I understand the concept of religious guilt — I’m a Jew. I feel guilty about pretty much everything. I feel terrible that you didn’t get the Christmas present you want, and I’m so sorry that you haven’t seen your grandparents yet this year, and I accept full responsibility for your flight being delayed yesterday and you not making it home in time to eat dinner with your family. God, I feel so bad.
But here’s someone who puts my guilt to shame. Consumerist.com reports that a man who stole a hammer from a hardware store 25 years ago sent the store a check for the item, including a letter to the following effect:
“I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway. Enclosed is $45 to cover the hammer plus a little extra for interest,”
He goes on to say that he’s changed his ways, which leads me to believe that he hasn’t spent the past 25 years flogging himself over his moral transgression like the hero of a Dostoevsky novel. Nevertheless, it’s a long way back to have guilt, and over a matter that the store probably resolved 24 years and 362 days ago.
Oh well, let’s take it as a holiday miracle and get drunk on eggnog. Who’s with me?