Does Integrity Have a Price?

A set of six buttons with different symbols on them.

😎 As most of you probably know, my wife and I are downsizing and planning on moving into a retirement community within the next few years.  So, we are continually trying to sell/giveaway possessions, some worth a little and some held onto for way too long.  A couple of weeks ago I sold the Carolina Skiff I had down at the pier, and the other day I placed the little 3 horsepower outboard motor down at our front yard curb with a sale sign that said I was willing to let it go for a mere $25.  The next morning, I glanced out the window and then remarked to my wife that it was still there.  She remarked that it could be stolen by leaving it there overnight.  Well, says I, during the day the price is $25, but during the night it’s free.  I wonder if there are many people willing to sell their integrity for that much money?  I’ve often heard that everyone has a price that will convince them to do what they consider despicable.  I have great respect for the minister of our church, and I would be very sad if there was a price that could induce him to violate his pledge to the Lord.  I believe it has a lot to do with your age.  If you promise an old guy an additional 10 years of life, I’m of the opinion he’ll come in the middle of the night and take that darn motor away.  If you are in the age range of 20 – 50, then you’re gonna want money.  My bet is that $500,000 would snare at least 80% of those asked to do that nasty deed.  Yes, I know that is a pretty low opinion of mankind, but I see a lot that convinces me that I’m right.

By this time, you’re probably wondering what my price would be?  It would not be the money because I quite possibly would not live along enough to spend it.  But the 10-year thingy would definitely be enticing.  Georges Duhamel said, “To drink is a small matter.  To be thirsty is everything.† Stealing that outboard motor would be a small matter, but it’s effect on your integrity would be everything.  Time to put this story to rest:  A few days ago, we returned from our walk and an old guy was sitting in his dilapidated pickup truck, in front of the outboard motor, waiting for us to return home.  I parked in our driveway and ambled down to greet him, shook his hand, and began to tell him about that faded old engine that was way past it’s prime.  I could easily tell that he was kinda down on his luck, so I informed him that he could have the everything free of charge if he wanted it.  Who would have thought that saving $25 could brighten someone’s eyes that much?  I helped him load it into his truck, wished him well, and watched him as he drove away with a smile on his face.  As that old truck faded into the distance, I noticed that he had left something behind.  He had left part of his smile on my face too!  I thought about it for a few minutes and as I slowly walked up the driveway towards the house, I knew that I had received a lot more than the $25 I was asking.  I could almost feel the Lord tap me on the shoulder and say, oh so softly, “Now didn’t that feel really good?† Yep, sure did!

֎ I recently read an article in the New York Times, written by Tim Herrera, about how to be a good conversationalist and I thought he had some excellent tips.  According to Tim, there are three tiers of conversation:

Do not ask questions that put someone in a tight spot. For example, “Is your boyfriend here?†Instead, say, “Catch me up on your life, or what’s going on at work.†

Two Harvard researchers in the Psychology Department found that talking about yourself triggers the same pleasure sensation in the brain as food.  People will forgo money in order to talk about themselves (hmm, I don’t think I know anyone like that).  The point here is, do not be a conversation hog!  Share the conversation pie.  Share half if there are two of you, and a quarter if there are four.  Be attentive and make eye contact, also making active and engaged facial expressions.  At times, repeat back what was said and ask questions.  If something to say pops into your mind, don’t say it, go back to listening.  Bring it up later if it’s important.  If you say something that may be controversial, seek out the other person’s opinion.

During a daily walk recently, I made an anti-Trump comment to a dear and close family member, and as soon as it slipped from my tongue, I knew that I had dropped a bomb.  She is pro-Trump and was immediately offended, defending him with heart and soul.  I felt so badly about my comment, and after she finished, I quickly changed the topic.  I am hopeful that she has forgiven me.  I forgot rule #2: Don’t talk about politics (unless you know that all of you have the same viewpoint).

Many times, we encounter someone that dominates the conversation, and it is never pleasant to be excluded from participating in the gentle banter of friends.  I often find that I am guilty of monopolizing conversations and when I realize it, I back off and let others say whatever is on their mind.  It is a humbling experience.  There is a good chance that a lot of us do that without knowing we are “hogging†the pie of conversation. 

Probably, all of us already knew most of those things mentioned above, but it’s always good to bring them to the forefront and remind ourselves of the need to be a good conversationalist. 

Henry Hawkins said, “The time to stop talking is when the other person nods his head affirmatively but says nothing,â€

👀 My daughter needed the storm door replaced on her townhouse and I agreeably volunteered to do that project for her so it wouldn’t be too expensive.  Off we go, on a bright sunny Saturday, to a Lowe’s hardware store, to find a new one.  We found it rather quickly, checked out, and headed to her house to install the darn thing.  It took me about 45 minutes to remove the old door (I always struggle with these types of projects 😜), unpack the new one and start the assembly process.  We immediately noticed that a major part had a dent, but rather than box it up and take it back, I decided I could straighten it out with my trusty rubber hammer.  After struggling with the thing for an hour, or so, I reluctantly decided it should go back. My daughter had been urging me to do that very thing since noticing the defective part.  Ignoring her advice, I plunged ahead and then, ultimately, agreed with her.

Frustrated, I drove back to the store, returned the door, and asked for a replacement. After reassessing my ability to do this job, I decided to hire someone to do it for me.  Fortunately, I have a friend that does these types of jobs for a fee and would welcome the opportunity to relieve me of this stress. My dad used to warn me as a young lad to, “not bite off more than you can chew.† I believe I could eat that sandwich, I’m just not sure I want to.  I am willing to pay my friend whatever he charges, within reason, and move on to other things. I want my daughter’s front door to look nice, and I fear it would not if I did the job.  There’s an old Yiddish Proverb that says, “He that can’t endure the bad, will not live to see the good.† Hmmm, that worries me a little 🤢.