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The CEO and the janitor

Wednesday 4/3/24

It bothers me a lot when people brag, "One thing you should know about me is I will treat the janitor the same as I treat the CEO," which I just saw, as they're completely oblivious that they've based this testament to their own goodness on the construct that the CEO is above the janitor at a worthy person, but they're willing to overlook that and still act the same way to the latter. It's actually disgusting. Sounds a lot like, "Aren't I nice because I'm nice even to you?" Tells me all I need to know about someone, too. Most single things do. It takes very little.

Also tells me they're stupid. There are all of these presumptions built into this statement, like that the CEO is more qualified to be what we think of as a success than the lowly janitor. But there's probably a great chance that the CEO would merely be a lucky sperm, right? Someone born into the position, in essence. Someone who took over the family business. Or someone who has always had every financial advantage in life. And every advantage. Had the road paved for them.

Maybe the janitor is the best alto saxophone player in the country, and the industry being what it is, this is work he does. Maybe it supplements other work he does. Maybe he's the smartest guy in the state. The region. Maybe he writes music in his head in the quiet hours of doing his job. Cecil Taylor, for instance, elected to wash dishes to make a living rather than play the way that club owners insisted he play. Guy was kind of good at the music, right? But there he was, washing those dishes, out of conviction for what he did.

Maybe he's not a musician at all but he has three kids and his wife is sick and out of work and he picked up these hours.

Maybe he comes from Central America, some nation where his family faced this bad existence. Maybe he was a lawyer there. Who knows?

I find this so odious when I encounter this remark. I mean, it really bothers me. The ignorance of it, the presumptuousness, and the la-de-da-look-what-a-great-person-I-am tone and boast when an actual good person would never think this way.

You should answer to your own moral code of goodness, not he's a this and she's a that. You act the same way because of what is in you and what you have determined to be right and moral because it is right and moral. You don't ever think in terms of someone's occupation or their color or their gender or their age or their anything. That's irrelevant. You don't think of it, you don't bring it up, it's not any kind of factor or detail to be noted, mentally or outwardly.


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