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The Good Place

I’ve been binge watching. Like many of you I presume. As an educator, I guess I should be Binge Reading. But what I’m watching feels pretty smart so, you know, F it.

I’ve noticed something recently. There are rules that govern my binging.

Do you all have them? I didn’t create them intentionally. But they are there. And they are iron clad.

First off, I don’t even call it watching television any more. I call it binging. “Binging anything good right now?” “I need something to binge, any suggestions.”

Two—binging rarely starts before 6 p. m. Sometimes I’ll watch a little something at around 1 in the afternoon, while I’m eating my lunch, but that time is usually reserved for me finishing the Tony Kornheiser Show.

Three—my binging never begins with anything serious. Dramas, no matter how eager I am to see them, always happen after dinner. But before dinner, and any binging that happens with food in front of me, is reserved for sitcoms or reality shows.


Once I eat, and the food has been put away, then bring on Ozark and Better Call Saul and Game of Thrones or any of those TV shows that feel like movies.

Yesterday, things got all jacked up.

This past week I’ve been feeling nauseous, so on Jaimie’s insistence, after my teaching ended, I didn’t do any other work.

Since it was still light outside, and hours away from being 6 p.m., the rules did not allow me to watch anything serious, so I started into a deep dive on The Good Place. And by “deep dive” I mean they asked if I was still watching THREE TIMES!

I was still watching, because The Good Place is the perfect show for me. It checks all my boxes. The writing is amazing. It is super funny. And I feel like I’m taking a class.

The thing about The Good Place, is that it is deep. Really deep. By hour four I felt like I was listening to someone’s theological dissertation. It started making me look at my own life. What ways was I “trash bag?"—Eleanor. How was I a “butt?”—Bad Janet. If I died today, what would my point total be?

I mean, I think I’m pretty good, but doesn’t every body? As hour four of binging turned into hour five, I started making a mental list of what The Judge would say if she saw my case.

  1. I’m late. Constantly. All the time. To work. To family gatherings. To meet up with friends. If there is a time we said we would get together, I’ll be there ten to fifteen minutes after said time. And then…

  2. I’ll lie about why I’m late! I’ll blame it on the traffic or Jaimie and the distance. Distance doesn’t matter. In fact, the closer something is—the later I’ll be. I’m even late to church. Constantly. And then I’ll lie to God about it. Like he wasn’t there watching my ass THE WHOLE ENTIRE TIME! There’s ten, twenty, a hundred points right there.

I started feeling pretty depressed, so I walked into the kitchen to grab some ice cream. Eating my feelings. I’m sure that’s another ten points tacked onto the bad list.

Upon entering the kitchen, I was given a gift. I was given a way to feel better about myself by looking at the shortcoming of another. Is there anything more human than that?

There. On the counter. By the roll of paper towels. Was this:

This was Jaimie. I was horrified. How could a human being do this? How many points was that worth on the Bad Place scale. A million. At least it should be.

And ladies and gentlemen, do not think that this is the only place this sort of behavior happens. Oh no. My wife is famous, no make that INFAMOUS, for leaving empty toilet paper rolls on the thing that I don’t know the name for. If it wasn’t for me she would have an empty one on the roll, use a whole one sitting on the sink, and then start a third on the carcass of the second!

Oh I felt so much better. I felt light. I felt free. All of my sins, purged on the mistake of another.

This is not taking into account, of course, that Jaimie had been waiting on me hand and foot for the past week. Wiping my forehead while I was sick. Making sure I was taking my meds on time. Forcing me to rest while every bone in my body wants me to work and work and work.

Maybe that’s what being human is—sweeping our mistakes under the rugs of the misdeeds of others. And perhaps growth is seeing the misdeeds of others, recognizing that we have misdeeds too, and letting them off the hook.

You know, after we write a blog about it.

Because if all I have to worry about it is a misplaced paper towel roll, then I’ve got it pretty good. In fact, I’ve got it perfect. A mistake, that isn’t really a mistake, that I can write about and make fun of for days.

Sign me up!

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