Moral dilemmas come in all shapes and sizes. One of the most common is what does it take to be a good neighbor? Another is how do you avoid making enemies? These all come down to what is the definition of a good deed?
My next door neighbor is even older than I am if you can believe that. I’ve never talked to him much more than to say ‘Hi’ and ‘Nice weather we’re having.’ His wife died many years ago and in recent years past he has grown a small selection of food crops in his backyard. Usually, in the fall he’s brought over the results of his green thumb in the form of tomatoes and other veggies.
Its obvious from the decor of his back yard he lived for many years on a farm. His backyard shed is in the form of a miniature red barn. He also has one of those decorative windmills copying those found on the farm except its only about five feet or so tall and it doesn’t have anything to do with pumping water. And there’s the rub. This windmill is great for telling the direction of the wind and how hard its blowing. With every breeze it starts turning…and squeaking!
Now, I spent many summers on my uncles farm when I was a young boy. They had a windmill that squeaked with the wind too. When it did, my uncle would smile because he knew the water cistern was filling up. I can imagine my next door neighbor smiles too at the memories of the sounds of his decorative windmill reminding him of his time on the farm. But I’ve spent most of my life in the city and the farm to me is only a quaint experience which showed me at a young age that I preferred an office job with traffic noise and a fast food joint on the corner.
So back to my moral dilemma. Do I have the right to go out some full moon lit night, surreptitiously sneak into my neighbor’s yard and drown that damn noisy windmill with WD-40? Would it ruin his memory of his years on the farm if he had to wonder if the cistern was filing? Is his hearing still good enough to be able to tell the difference in the first place? Would I be a villain or a hero to the other folks in the neighborhood because of my “good deed”?
Hmmm, when is the next full moon?