A 68 year old man named Ronald Avers in East St. Louis, Illinois, has been accused of sticking sewing needles into packages of meat at a local supermarket. There’s absolutely no plausible reason for doing something so awful. No excuse could possibly make this alright. When questioned by the FBI, Mr. Avers said he did it “just for the hell of it“. Just for the hell of it?! That’s his excuse for sticking pointy things into food products?! Also, what’s with East St. Louis, Illinois? That sounds as bad as West New York, New Jersey. City planners and public relations people should take a lesson from Californians, who long ago changed the name of North Tijuana to San Diego.
To be fair, “just for the hell of it” is not a bad rationale for doing certain things. Marrying a stripper in Vegas or getting an ornamental scrotal piercing are both excellent examples of things which can all be done for just such a reason. In fact, there may be no other legitimate point behind doing those things. Playing hide the needle with rump roasts and ground chuck though, requires a better explanation than that old stand-by.
People sometimes do ill advised things because of getting some ill advice. Who hasn’t stuck a fork in an electrical socket on the advice of evil siblings? Later in life, in a move possibly related to that childhood jolt, we vote for candidates we don’t know anything about because celebrities tell us to. When asked why we did such foolish things, the answer is simple enough – just rat out the adviser.
Some of us occasionally do things because we were told not to. Green means “Stop” and red means “Go”. These ladies and gents took the brown acid at Woodstock despite Chip Monck’s warning that it was bad, man. They look directly at the sun during eclipses and to this day, many routinely stick Q-Tips right into their ear canals disregarding clear instructions to avoid doing so. When asked why they insisted on doing the opposite of what they were told, they don’t answer, possibly due to hearing loss from the improper use of ear swabs.
Others have done all sorts of things because God, Allah, or The Flying Spaghetti Monster said to. If divine directions are lacking, folks have obeyed the urgings of voices in their heads and in one notorious case, to the commands of their neighbor’s dog. Lacking direct orders, people do the things which they believe to be right and necessary. If you have strong enough convictions, there’s no limit to the bedlam you can perpetuate.
As heinous as an act might be, having an excuse makes it slightly more acceptable to both the perpetrator and the rest of us. Doing really stupid things is part of human nature, coming up with some kind of excuse for it immediately afterward should be as well. For the record, I didn’t bite into a pork chop with a straight pin sticking out of it. Had I done so, I imagine my outrage toward Mr. Aver’s lack of having a good reason would have been even more pointed. Maybe a prolonged stay in the hoosegow will give him the time to come up with something a little more substantial.
In the meantime, let’s all cut our meat carefully because everyone knows being a copycat of idiotic behavior is the second oldest excuse of them all.