A Fair Day's Work
"The year 1989 is over. Thank you, Lord," I said to myself. I then realized that I had momentarily slipped into a cynical mood. Many of us who should know better fall into this trap occasionally. And it's no wonder. Endlessly, we hear stories of quick-buck artists, crooked consultants, payola, graft, undercover deals, insurance scams, misleading rumors, humiliating marketing gimmicks, etc.
We hear such stories so often we become accustomed, frequently completing the tale before the end is told. In such a mind-set, it's easy to feel like a distrustful curmudgeon. With such an attitude, it's easy to believe falsehoods and distrust truth. Even close friends are looked upon with suspicion.
Cynics have always been with us, and some have developed a philosophy of skepticism into an art, if not a science. It certainly isn't new. Philosopher Antisthenes founded the Cynic School after serving as a student of Socrates in the 3rd century B.C. Diogenes, a pupil of Antisthenes, later founded the Cynic Sect in Athens. Even Shakespeare immortalized Timon, the Greek misanthrope and soured cynic, in his literature. And when it's bill-paying time, we all understand why Carlyle called economics the "dismal science."
I had these vinegary thoughts as I drove into a restaurant parking lot recently to meet with a friend for a late dinner. This was January, and the afternoon's rain had now frozen, plating the streets with a sheet of ice. The parking lot was crowded and sitting on a sharp slope. In scouting the area, I noticed a vacant space --a tight spot, but available. As I approached the area, the wheels spun and my car waddled aimlessly. Doubts arose whether I could maneuver into this berth without scraping a fender or two.
Fortunately, help arrived. A young man approached my car and carefully guided me into the small space. It was quite an effort against the icy slope, with several nervous minutes of slipping, sliding, twisting, and retrying. Finally, I was parked squarely and with all the paint on my car's fenders intact, as well as that of the neighboring cars.
I knew I could not have done this alone. So, as I exited the car, I gratefully thanked the young man and handed him $5 for his help. To my surprise, he politely but firmly refused to accept the tip. "This is what I get paid for," he said, as he hurried off to help another driver during this subzero night.
As I entered the restaurant, I was no longer a cynic. This young fellow's attitude reminded me that there are enough of his caliber in this world to far outweigh the chiselers. Most of us just want to deliver a fair day's work for a fair day's pay. So mote it be.
From, with modification, Schafer RC: Dynamic Chiropractic, Viewpoint: The State of Our Art, A Fair Day's Work. Early 1990s.
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