The Water Cup
Recently I was in a ToGo’s, today in fact. One of the people at the counter asked for a water and the cashier said “Soda or Water?” and lifted a Soda cup (obviously confirming what they had heard). The person confirmed that they wanted water and was handed a (soda) cup.
Presumably they went on to do what I’ve seen easily a hundred people do in my lifetime, maybe hundreds. They walked to a soda machine that is out of sight and completely unmonitored and they got themselves…water.
This goes against a variety of things that are routinely bantered about by people who don’t like reality or data (who does? So cumbersome). Namely the idea that if given a situation with no possible chance for recourse (the likelihood of being caught is extremely low if not completely non-existent) people will naturally take the opportunity with the highest return. This usually means committing a crime of some kind or at least an action that is (for lack of a better term) morally inferior.
I’m not convinced that every single person who ordered a water did so because they share my disgust of most sodas. I would think for many of them there was simply a desire to not invest in soda at the time. It is usually cheaper just to get some canned from the store or in bottles (oh god…the horrors of 2 liter soda).
I’m going to overstate this but I think the Water Cup is the easiest example of the mean-world bias. It is common to hear about the horrors of man, our inclinations towards evil, you’ll find it in every terribly written film. But when the cards are placed on the table and its time to show the colors what happens? Often nothing.
You have probably never been murdered, most of you have never had your homes broken into nor have you had your cars broken into (though I know my In-Laws have), many of us have never been assaulted (wish I could say the same here). The vast majority of crimes are numerous, its not to say that nobody anywhere is committing any crimes. But it is highly unlikely that anyone you walk by in the mall is going to victimize you.
The water cup is where it is at, that genuine goodness that you can find in most people. The “evils” we often accuse humans of innately possessing are more a result of circumstance. A combination of both mental dispositions towards poor stress handling and an environment that exacerbates these problems. If you provide people with a comfortable life (not even necessarily a glamorous one) you find what each human wants.
Happiness, life, and comfort. Peace of mind and body. The Water cup could easily be abused, its almost like the entire situation was designed for it to be abused, it is that 100 dollar bill from the dumbest analogy I’ve ever heard (the one about the 100 dollar bill left on a pedestal in front of a hundred students, the argument being that naturally it will be gone by days end).
Yet its not, I’ve never once in my life seen someone get a water cup and put soda in it. I’m sure it happens, I’m sure someone somewhere is doing it right now. But there are billions of people, the idea that every last one of us would be altruistic or even merely genuine is unfair and most certainly unrealistic. Some people are broken, some of us have bad knees, some have bad backs, bad eyes, some others have bad brains. In each case we need to find the source and try to eliminate it, and for those that already suffer we should find a cure for them.
I like the Water Cup.