Modern Family – I love this show. It just makes me laugh. In one episode, one of the kids, Luke, puts out a fire and receives a medal as a result. You find out quickly that it was a fire Luke started. My favorite line is Manny’s (Luke’s cousin), when he’s talking with his mom: “I sure won’t miss seeing Luke and that stupid medal. I play by the rules. Where’s my medal?”
And there’s the crux of the matter. Most of us probably try to play by the rules. Is there a reward for that? Not really. The worst is when I’m driving, and I see people flying through red lights or going through stop signs. Granted, I am not a perfect driver. But I watch these people and think, “Don’t people even care anymore?” I’m sure it’s more than that – people are in a hurry, people are busy, and they can’t be bothered to follow basic driving rules. It’s one thing when you’re editing a manuscript – the author may not understand the rules of grammar or how to cite a source. But shouldn’t people know that a stop sign or a red light means “stop”?
Then there’s the “What do you do when no one is looking?” rule. If I find money in a store, I will return it to customer service, if possible. I’ll never forget the time I got money from the grocery store, and I accidentally forgot to take it with me from the ATM slot. Of course, no one handed it in. Some people think you’re winning the lottery when you find money, but not me. I’ve lived from paycheck to paycheck at times, and it’s no fun when you realize you’ve lost some of your cash.
Finally, what if doing something good entails a little trouble on your part? We received a package from UPS before Christmas. It was obviously a gift, but not one we had ordered. I examined the address, and it was the same number, and the same street name, but for the town next to us. First I took the easy way out: I called UPS and reported it, but it wasn’t picked up by the evening. So I called the cell phone number on the package, and I met the woman at a local shop to give her the package. It turned out to be a Christmas gift for her husband. I’m sure others would have kept the package, but it if were me, I’d want the same courtesy. Just because someone else makes a mistake doesn’t necessarily mean the intended receiver needs to be punished.
I’m sure we all wish we could get a medal for “following the rules.” What’s the one thing that really bugs you?