99% Bad

There is something people do that I don’t much care for. It happens in some workplaces, in some relationships, in some statehouses. In any given corner of life or society, you can find someone who is employing the “99% Bad” strategy.

What is that? It’s when you find the worst example you can find of someone else’s behavior for which said person was not appropriately punished, and then you do something that’s just a tiny bit not-as-bad as that and use the original behavior to justify yours. As if whatever you do is totally beyond reproach just because someone else did something 1% worse and didn’t suffer karmic realignment for it.

Oh, the person you’re dating refuses to wash any dishes? So you do something slightly less bad, like wash socks but nothing else in the laundry hamper. Or a co-worker shows up an hour late and gets away with it, so you show up 59 minutes late and if anyone says anything you whine “but Bob was an hour late yesterday and no one said anything to him!” Or, probably like a bajillion political examples that I don’t need to specifiy.

But the point is – your goal in life shouldn’t be to emulate 99% of the most toxic elements in your life. It should be to remove them entirely while maintaining your own honor and dignity. If you have a partner that refuses to contribute to the household, have a discussion with them and if you must, find a new partner. If a coworker is late and you don’t like how it’s handled, voice that concern – but do so while you’re early, not while you’re almost as late. If you have to find a new job, do it.

Don’t engage in this race to see how bad you can be without being the literal worst, as if the existence of even one person worse than you is justification for anything you want to do. Don’t seek out one worse person. Live your life so that you can’t find one better.

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