Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Dissection of the Basic Good, also "Travis is a Jackass."

I have a lot of faith in humanity.

I'm pretty sure I've told you all this before, but I'd like to reiterate that I believe in the basic good in every person. I also believe that if you put your faith in that basic good into action, then you will be rewarded more than you will be disappointed.

As a believer in that basic good, I try to contribute to it whenever I can. I like to say nice things about people when I can (notwithstanding a few errant diatribes, i.e. some of these blogs), I hold doors for people, and I just generally try to be what I expect people to be to me.

This past week, I've had a couple of experiences with people being exceptionally polite or nice to me. I am certain that no one will ever recognize them for it, so I'm choosing to do it now, as well as tell a story linked to a Facebook status I posted earlier this week.

I went to a grocery store in Warner, Oklahoma a couple of nights ago, and as I was leaving with my items, a mom and her little boy walked in the door I was preparing to exit. My hands were full, and the mom looked at me and walked by, not taking a second glance. The little boy was about ten, and he quickly followed his mother, then looked up and saw me. He immediately turned around, went back to the door, and opened it for me. I was blown away. I looked at him, bent down a little bit to get on his level, and said, "Thank you very much sir, that was very kind."

I have hope for future generations because of that kid.

Yesterday, I took The Missus out for our weekly lunch date. I'm either at school or working pretty much the whole week through now, so we don't see each other very often. We went to Miss Addie's Pub in Muskogee, sat down, and had a very nice meal. We talked and laughed, and I made a huge effort to ignore my phone for the hour we had together. I also had a gin and tonic. Don't judge me.

I paid the bill, then we left. I dropped her off at work, and then went to get my truck washed. As I pulled up to the machine that takes the money, I looked at my wallet and realized I'd left my debit card at the Pub. I called them, and they told me that yes, I'd left it, and yes they had it sitting in the cash register, ready for me to pick up any time I wanted to. To some people, that might seem like a normal expectation, and maybe it should be. But I feel like they should be recognized for it, simply because it was an act of honesty and integrity that would otherwise pass unnoticed, and therefore unappreciated, by all.

My thanks to you, employees of Miss Addie's.

And now, the greatest thing to happen to me this week.

I walked into a convenience store on Monday morning to get some refreshments before class. I grabbed a bottle of water and got in line to check out. As I was waiting, I got a little rumbly in the ol' tumbly. You know what I'm talking about. Not the "sweet Moses I have to find a bathroom now or it's gonna get real" kind of rumble, but the "Hey, you know what sounds good? Chips and beef jerky," kind of rumble. Being somewhat on a diet (read: taking a prescription diet pill) I decided against chips and beef jerky and stepped out of line to grab a Special K bar.

Assuming I had given up my place in line, I went to get behind the young lady who was standing behind me just moments before. As I did, she looked at me and motioned me back in front of her, saying, "Go ahead." I said, "You sure?" and she nodded yes. I thanked her, and turned to complete my transaction. Before I did, I looked at the items she held in her hand and did a quick tabulation of about how much they cost. Since I am terrible at math, I calculated what I think was a can of pop and candy bar to come out to around five dollars. Don't judge me.

As I got my change back, I got an idea. I handed the cashier a five dollar bill and said, "Go ahead and use that to pay for her stuff." The cashier just looked at me and started blinking repeatedly, like maybe she needed to blink in order to process information correctly. Eventually she arrived at understanding, then smiled. I walked towards the door, and as I opened it, the young lady behind me said, "Thank you, you didn't have to do that."

I'd like to set aside this paragraph for explaining that sometimes I can get a bit full of myself. I don't mean to, but if I do something nice, I like to think I'm the greatest philanthropist of all time, and I know that's wrong. Don't judge me.

Full of my philanthropic benevolence, I turned smartly on my heel and pointed at her to deliver my final line, sort of a "say it and ride into the night and never look back" kind of line, one that was full of meaning, and designed to instantly let this young lady and the cashier know that I was not only a good person, but well-spoken as well. I wanted it to look as though my words were divinely inspired on High by the Lord Himself, and carried from lips by flaming angels.

"No ma'am, thank YOU. It's nice to know there aren't douchebags in the world."

Me, delivering the line, anointed with the fire of the Lord, and the cashier behind the counter.
The benefactor of my generosity was not pictured because the expression of gratitude on her face cannot be captured in any medium.
Full of pride and impressed at my rich vocabulary and use of syntax, I executed a perfect about face and promptly fell over a pyramid shaped cigarette ashtray.
I call this "Fallen Messenger." 
As I struggled valiantly to pick up both the ashtray and my pride, I comforted myself with the knowledge that I would never have to see either of them again. I left the store, and continued on my way to biology, full of life lessons and with a funny Facebook status to share with you all.

But what I didn't tell you...

...is that she walked into Biology class right behind me.