Stop looking out for number one

It’s way too easy to be a jerk.

I was thinking about this the other day at the grocery store, seeing the parking lot littered with carts left beside people’s cars and the random items left on random spots on the shelves. I would find it depressing, if I also didn’t find it infuriating.

I’m not sure where this train of thinking comes from, the idea of “forget everyone else, I am the most important person in the world,” sort of attitude, I think, stems from people just being lazy. It’s simple to go through life without wondering if your actions are going to bother/hurt/inconvenience other people and it’s downright comforting to just going about your day as if you were the only person in the world.

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Considering the feelings of other people, or even just considering them at all, is time consuming and will potentially shed some light on just how little you care about other people, which might make some folks uneasy.

Am I one to talk? Not really. I don’t like people and try to avoid them at all costs. If someone I don’t know or care for speaks to me, I assure you they know pretty quickly whether or not I care to keep the conversation going. Is it rude? Possibly, but I try to keep things as civil as possible. I’ll accurately answer a question but I am not about to start small talk with someone from whom I don’t want hear.

With that, there are certain social contracts I will honour. When it comes to the aforementioned grocery store, I will put my cart back in the… cart thingy. I will put items back where they belong, even if they are on the other side of the store. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. No one needs to go out of their way just because of me.

Does this make me a superhero? No. My cape and super powers handle that for me. I’m just trying not to be a tool. Actually, that’s not the right way to put that. I’m trying to do the right thing. Not being a tool is just a nice benefit of doing the right thing.

Obviously this makes me a better person than all of you (false) and not only should you all do exactly as I say (double false), you should use my life as a shining beacon of hope for what humanity might one day be evolved enough to become (triple dog false). (Seriously, there was no truth to the previous statement. I am nothing more than a cautionary tale of a life wasted. Seriously, stop listening to me and stop reading this column… riiiiight…. now… No? Still reading? Fine, I’ll do what I can to get you on the right path. But you’re going to have to stop coming to me for answers. Like I said, I’m not Superman… if anything I am a much less rich Batman… possibly closer to Nightwing but definitely not Robin.)

Anyway… my foolishness aside, please just follow the Wheaton rule of don’t be a jerk. Actually, the Wheaton rule is worded a little differently but I can’t use that word here so jerk will have to suffice. I understand how nice things would be if we didn’t have to consider other people, and really, there is nothing out there forcing us to do so. I just think life would be a lot better if everyone stopped only looking out for number one.

I’m done now.

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Antigonish native Matt Draper has been a photographer, reporter and columnist for The Reporter since 2003.