A friend texted me tonight to tell me she had had a few too many drinks at the bar.
My response? "So what?"
Now I know that the proper way to react in our new "politically correct" world would have been to tell her to stop drinking, hand her car keys to the bartender, and walk home. I already knew she was walking home, so I jumped right to the "who gives a shit?" stance.
People, it's time we talk about the "Midwestern Work Ethic Guilt."
We already know about the "Jewish Mother Guilt."
And the "Catholic Guilt."
But very few are familiar with the "Midwestern Work Ethic Guilt."
It goes something like this:
1) Work is the most important thing in your life.
2) You must remember rule #1 at all times.
3) When you don't remember rule #2, see rule #1, and remember it at all times.
4) Fun is bad.
I don't know what it is, but even when I'm not broker than a mule that's been ridden across the continental US, I feel guilty for spending $.99 on a crappy double cheeseburger. "That's $.99 I could save."
"Have I worked hard enough to earn this $.99 piece of crap excuse for a double cheeseburger?"
"I really don't deserve this $.99 craptastic pile of crapola."
"No, seriously, I should pay you $99 to not give me this double cheeseburger. $99 I worked hard for, but it would be better for me to suffer from that than suffer from spending $.99 on this excuse of a burger."
People wonder why I would spend money to jump out of an airplane when I had just lost my townhouse, my car (temporarily) and a bit of my bearings.
Well why the hell wouldn't I spend money to jump out of an airplane? That one experience gave me enough of a new outlook in life to justify spending the equivalent of 300 crapalicious double cheeseburgers on it.
So let's take a minute to re-write these Midwestern Work Ethic guidelines, now, so that they match our newfound post-modern self-absorbed approach to life:
1) Work is really important, and we should do our best at it.
2) Work eventually ends, usually when you walk out the door at the end of the day. If it doesn't, then ask them why it isn't.
3) Life is short, so work has to eventually give way to play. Embrace it.
4) Play is not only good, it's required. Even if it means something mundane like going for a walk around your favorite lake, or splurging for a $.99 piece of poop double royale with cheese.
Take it from me...life is really effin' short. So if you don't take time to enjoy the moments you have, you may just not live to regret it.
Time to scarf down this burger that's been calling my name. Time to get living and playing. Go on, now.