Sunday, June 5, 2011

Today's fortune: June 5, 2011

Today's fortune: A small act of charity will go a long way.

As Jamie and I were preparing for our Sunday morning ritual today - reading the newspaper and eating breakfast in bed while watching "CBS Sunday Morning" - I decided to begin what became a series of small acts of charity. After Jamie prepared a nice fruit plate - leftovers from yesterday's baby shower - and I retrieved the newspaper from the driveway, we walked toward the bedroom with Jamie in the lead. Suddenly, I dashed in front of her and said, "Here! Let me get that!" and opened the door.

Jamie gave me a funny look and said, "Thank you?" with the emphasis on the question mark. Then she said, "Oh, wait, I forgot the napkins." I darted past her again and said, "I'll get them!"

"This must be fortune cookie related," she said.

She was perplexed by my kindness until she checked the fortune on her phone.

"So I'm your charity case," she said, not amused.

"No," I said. "You're interpreting it wrong. Just because I'm giving you a small act of charity doesn't mean you're a 'charity case.'"

Let's turn to trusty to see who's right. The site gives two distinct definitions of "charity," and I prefer the second one over the first:

1. Generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless.

2. Something given to a person or persons in need.

Of course, Jamie is not poor, ill or helpless (well, okay, a little bit poor). But I think she was in need, the way we're all in need, of simple acts of kindness.

During the course of running errands with Jamie this afternoon, I made five more small acts of charity. The only expenditure on my part was two dollars, a few extra seconds, and a few dozen footsteps. Let's take a look at each SAOC (Simple Act of Kindness) and how each paid off:

SAOC 1: Jamie and I drove to PetSmart today to buy cat food and litter. In the parking lot, I walked a few extra steps out of my way to retrieve a cart in the parking lot.

The reward: We needed a cart anyway. And, the damn thing was taking up two prime parking spaces. Besides that, maybe I kept an underpaid pet store employee from having to walk out in the pre-summer heat just to retrieve a cart.

SAOC 2: Upon paying for our supplies, I donated a dollar to help homeless pets.

The reward: All three of our cats came from shelters. Jamie and I are big proponents of animal shelters. Donating a buck was the least I could do. And it gives me an excuse to run a picture of some cute animals:

SAOC 3: After we were done shopping, instead of leaving the cart in the parking lot, I pushed it back into the store.

The reward: God knows I could use the exercise. And, see SAOC 2.

SAOC 4: As we drove away from PetSmart, I allowed two women to cross in front of my truck. This was not at a crosswalk; it would have been well within my rights to drive on past.

The reward: Maybe I made their shopping trip a little easier. Besides, one of them had a really cute butt, so I was able to stare at it for a few seconds. (Sorry, Jamie.)

SAOC 5: To refresh ourselves on this warm day, Jamie and I drove through McDonald's for some icy beverages. At the drive-thru window, I placed a dollar inside the drop box for the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

The reward: From the organization's website - "The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities is to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well being of children." 'Nuff said.

I admit it: without today's fortune, I probably would not have performed any of these seemingly small acts. Sometimes we all become encased in a cocoon of selfishness, and only something like a message from the fortune cookie gods can snap us out of it.