Something odd happened when I took my dog Simba for a walk Thursday night. We were walking uphill, almost back to my house, when he flopped down on his ass and refused to move. At that point I was pretty fucking annoyed because Project Runway had already started. So I grabbed Simba’s leash and pulled as hard as I could. He scrabbled to his feet and whimpered. It was nothing like the sexual “please don’t hurt me, master” kind of whimper women (or men) make in compromising positions. No, it was the kind of dying gasp that birds made when their wings got ripped off. I don’t know if he was overreacting or just acting, but shit I felt like the most god-awful person on the whole planet. And you know what’s even worse? The first thing I thought wasn’t, “Did I hurt him?” It was, “Does the fact that I felt bad mean that I’m a good person?” I mean, if I were a bad person then I wouldn’t have felt bad, right? Yeah, I’m pretty fucked up.
Anyway, I knew I didn’t hurt Simba because he’s a gorgeous, healthy 70 pound golden retriever who’s got more muscles than my 16 year old brother. But still, it’s pretty shitty of me to wander off on a stupid philosophical tangent instead of worrying about my dog’s condition. Moments like these happen to me all the time. I’d feel awful whenever I lie to my mom about something pretty big, but instead of repenting or whatever I’d pose the same useless question to myself: “if I’m a bad person I wouldn’t feel awful for lying, but if I’m a good person why would I lie in the first place?” And I wonder: what do we actually feel guilty about when we do something wrong? The action or the reaction? Like, if I knew lying about something wouldn’t hurt my mom’s feelings, I probably wouldn’t feel guilty at all. That basically means I don’t give a shit about doing something wrong as long as it doesn’t hurt whoever I care about. Same thing with my dog. If he didn’t make that noise I probably wouldn’t have felt bad for being such an impatient bitch. If we can get away with every bad thing we do, does that mean we won’t ever feel guilt?
I don’t know if that made any sense. It’s just something I’ve been wondering about for quite a while.