Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

In support of Shame

Posted by Lissa on January 28, 2009

Via Rachel Lucas, we find this gem of slobbering greed and classlessness:

Many US Airways (LCC) passengers who endured a crash landing in the Hudson River 12 days ago say they appreciate the $5,000 that the airline has offered — but some say it’s not enough.

Joe Hart, a salesman from Charlotte who suffered a bloody nose and bruises, says he “would like to be made whole for the incident.”

It’s too soon after the accident to determine what emotional distress he has suffered, he says.

…Hart says he has talked to a lawyer in North Carolina but hasn’t decided whether to take any legal action.

“I want to see how things play out with US Airways,” he says. “I’m hopeful US Airways understands the significance of the incident.”

Now, it goes without saying that many lawyers are scum-sucking devil-spawn.  (It’s like saying that most politicians are icky; it’s a no-brainer generalization.)  It likewise goes without saying that Mr. Joe Hart would be far better served by a kick in the crotch and papercuts doused with lemon juice than his current course of action.

But really, what it makes me think about is the lack of SHAME in the man. 

Could any of you picture yourselves doing this?  By a miracle of luck and skill and coolheadedness, your plane fails, but you land in the Hudson and not one person loses his/her life.  Yet instead of being grateful that 1) you survived, 2) you survived unscathed (no, bruises and a bloody nose DO NOT COUNT, YOU FREAKING WUSS), 3) you have a great story to tell, 4) your breakfast the next day tasted better “than any meal you and I have ever tasted” * . . . you want to sue.

Would I like some extra cash?  Absolutely!  (Wedding receptions aren’t what I would call cheap, you know.)  Do I occasionally fantasize about winning the lottery?  You betcha!  (I’ve already got plans on how much to dish to each family member before socking the rest away.  Oh, and bribing the Mass government for a gun permit.)  Would I entertain the thought of scoring a couple hundred grand without years of hard work?  Most definitely! . . . for a moment.

And then I would push that course of action away, disgusted.  BECAUSE IT WOULD BE A SHAMEFUL COURSE OF ACTION.

And because I would know that every single member of my family and every single one of my friends would find it a shameful and disgusting course of action.  Even if I were weak enough to bend to the monetary temptation on my own grounds — and I hope I would never do so — the knowledge that my family and friends would SHAME me would prevent that course of action.

I’ve wondered, back before I got settled with Mike, what it would be like to live in Arizona.  Or Montana.  Or Tennessee.  Somewhere that I had no family within easy driving reach.  Some place where, if I chose to live a shadier life — be someone’s mistress, or moonlight as an exotic dancer — my family wouldn’t know.  It’s an interesting daydream to entertain when family seems particularly overwhelming.

But, overwhelming or not, I can always trust my family’s sense of honor.  I’m not sure the power of my own conscience would always be enough to keep me safe from greed and other nasties, so it’s really nice to have a backup conscience built in. 

I am fairly sure I would never stoop to what Joe Hart is doing from my own sense of justice.  I know damn well that I would not go that low because my family would be ashamed of me. 

In summary, I guess what I’m trying to say is . . . where is Joe Hart’s family to save him from himself?  Trust me, there’s nothing like an older sibling or a horrified parent to turn on that good old-fashioned shame.**  And thank goodness for that.  It makes us all more decent.

*Fight Club reference
** I don’t have kids yet.  I imagine that adds a whole new level of conscience.

4 Responses to “In support of Shame”

  1. lenf said

    Joe has no shame. And whether you ascribe to the heredity argument or the environment argument or some combination of the two, there’s a good chance he sprang from shameless people. Of course, there is always the odd mutant.

  2. Mike said

    Welcome to the American system of tort law, that odd place where the only thing worse than having a plane crash with all aboard being killed is to have the pilot save their lives.

  3. gwyneth said

    I’m glad I wasn’t the only one horrified and disgusted that somebody would even think to sue for more, somebody who should be thanking the gods that be for surviving in the first place!! Let alone, woohoo, an extra 5k in hand (that’d be more’n enough for me, well and a replacement plane ticket)

  4. J. said

    I’m absolutely disgusted by Joe Hart. What a mindless ingrate. I wonder if he’ll stop his disgusting grab for undeserved compensation when the entire country shames him…

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