26 April 2010

Danny Meyer Dictionary

NY Times Metropolitan Section (25 April 2010)

When I was 14, I asked my father why we didn't go to church. His sister was a nun and his parents were very religious. So much so, I remember whenever my grandparents visited the three of them would go to Mass leaving me, my sisters and mother at home. I wasn't complaining but we were living in the deep south at the time where everybody went to church and I was feeling like a sinner.

My father took me outside and pointed at the night sky. He told me it was hard for him to believe there was not a God when he looked at the stars (I was confused). I remember he put his hand on my shoulder (even more confused) and still looking at the sky told me if I ever wanted to go to church he would take me.

And then he said, "I'm not sure people need church as much as they need the Golden Rule." "What's that?" I asked. He looked down at me, "That's where you treat other people the way you want to be treated." Not long after this conversation I found myself running around my neighborhood late at night with some friends. A car was parked on the street and the driver's window was down. It was trash night and a garbage can temptingly sat next to the car.

Someone said, "Let's dump that trash can in this idiot's car." It sounded like a great idea. But then the Golden Rule hit me. I objected. Someone said, "Why not?" "Because," I said, "I wouldn't want someone to dump a can of trash in my car."

I'm not sure you need all of Mr Meyer's acronyms up there but they can't hurt.


Sean said...

I had experiences like yours, but my jerk friends just ignored me and toilet papered a house anyway.

W.Essex said...

Wait, I thought it was the BROKER "who is on the customer's side and works to help them get what they want." The agent is just trying to maximize his commission ;).

Anonymous English Female said...

I'm kind of with your dad on the Golden Rule being a purer form of Christianity. The cynic in me believes adherents are set for a lifetime of disappointment.

heavy tweed jacket said...

An inspiring story, well told.

Family Man said...

The Golden Rule is an important one, but not the only one. It's an excellent place to start, but I believe one needs to go further in order to develop fully as a moral member of society. For example, I'm sure that most of us would like to be treated mercifully, but "mercy for the guilty is cruelty to the innocent" (Adam Smith).

I have always liked the following analogy about churchgoing: Going to church, listening to the sermons, and singing the hymns is like eating a meal. You don't remember every single one, but each one nourishes you.

As much as I dislike "me, too" comments, ditto to HTJ's comment.

tintin said...

Sean - It doesn't work all the time.

W Essex- That's only in our business which is the short yellow school bus of financial services.

Anon Eng Femme- Perhaps but it helps to have simple instructions.

HTJ - Kind of you to say, sir.

Family Man- Like my father - I think it covers a lot of bases.

Anonymous said...

Hell is full of Christians.

Tin-tin's phred dad said...

From Tin-tin's phred dad
Your Aunt, the nun (later a Mother Superior) and I have had many conversations over the years about organized religion. I keep a sign here that says "I don't have any fuss with a Supreme Being, it's his/her fan clubs that I object to."
I remind her that if God is indeed everywhere, then we don't need a "middleman" to talk to him. (I'm like the old phud in Fiddler on the Roof.)
I often go into my George Carlin act that reduces the 10 commandments to just one. (Similar to golden rule.)