Monday, October 20, 2014

Ethics is a pisser

Ethics is a pisser. 

There's a Bill Bryson book sitting on a table. Is there a problem with it? Does it need to be checked in? I pick it up. There's something inside, a bookmark or whatever. I open it up. The bookmark is two twenty dollar bills! TWO TWENTY DOLLAR BILLS!

I know it can be hard these days to add up so much money, but that adds up to 40 dollars total! I can really use 40 dollars right now. I would like 40 dollars. It would be so happy in my wallet, and here it is, in my hands, nearly mine.

But it is not my 40 dollars.

So I look up the Bill Bryson book to see who it is checked out to. No one. I look up to see who it was checked out to. It was checked out to an older man, judging at least by his pre WWII birthday. And here in his record is his phone number.

I hate calling people!

I call the old man. He is there.

"I'm calling from the library. Did you return a Bill Bryson book today with something in it?" I ask.

"Oh my God!" He cries. "That is where my two twenty dollar bills are!" He is rejoicing. "I went to the bank and have been looking all day! Oh, thank God!"

"Yes, we have your twenty dollar bills here. I'll put it in an envelope in our safe with your name on it."

"You found them and you called me? Oh, thank you so much! You are so wonderful. You are a wonderful person."

"Er. thank you. Anyway, it'll be here for you."

"I'll be in as soon as I can get there. Thank you! You have saved my life."

All right. I guess ethics isn't necessarily that bad.


  1. A couple of years ago I was going to the ATM and lo and behold a $20 bill was still there hanging out alone like a tongue in the air. I took it, did my transaction, and then waited in line to return it inside.

    "I found this outside at the ATM," I told the teller. "Thank you," she said. "You're welcome," I said.

    Then this guy in line said, "I bet only about 20 people in Ventura Country would have done what you did."

    It made me feel good, but I have to say I disagree with him. I think about 50% of people would have returned it.

    What do you think?

    1. Um, somewhere between 20 people and 50 percent? Are there more than 40 people in Ventura? Ha! But I am pretty surprised at peoples' honesty. Maybe it depends on how likely it seems the the 20 will be repatriated? Like, if you were in a mall or something would you find a lost and found to turn in a 20. What about if you found it on the street? Whatever the percentages though I do agree with the credit accrued to you in that situation. It was very nice of you to turn it in. In my story, I deserve a great deal less credit, or really none at all in my opinion as keeping that 40 dollars, in that sort of setting, would have been more like stealing.

  2. I think the fellow who writes this post is a good man!


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