Friday, July 29, 2011

Sticking to Principles

I consider myself to be a highly principled person. I also understand that living with other being requires some degree of give and take. Total lack of flexibility on one's part requires that the other always be the one that compromises, and thus unprincipled.

Of course, if you're a principled Republican dealing with unprincipled Democrats you needn't ever negotiate. Go ahead and sign pre-election pledges that make sure you'll never have to engage in any form of compromise. Compromise is for unprincipled scum, like Democrats.

As I was saying, I think of myself as being principled. This came out again in Washington DC when I attempted to use an ATM at a restaurant across from our hotel. I requested $100, and the ATM dispensed but $20, along with a note stating it was out of cash but that I was being charged $2.15 for the transaction anyway. That $2.15 was on top of the $2 that AAA charges every time I use my travel card. Thus my $20 withdrawal cost me $4.15!

Being highly principled, I was not about to accept such treatment. I asked for the manager of the restaurant and explained in great detail what had happened. I finished with a flourish, "Four dollars and 15 cents is an unacceptable price for withdrawing twenty dollars!" The manager was sympathetic: "I could reimburse you out of my own pocket." Being highly principled, I couldn't allow her to remedy the situation at her expense. Then she played the trump card...

"Would you like a cookie?"

Oh, those soft yet crispy oatmeal cookies we'd been enjoying! My resolve melted like butter on a summer sidewalk. "Sure, I'll take a cookie!" I left the restaurant $4.15 poorer, enjoying the richness of a fresh, oatmeal and rum raisin cookie.

Note to President Obama: Try baking some cookies before your next conversation with Speaker Boehner and the House Republicans. They are a highly principled lot, I know. But then, so was I.

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