By Russell Ethridge
I had to go out the back door to smoke at a customer’s shop recently. There I found the shop’s regular “smoking lounge,” with a picnic table and butt can outside. When it’s cold, people prop open the door and stand just inside it.
When I got there, the door was propped open with a bucket. After fnishing my smoke, I slid the bucket out of the way to close the door and it tipped over, knocking the lid off and dumping a clear liquid over the grass and dirt. The label on the bucket said it was tricolor, a degreaser. I really didn’t smell anything so I just set it upright and let the door close. I know about environmental concerns.
A few years ago, my company had to spend huge amounts of money to excavate soil and monitor ground water after a fuel spill. Should I tell someone now? I don’t think anyone saw me, and I don’t even know if it was anything other than water.
The mother of all TV food chefs, the late Julia Childs, is reported to have remarked after an omelet slipped out of the pan during one of her live TV broadcasts, “Remember, you’re in the kitchen and no one saw that.” Fortunately, many of our awkward and clumsy moments go undetected, and we generally feel no obligation to subject ourselves to the embarrassment that disclosure might entail unless we have a need to “get it off our chest.” The exception is when our acts create consequences to ourselves or others beyond our private embarrassment.