Listen, it’s just hell having a conscience. Every time you want to do something innovative or interesting, your conscience starts torturing you and bellyaching and pushing you around. It’s a wonder you don’t just give up and go back to bed some days.
Take today. You get a novel idea. This is just fine, till your conscience starts tearing into you.
Conscience: You’re thinking of cheating on him, aren’t you?
You (sulkily): Well, yeah, I guess. Maybe.
C: What’s he going to do without you?
You: He’ll be fine. Probably.
C: In this economy?
You: Oh, stop being so melodramatic.
C: He’s always treated you well.
You: Not always. Remember how critical he was … the last time?
C: Well, nobody’s perfect.
You: He’s really pretty conceited. I’m tired of him putting on airs all the time. Talking about all the other women he “does.”
C: Like you never put on airs yourself. What makes you think you can do better than him?
You: Shut up! Leave me alone! (garbled and deranged screams)
You slam your hands over your ears, then peel them off when you get to the phone. You dial a number from a business card before your conscience can stop you. You know that — technically — it’s cheating. But who cares? You are finished with him. You are sick and tired of being patronized. You will go your separate way. You will retain your dignity and your peace of mind. You will leave him behind.
Funny how things resolve themselves once you finally have the courage, the wherewithal, to take action. When you make the appointment for a haircut with your new hairdresser, you feel calm and in control. Your conscience, that sneaky little prophet of doom and damaged self-esteem, doesn’t make a peep.
(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)