Ethics Lesson

January 18, 2013

Me: Here’s an ethics lesson for you: Yesterday before a doctor’s appointment I bought a platter of hot deli food at a grocery on 14th Street: meatballs, a spicy chicken wing, lasagna, and carrots. My appointment wasn’t for another half hour, see, and eating in the doctor’s waiting room is impolite because everyone else has to smell it. So I needed a place to eat this food. Waiting until later and re-heating the food was not an option I was willing to entertain. If I were bring this food home, you and your scavenger mother would be all over it. And I wanted to eat it, it was my food. So I walked down 5th Ave. and entered a different grocery. I went up to the dining area and sat down at a table. What I am saying here son is that I bought deli food at a grocery without tables and chairs and then walked to another grocery with a dining area to eat my food. This second grocery was more like a bodega that happens to have a small dining area than an actual grocery store. I have a feeling not many people choose to eat dinner there. The dining area was empty and quiet; there wasn’t even Muzak playing. I ate while emailing old girlfriends, don’t tell Mom.

As I was finishing dinner, an large bearded man sat down at a nearby table and started eating. He could have passed as a homeless person. I may be eating hot deli food at this bodega, but at least I’m not him, I thought. Could be worse, I could be this guy. But here’s the thing: I could imagine him responding, “At least I’m eating food I bought here. I didn’t transport hot deli food across the street and eat it at a separate bodega, a bodega I didn’t even buy food at.” His food even looked more appetizing than mine. For a few minutes last night, he was doing better than me.

I have purchased snacks and sandwiches at the second bodega before, OK. If my case were to go before some sort of non-criminal ethics jury, I would hope they would not find me guilty of being unethical. My only crime was being a guy with hot food and nowhere to eat it. What do you think? Was I being unethical?

Little Ann: I don’t care about this.

Me: I’m trying to teach you how the world works. You have to care.

Little Ann: I can’t change how I feel about your shitty story. If you think I can, then you need a lesson about how the world works, Pep.

Me: You might be right, you little orphan asshole. Come here.

[They hug.]

Me: You teach me something everyday.

Little Ann: I wish that man who ate dinner where he bought the food was my dad and I wish you were a homeless guy who always eats dinner at bodegas.

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