Guest Post: “A Contrary View from Across the Fence”

Submitted by:  Mysterious X

Editor:  This is the first of what ARL hopes will become a series of guest posts from variety of folks with a range of perspectives, some contrary those here at ARL.  This particular guest contributor is a successful engineer who, by ARL’s standard measures, lives an “unreasonable life” in the suburbs of New Jersey.  It is his habit, however, to challenge conventional wisdom with caustic wit and, as such, his contributions are welcomed here.

Thank goodness I found this site. I thought I had a reasonable life. Happily married to the same woman for over 25 years, two great kids who aren’t on drugs or deadbeats and a job that is both challenging and rewarding.

But wait…I live in the suburbs. I have an armchair (that I love). I work in an office building (I guess it’s sterile even though it has people in it. At this point I’m too shell-shocked at my complete lack of judgement – I mean look at my lifestyle – to know if the office building is or isn’t sterile). My commute is usually 25 minutes on 12.5 miles of divided highway, but it can stretch to 45 – 60 minutes.

So I sit in my comfortable armchair hoping that one of your one toothed rifle toting brethren will come by and put me out of my misery. How could I have believed I was happy?

Which me brings me to the first tenet of “a reasonable life”:  Don’t judge.

Each of us is entitled to the pursuit of happiness, but the pursuit isn’t limitless. If you’re Jeffrey Dahmer and live next door to me, you are not entitled to eat my children. Your pursuit has caused me pain, suffering and loss, which is not acceptable.

Now, having established that pursuit of happiness doesn’t include inflicting pain on others, we can examine judgement.

If you choose to live in a Unabomber cabin or a 2-hole outhouse with a hammock, good for you. You haven’t harmed me by your choice. While I wouldn’t choose that lifestyle for myself, who am I to judge your choice?

If you want to be a free range Vegan and only eat fruit and vegetable that have fallen to the ground, go for it as long as you don’t harm me by forcing me to follow your regimen. (Side note: If a vegan came to my house I would bend over backward to make sure they had appropriate choices of food. Likewise, if a Jewish friend came to visit I would make sure Kosher food is available. But, if I go to a vegan’s house I am expected to eat grass and grain only. I hate hypocrites).

So, in my mind, you can not lead a reasonable life if you are judging others who haven’t harmed anyone.

Well, I’m off to spend a miserable afternoon in my easy chair watching football on my high-definition TV. I’ll leave the front door open in case any one wants to take pity on my horrible existence and put me out of my misery.

– Mysterious X


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