When I was a kid, my parents often asked, “If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?”
I’m sure many of you had similar experiences. It was, and maybe still is, the pat response to a child implying they should be allowed to do something for no reason other than that all their friends were doing it.
When I was a child, I came up with what I thought was a very clever response. “That depends,” I’d say. “If they all jumped off and didn’t get hurt, then I’d do it too, because it’s safe.”
“But if they all got hurt,” I’d continue, “then I wouldn’t jump off and they won’t think badly of me because I was smart enough not to follow their bad example.”
“And,” I’d conclude, “if they all died then they’d never know that I didn’t jump.”
I was sometimes a very literal child. I was also a smart ass.