Title: Good People (sung to the tune of Short People by Randy Newman)
by Cliff Mazer, Ph.D.
Idea: Research and write magazine article about what makes really good people so consistently “good”. Shadow selected individuals and interview them to see what really differentiates them from the rest of us. Consider the practical and evolutionary value of altruism-goodness and being an all around “good person”.
Start the article with:
Personally, I’m not that good a person, even tho I know a few individuals who would probably qualify as being legitimately “good”. No, I dont mean just nice guys or polite types or kindly folk or even terrific human beings. Similarly I’m not just talking about regular church goers or supporters of the arts or “big givers” to well deserving philanthropic causes, even tho good people may tend to engage in such selfless behavior. I’m referring to men and women we all might know and love who are consistently as good as one might imagine, whether they are in public or in solitary confinement, under stress or lounging at a spa in St. Lucia, aware of others watching them or with me hidden surreptitiously behind their living room curtains trying to catch them being bad. The idea of doing just that, following and shadowing several really good people came to me suddenly one evening while I was busy engaged in my regular routine of ruminating on my misfortunes with my typical narcissistic combination of competitive resentment, anger, and self-loathing. Normally I accomplish this by reading the obituaries, watching the Kardashians or Housewives of Whereever on television and by Facebook stalking former friends and schoolmates, particularly the highly successful ones, and then reading their impossibly positive status updates. With a special proprietary admixture of anger and covetous greed-envy, I then imagine them losing their mind and/or their McMansions in a monsoon. Dont get the wrong Idea, I’m not that terribly bad either. I am just acutely aware of having bouts of normal jealousy, hyper-competitive feelings and “the grass is always greener” kind of thinking. Normally I even feel bad for thinking so negatively and chide myself for my petty jealousies and persistent tendency to slip into schaudenfreude like fantasies. Schaudenfreude, which is defined as ………………….