Panorama of San Bernardino

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Importance of Being Good

A couple of years ago, I read a book by Nick Hornby titled "How to be Good".  The story centers around the conversion of a man from angry to good.  There is a spirtual healer and a lot of other issues involved (that don't matter for this story), but it was the concept that was most interesting.

This morning I was thinking of how hard it is to be good.  I equate good with nice and maybe that is the problem.  Maybe they are not the same thing.

Truth be told, I am not a very nice person.   I am bossy, irritable and I love to get up on a soapbox and voice my opinion even when unwanted.  My sister Annie calls me on it sometimes.

"Don't use your lawyer voice on me", Annie will say in her usual diplomatic but forceful way (yes, reader, she is an Aquarian).  She knows I can't help it.

My husband, after twenty years, also realizes my nature.  And, when I am (insert air quote here) nice, he is perplexed.  "Why are you being so nice?", he will ask in his usual droll Piscean manner.  "Are you ill?"

My clients seem to understand me as well.  I work hard for them and they seem to get it.  Lawyers can be nice and not be good.  They can promise you the moon and then screw you over (legally speaking).  I pride myself on never giving up.  "I am not Harry Potter," I sometimes tell people.  Yet, I always try to work some magic.

We public defenders get a bad rap.  We make next to nothing relatively speaking, have large caseloads and are called "public pretenders".  It is an uphill battle to get our clients to trust us.

My friend Tracy also understands me.  Tracy has known me since high school and she is so nice that she would probably say I was nice if I asked her.  But, I would know she was just being nice as opposed to truthful because bitch can be an understatement when I am in one of my moods.

The question is whether it is worth it for me to try to be nicer.  I will never be nice, but perhaps I could be less gruff, more patient and less bossy.  Is it possible?  The answer: possible but not probable.

The problem is that I like myself, bossy, annoying and opinionated person that I am.  I don't want to be a doormat, I think (actually I know) my opinion matters and I hate waiting.

It is JEM's world people and you are all just living in it.

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