#52sparks: Guilty Pleasure

Who gets to define “guilty pleasure”? I have watched enough Law & Order shows to understand the concepts of guilt and innocence, and lived in the U.S. enough to know those concepts are not justly enforced. But let’s just focus on a a simpler version of the philosophical challenge.

Guilt is related to doing something wrong, and pleasure is about something enjoyed. Right? I’m writing this without a Google or Wikipedia check so please let me know if I have completely gone off the rails on these definitions. By the basic addition of one plus one: a guilty pleasure should be something that a person does that is wrong and that they enjoy.

A few times this week I’ve gone for runs even while my hip was hurting me. I shouldn’t have gone for those runs. I should have spent a lot more time stretching instead and used a heating pad a whole lot. I was guilty for not following the rules of athletic injury. And I enjoyed spending time outside, especially when I had a lot of open park space to myself. So, were those runs guilty pleasures?

What about choices I’ve made during the self-isolation months of Covid-19 in 2020? Is going outside when I don’t have to a guilty pleasure? Binging a British baking show when I should be grading papers? Taking a nap when the floor remains unvacuumed? Buying a new camping chair for a possible trip next July?

From some perspectives, these choices are all totally fine and from others they might be high crimes and misdemeanors. While trying to stay sane in the age of Covid, we should all be doing what is needed to be kind to one another and to be kind to ourselves.

I believe in the basic concept: Innocent until proven guilty. And as an act of kindness to myself, I’m offering official pardon over my supposed guilty pleasures. And you are welcome to use this pardon as an example of kindness you can share too.

Now shooting a man in Reno, just to watch him die, that is a whole other situation…


“We are the spark, that will light the fire that’ll burn the First Order down” (Poe Dameron, Star Wars: The Last Jedi). – #52sparks is my year-long writing series for 2020, based on an art prompt challenge. The spark that lights a fire to toast a marshmallow or to ravage a forest begins in the space of an inch. This series is to explore what hundreds of inches and words can do.

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