Friday, September 23, 2011

Today's fortune: September 23, 2011

Today's fortune: A pleasant surprise is waiting for you.

I was hoping this fortune was going to mean I would find out about that little gig I interviewed for at work on Wednesday, the gig in which I would help out the training staff for the new group of widget makers coming in. But I didn't find out, one way or the other.

The surprise that was waiting for me turned out to be even better. I had the chance to share an ethical lesson with a growing young mind.

After work today I picked up my Little Brother for a couple hours of hangin' out. We didn't really know what to do, so we ended up just driving around, and eventually stumbled upon a couple garage sales. At one, I bought a really cool picnic basket for two bucks, and a picture frame for two quarters.

It was at the second garage sale where the ethical bomb dropped.

Rayne was looking at a table of trinkets and knick knacks. I asked him if anything caught his eye, and he pointed to this (hideous) dragon sculpture thingy. I picked it up and turned it over to see if there was a price on the bottom. There was not, but when I turned it over I discovered it contained a secret comparment. The lid fell off the compartment and smacked on to the cement. A little piece broke off the top.

In my head I was scrambling. The proprieters of the garage sale hadn't seen me do it, and if I had been alone - I hate to admit it - I may have placed the statue back on the table and walked away. But I couldn't do that, not with my impressionable 11-year-old Little Brother standing there. So I 'fessed up.

"Excuse me, sir," I said. "I just broke this. I'm sorry. How much were you asking for it? I'll pay for it if you want me to."

Now, I did the right thing by speaking up, and the guy did the right thing, too - sort of. I guess he could have said, "Don't worry about it, pal, accidents happen." But no. However, the item wasn't priced, and he could have easily told me, "Ohhh, that piece? It's a priceless family heirloom. I was asking five hundred thousand dollars for that." But instead, he said, "two fifty." As in two dollars and fifty cents.

I fished in my pockets and found that I had only a dollar and a quarter. I asked Rayne if he had any money, and he said, "I have a Mexican dime!" The guy didn't want it. So I told him I would go to an ATM and come back.

On the walk back to the truck, I told Rayne, "We could have just walked away, but that wouldn't have been right. It's important for a man to stand up and take responsibility for his actions." Rayne nodded, and I knew he understood.

We drove away before I realized I actually had a five-dollar bill hidden in my wallet, the money Jamie and I use when we're making silly bets with each other - you know, like "Five bucks if you honk at that jogger," or "Five bucks if you whistle the tune from 'Happy Days' inside this antique store." I hated to spend it, but I didn't want to pay ATM fees for a two-dollar purchase.

As we drove back to the garage sale, Rayne said, "I'll bet that guy doesn't think we're coming back. But we're good people, aren't we?"

"That's right, buddy," I said, beaming with pride. I gave him the dragon. He's gonna super-glue it back together.

The two-fifty? Money well spent.

We're having some friends over for a backyard barbecue tonight. My daily carrot is going on the grill.