Without skipping a beat, there is an unwritten socially accepted  process of  keeping score. Even if not written or officially legislated,  it would be hard to argue that we do not keep score when modern daily evidence  points to a  powerful secular standard that seeps unnoticed into the fabric of our lives. For example, imagine for a moment a car with a Lexus nameplate. Most assuredly the nameplate is not just a way of establishing the identity of one car from another.  Rather society imperceptibly teaches us that the Lexus name plate is synonymous with a higher social status, a higher sense of worth.  All too well we  learn this subtle indoctrination.

Substitute other “nameplates”  such as a Ph.D degree, a corporate title such as CEO, a brand of Scotch,  an elected office, or a privileged residential address and we get the same subtle outcome. Even if I cannot claim some recognizable public prestige for myself, they at least seem bearable as long as my ego tells me that I am “better than others,” even if just “better”  one other person, even if  this status exists only in my own mind..

—Jack Goldberg is a retired trial attorney. He and his wife Barbara live in Cincinnati. Jack is the moderator of the Moot Court competition team at St. Xavier High School, Cincinnati OH, and an alumnus of St. X.