Saturday, February 21, 2009

Buck passing

A conversation:
"You lost your sports bag. That isn't good."

"True but it's not my fault."

"Really, whose fault is it?"

"Yours. You were the one who decided to have me. Had you not done that the bag would not have been lost."
And there began a line of logic that has led to a week of buck passing in our household created by what appears to be a deep existential understanding of moral attribution. This, of course, included an extensive discussion whereupon it was discussed whether it would be reasonable for me to similarly pass the buck for the aforementioned lost sports bag to my parents, their parents or a series of 300,000 generations to some ape in Africa. It was then decided that the ape really wouldn't care about issues of lost bags and so saddling them with that one was going to far. They would be content to pass the buck for all their current and future sins to me.

A later conversation:
"This dinner is terrific."

"Well, you can thank your daughter for it. Cooking it that way was her idea."

"Yes, you can thank me Daddy."

"I don't think so."

"Why not?"

"Well if I hadn't chosen to have you, then we wouldn't have had this great dinner. So I'm waiting."

"Thank you Daddy for this great dinner."
Her brother then started to object to this apparent lack of praise.
"No, it is good this way. I'll take not being at fault over not getting thanks any day."
My daughter had opted for full insurance in her typical risk averse way. I guess she only has half of what it takes to make a good investment banker.