I have, over the years, come to kind of a conclusion about something: I seem to suffer far less from shame, guilt and/or embarrassment than most people. This is a bold statement, because those same most people will think that is in itself, shameful, immodest, and potentially sociopathic. However, as I am not easily embarrassed, I am able to make my statement and stand behind it, and as far as I can determine I am not a serial killer or a bank executive so I am not really too worried about the pathology of my standing. I am used to being an outlier, one way or another.

Now this is not to say that I have not ever been sorry for something I have done. REGRETS? I’VE HAD A FEWWWWW. But shame? That is pretty heavy if you think about it. To be ashamed is to feel worthless, and judged, almost unforgivable. Shame seems to be a major component in most of the religions of the world. If a source of authority teaches you over and over and over that you were born imperfect, failurey, and downright bad, well, you must think they know, right? And this keeps you in line, and controllable. It is very very effective, which is why all kinds of authorities use it, from the Pope to your Grandma Stinging-Nettles with the insistent tapping cane and unfortunate mustache.

There are many who will argue that, as people are born shameless and all wild and ruthless and such, that you must instill this in the young or you will have a society of selfish, no-pants-wearing rude people who will steal your truck and tell you unfunny jokes. I will argue against that idea, because I am shameless and also correct. There is such a tremendous difference in constructively teaching the basic common-sense rules of life and just going straight for the destruction of the soul. It’s like trying to get a splinter out with black-hole vortex Hoovering power of the average television starlet. No one needs that much suckage.

Shame just goes right in and wipes the deck clear, saying it is YOU who are bad, and doesn’t address the problem at all. And in fact, when you spend a whole lot of time convincing someone they are intrinsically awful, sometimes they get much, much WORSE. Fuckit, they say, I’m a shit so I’m gonna show them all how shitty I can be because that is what they expect. Why bother to try to be good?

People are imperfect, and they are going to mess up, each and every one of us. But how can you feel guilty about being a human? That’s CRAZY TALK. You can just try to do the right things, and when you screw up, try to make amends as best you can and go on to your next triumph or screw up. The same most people who spend so much precious time worrying that they are unworthy and might do something embarrassing at any second, are also usually pretty reliably decent. Day to day right and wrong is fairly simple to get the hang of, and almost everyone just wants to get along and wants no trouble, given or received. Cut yourself a break, folks. You are OK, and I know I am OK. There’s a book in there, eh?

For the real actual unredeemable vicious freaks, I suggest this: triple-verify all the psychos, clear out Puerto Rico, Catalina Island, Alcatraz, Hilton Head, South Padre Island, and all of the Florida Keys and declare them all Sociopath Islands. All the people who have no conscience and enjoy hurting others can all live together and sort it out as they go. Now of course this would be fully televised, with play-by-play commentary from Bob Costas, a random kindergartener, and Adam Carolla, who could use the work. Then all the pretty much OK regular human folks could easily see what real BAD was, and feel good about themselves.

That I cannot make this happen? A shame.