I used to go to a diet club. Everyone would line up to be weighed, and their weight recorded in a little book. We all had little books we had decorated like primary school projects, with flowers and butterflies and aspirational pictures. I had a photo of myself looking younger and less fat to help propel me toward my goal. At the time I didn’t see a problem with using an image from my past to represent my desired future, but I that was probably one of the less absurd aspects of this entire exercise in futility.
We would then gather to hear a motivational talk, ooh and ahh over some educational bullet points and graphs, ask questions about how many Tiny Teddies we were allowed to eat, and then buy a few boxes of bullshit diet food to get us through the week. Fun stuff.
I remember one particular evening stepping onto the scales thinking I had had a good week, and horror of horrors I had gained 1.5 kilos. The supervisor’s eyes bugged out and she yelled at me ‘Omigod what have you been DOING?’
I slunk away, my little book sullied with the hideous number scribbled bossily under list of what had been decreasing digits. I felt humiliated, but as if my humiliation was fully deserved because I was a Terrible Person. I’m polite and considerate, I pay my taxes, I try to think before I speak, I am mindful of my carbon footprint, but don’t let any of that fool you. I gained weight. I’m a Terrible Person.
Now imagine if all politicians, CEOs, business owners and similar leaders of the community were to line up once a week to be weighed on a scale that reflected the integrity of their interactions and decisions that week. Imagine if every dodgy deal, every accepted bribe and every pen stroke that allowed injustices to continue would weigh this person down so that a value would pop up on a digital screen that could be read and interpreted by a highly-strung woman in skinny jeans and big earrings who would then get in their face and yell ‘Omigod what have you been DOING?’
It might be a very different world.