Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.


I ain’t no perfect man.
I’m trying to do
The best that I can
With what it is I have.

— Mos Def in “Umi Says”

What does it take to be a good person? By one definition, good people are “people who do the good things.”

This definition was courtesy of a friend’s mother, and when it was explained, my friend and his brother were curious about people who do “the bad things.” According to Mom, they stop being the good people and become “the bad people.” Banished from the land of the good people, the bad people can never return, even if they stop doing bad things and resume the duties of the good people.

I cannot claim to be one of the good people. As recently as yesterday, I got impatient while driving, and cut in front of some cars to get onto 880. When I realized what I had done, I felt bad about it (but not too bad). At the same time, when I reached my destination from 880, I saw some new and familiar faces that thanked me for being there. I felt good about it (but not too good).

Maybe I’ll never be a good person, but I’ll be happy if I can keep the good things to bad things ratio high.


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