If I don’t get my kind-acting behind in gear, Christmas is going to be here and my blog gimmick will expire I won’t have had time to do all my good deeds.
I had an opportunity for a third one, but I cannot—in good conscience—count it. But it did make me realize something about myself, so I’m going to share it anyway.
Sometimes, my helpful acts are performed more for my own benefit than that of the recipient.
Let me rephrase.
Sometimes, I help people just to get rid of them.
I know it’s wrong. I know that’s not a Christian attitude. But it is what it is.
I had a sociology professor at GSU who asserted people help others for the sole purpose of removing a negative stimulus from his or her own environment.
At the time I thought he was sadly cynical, but this latest encounter made me realize perhaps he’s right.
I had taken Mama shopping for Christmas miscellanies (good deed #2) and had pulled up to the front curb of Kmart so she didn’t have to walk to the car. We were loading the trunk when a man walked up to me.
I see by your tag you’re from Harris County.
Even though he looked a little scruffy, he wasn’t physically threatening, and I figured I could sit on him if things got dicey.
You know where Ellerslie is?
Meanwhile, Mama is fussing with a bag, oblivious.
I hate to bother you, but…
As he wove he woeful tale, I walked to the front of the car and got in, all the while thinking of ways to say no to whatever it is he was going to ask for. I also thought about calling my brother the police officer for a different kind of blue light special.
I tried to call my Dad but no one answered…
Oh, he wants to borrow my phone. Well, he can use the phone in Kmart.
I really need to get home…blah blah…car…blah blah…drive shaft…blah
He was so not getting a ride to Harris County. Besides we hadn’t finished all our errands in town.
Need cab fare…fourteen dollars.
Yes, yes, dear God, yes.
I had ten. I had to ask Mama—who, apparently, had been on Jupiter for the last ten minutes— for five.
Do you have five dollars?
Don’t give that man any money!
Yes, I am. Do you have it?
What does he want it for?
I handed him the money and watched him walk into Kmart with it. And frankly, at that point, I didn’t care if he used it to buy Mad Dog 20/20 or a vacuum cleaner filter. He was gone.
Bottom line, my belief or disbelief in his story was completely irrelevant.
I chose to pay that man $15 to make him GO. AWAY.
Now, in my defense, he SHOWED me his colostomy. I managed to make it through three years of school, a year of externship, and nearly 15 years of practice without having seen so much as a photo of a colostomy.
And now that I’ve seen one, I’ll never be the same.
I’m out $15, my blissful ignorance of colostomies, and I can’t truly count this as a good deed because my motives were completely self-serving.
*No pun intended