Saturday, April 2, 2011

The moral imperatives for making paths (bring on the pink champagne)

We had a blizzard yesterday on April Fool's Day. The picture below is proof it's so and no joke. Today I went out to take pictures of it for posterity, and most importantly shovel a path through it. This reminded me I almost didn't write that thing I thought about while I was out shoveling way back at the beginning of the winter, that shoveling snow is a noble act of charity for others and ought to be celebrated, maybe with Snow Shoveler's Day, on which everyone sends their own much appreciated snow shoveler a bottle of pink champagne--make sure it's in the Spring sometime, long after there's even the slightest chance of another blizzard, such as the one we got yesterday--see photo:


Well darn it all, I see in this blog format only half the picture shows. It may be just as well, since that can be symbolic of something which is only half appreciated. There you see the clumps of snow the shoveler has hoven out, huffing and puffing and remembering her mother's ominous comments of long ago when she told her people were always having heart attacks doing that. Long ago I learned my mother was always right, so that is why I probably have a worried furrow in my forehead while I shovel, though I know I carry the low risk genes for said heart attack and eat plenty of Omego3, you bet, anyway.

But back to the subject of shoveling paths being altruistic behavior of the most emu-la-table kind ever. If you see someone shoveling a path you ought to think about making paths for somebody yourself. It's a good thing to do. Do you know why? Because if you don't the person has to stagger through maybe one or two or three steps into deep, deep snow and then collapse in a heap and find themselves unable to move--clearly if the snow is not deep enough to do this to you, you should just forget doing it at all--this is the kind of snow a priori it is agreed it's important to shovel or else you will be in deep trouble.

Path shoveling is definitely for yourself, yes, but it's also a very nice thing to do for others who might follow after you. It is removing the dangerous obstacles from your path and from that of others who might decide to go in a similar direction for some reason. Paths are broadly generalizable too--paths made over rivers are called bridges and prevent drowning in rapid currents and deep depths, paths made through mine fields are extremely altruistically made and prevent death and dismemberment. This seems far afield from paths through the snow, but only someone who has not tried to cross a field of snow and fallen and has been unable to get up and has started to freeze to death while immobilized would think this. Paths not only provide free easy, comfortable transport through thickly imposed walls of  snow, jungle, rock, water, buried explosives, or other obstacles of the impervious  and dangerous kind, but they save lives and are made by others at considerable expense of time and energy. There--I've said it:  making a path for others and for oneself is a morally sound and admirable activity. It deserves a day of it own in recognition of its noblity on every level...Bring on the pink champagne somebody!

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