The only ones escaping this brutal ritual are those with old-fashioned character. Their names never enter the grapevine. A protective aura surrounds them.
One, for example, simply adopted the dog of the neighbor who had died. That was that. He and the neighbor weren't especially close.
Another will lend a hand, even to an enemy. She doesn't view suffering as a way the universe teaches miscreants lessons. It's a demand on her to be there.
As we Baby Boomers were growing up, character wasn't something that could be singled out here and there, as in my complex. It was everywhere. Teachers who wrote our recommendations for college were required to refer to our character. We put together so many compositions in English class on the subject.
Then came affluence. The shot at wealth, fame and status trumped any focus on character. Not even the straight arrows would refer to character. It just wasn't done. Our world became all about career paths. Then career paths were blown into a billion bits by globalization and technology. Here we are, in 2015, just trying to pay our bills and remain emotionally glued together during so much economic change.
Will our culture return to aiming to "have good character?" The New York Times columnist, David Brooks, is optimistic. His book is "The Road to Character." It's number 13 on Amazon.com. Yes, the subject of character has gotten our attention, again.