“Talk me out of something.”
Those words could only come from one person: my buddy Stan.
He always calls to get help working out his conflicts.
Unfortunately, most of his conflicts occur shortly after bar closing.
“Don’t do it,” I told him.
“You don’t even know what it is,” he complained.
“It doesn’t matter,” I said, “if you have to ask, that is reason enough.”
“Don’t you want to hear what it is?”
By then curiosity was getting the better of me.
“Daphne is out of town for the weekend and I…”
“Stan,” I said, “you are married. The answer is no.”
“See,” he said, “I knew I called the right guy.”
“Good night then…”
“But it is not that simple.”
“Yes, it is.”
“This girl is a client,” he said.
“It is all about getting business. So here is my problem: is it right to do the wrong thing and make a lot of money, which is good, or is it wrong to do the right thing and lose a lot of money, which is bad?”
“You are giving me a headache, Stan.”
“I know, it hurts my head too – because everyone cheats sometime or other.”
“No, they don’t.”
“I know you don’t but I am richer and better looking than you are and fidelity only goes as far as a guy’s options – and I have more options than you do.”
“That doesn’t rationalize cheating.”
Then he almost whispered, “Daphne will never find out.”
How could I tell him that getting away with something doesn’t make it right?
Stan and I went to the same Catholic school and while most of that experience bounced off the both of us, a bit more stuck with me than with him. Perhaps that is why he calls me.
I wish Stan believed in God. I might get more sleep then – but more than that, Stan is one of those people who really needs to have something divine looking over his shoulder. It is why I am bothered by the rising tide of atheism. Atheists sound like little boys running around a department store and shouting that there is no Santa Claus…without ever having understood the lessons of Christmas.
If nothing else, religion is designed for people like Stan and I had no idea how to convince him to act morally, so I punted.
“You know she’ll find out,” I told him.
“I don’t know,” I said,” but ask yourself, have you ever gotten anything past her?”
“Have I talked you out of it?”
“I don’t know.”
“I gotta go…”
It was not until he hung up that I realized he didn’t want to be talked out of something. He wanted to be stopped from doing something.
So I called Daphne.
She picked up before the first ring.
“What do you want?” she snapped.
“Call Stan,” I said.
“No need,” she said.
“Just call him,” I told her.
“Because he is cheating on me?”
“I can’t say…”
“I know all about it,” she said, “I have Critter Cams mounted all over the house and I have been watching him on my laptop since he got home.”
“Yeah,” she said, “and the cameras are hooked to our sound system. In a few moments, Stan is going to hear the voice of God.”