What Motivates Doing the Right Thing?

Last night, while I could not get to sleep. I was watching lawmakers on television suddenly deciding to say things that made sense, that would calm people down, and that might lead to a better society. I cynically thought to myself that they didn’t do this as long as pretending to be loyal to an incompetent leader was to their advantage. How did they know when it was time to do the right thing rather than the thing that they knew was wrong, but would keep them in power?

I’d have been scared, too. [Papers and other materials litter the chamber after House were evacuated as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)]

I don’t know. It could be fearing for their lives as their buddies tried to break into the building where all the non-President leadership of the US was hanging out. Perhaps the incompetent leader finally became so incompetent that there was no more pretending “He was just kidding, ya know, that’s how he is. What a card!”

Get off my lawn! I wouldn’t want to piss him off, whoever he is, but guessing from the moss, he may be Florida Man. Image by @AM__ARTISTRY via Twenty20

The lawmakers’ actions aren’t unfamiliar to many of us, I’m sure. Sometimes it’s so much easier to just ignore something that’s wrong, but more trouble to correct than to live with. To be honest, I’m doing that, myself, with a situation I know needs to be remedied, but I can’t figure out a way to do it without making a bunch of people angry, hurt, or put out. That can have dire consequences. Hmm. Yes, that’s just like the lawmakers’ dilemma.

I can tell those government representatives to just suck it up and not hand over the power to affect their courage to stand up for reason to the personality-cult members who voted for them. But then I’d need to tell myself to suck it up, too. I’m no better than they are. Probably a LOT of us give people who make a lot of noise and make life difficult the power to affect what we do.

Ya know, jerk, facial recognition software exists. You may experience…consequences.

But, we know what’s right. Perhaps the lawmakers are beginning to see that by treating a minority of loud and upset people with kid gloves, they are putting everyone else in danger, including themselves.

I just want to see some logical consequences start to occur. Jerks to jail, lawmakers remember why they were elected…reason. Civility. Back to dreaming.

Image by @annie29 via Twenty20.

Maybe. I don’t know. It’s a really confusing time.

Book Review: Unintended Consequences (and why you should write your memoirs)

This is a different type of book review. For one thing, you can’t buy the book anywhere; I was lucky enough to receive a copy from the author.

The book comes with a free bookmark Doug and Mary made for their COVID-postponed anniversary party.

You see, Unintended Consequences, by F. Douglas Martin, is a collection of stories of the life of one of my friends from my old church. He had been sharing stories from his life on Facebook for months, and I found myself eagerly anticipating each new post from Doug. I just loved the cast of characters who went through his life, the stories of his upbringing, and tales from his fascinating career working with fish around the world. Yep. Fish. It’s fascinating, and not just to other scientists or amateur naturalists!

Apparently, I was not the only one who loved his tales, so his friends and family finally convinced him to put the stories together in a book. His wife, Mary Hengstebeck, took on the task of compiling the MANY stories, putting them in some kind of order, and adding photographs and clip-art illustrations for each story. That was some kind of job!

Sure, the book’s obviously self published, and because it’s a collection of separate stories, there’s some repetition, but that doesn’t detract from the joy of reading the tales of the amazing stuff Doug got away with doing as a child, the hilarious folks he worked with in his life, and the love story between him and Mary.

It’s just the story of a normal person’s life, but I love it. I’m still reading it, but since I read the original stories, I feel competent to say the whole book is a pleasure, and a wonderful distraction from the news of the world right now.

What This Means for YOU

Doug is just a well-educated guy who tells good stories, not a famous celebrity or politician. Still, his memoirs are a joy to read. In the past couple of days, I’ve tried to convince a couple of my friends who have led interesting lives that their stories deserve to be preserved and shared.

This katydid would not go in my memoirs, but it’s an interesting photo.

Both said that no one would care about their stories. Well, Doug probably thought his wife and children would be the only ones who would read his. Really, sharing the stories of our lives is valuable. Future historians will be happy to find details about how people actually lived in the 20th and 21st centuries, and family, friends, and interested others WILL like reading it, especially if you can write well and have lots of interesting photos.

Here’s Doug doing research at Hornsby Bend. I didn’t get permission, since this review is a surprise. But it was public on Facebook.

I know LOTS of people who fit this category. Maybe YOU are one. And even if you aren’t the greatest writer on earth, you probably know someone who can review your writing and clean it up a bit. Honest. I want to read your story.

Mine’s here on the blog.