I have been listening to the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin on audio lately. Driving in the car, lifting weights at the SERF, sitting in front of my computer doing some task online. This man was amazing. He made a list of virtues that he wanted to live by, and then kept a detailed log of all of the times he strayed from his goal each day. Can you imagine? Every time you “drink to elevation or eat to dullness” (a breach in the virtue of Temperance), you’d have to mark it in a book! Boy, that might stop me from “just one more beer” or the second scoop of ice cream. My little book would get used up so quickly!
But he’s rubbing off on my, that Benjamin Franklin. Now, when I go through my daily life, I often ask myself what BF would do. WWBFD? (I like saying it because BFD has already been assigned meaning in my txt vocab…and it contains the f-bomb. It feels like I’m getting away with something.)
At the grocery store, my clerk gave me an extra dollar in my change. My bill came to $6.34 and she gave me $4.66 in change. I had paid with an Alexander Hamilton. I hesitated, plucked a single dollar bill from the fan of them, then handed it to her. I explained I thought there had been a mistake. This is a sea change. YES – I ADMIT IT! There may have been a time in life when I would have just considered it my good dumb luck and walked away a dollar richer.
But, I didn’t. Because it would have been unvirtuous.
I am grateful for Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography. It’s making me more virtuous.