the stairway”). It’s the idea that when at a party, the response to something talked about doesn’t arrive in the noggin until on the way down the stairs leaving the party. By then it’s too late.
I’ve been trying to be more mindful. I don’t want to proselytize strangers. But I want to put myself in more situations to admit to someone that good people can be from all walks. Continue reading “L’esprit de l’escalier”→