Friday, December 21, 2012

Giving = Receiving

I love humanity...on principle. I can be nice. I help out lost tourists if they ask. (Do I send them in the right direction? Generally speaking, yes.) I tip generously. If drivers clearly have to rush home to poo, I let them go ahead when I'm at a crosswalk. I give to charity. I recycle. I call my mom every day. And today, as I listened to her laments about her bad back, it dawned on me that giving isn't better than receiving. Giving is receiving.

Allow me to elucidate. My mom puts up with a lot of crap at work. Apart from the evil administrators who deprive employees of basics like use of the microwave and going outside to eat, her coworkers apparently keep borrowing small amounts of money for lunch and then never pay her back. No big deal; both my parents believe that relationships are far more important than money, and have drilled this value into our heads. But it gets annoying after a year, right? So that's her situation: give, give, give. But then, recently she had a horribly painful backache while at work. It was so bad she started crying. She was all set to go home, but these same coworkers told her not to because her pay would be docked. Their solution? They split up her tasks among themselves so she could rest quietly in the nurses' station. So she got paid back for her generosity. (paid back -- get it? get it?)

Here's another example: FiancĂ© and I were walking home from brunch last weekend when we spotted a giant U-Haul truck with an attached pod trying to maneuver in the narrow streets of the North End. Ever gallant, FiancĂ© spent the next fifteen minutes helping the man make a very tight turn without hitting parked cars. Success! What did Santa's darling helper get as his reward? Why, the gift that keeps on giving: me.

Speaking of me, I got a bonus this week, plus a ton of presents from my coworkers. Seriously -- all the swag barely fit into an oversized bag. I am still trying to puzzle out what I gave in order to receive such bounties. My inspiring work ethic? Ha ha ha! No. My unflagging smile and cheerful hellos for everyone? Maybe. My spirited participation in all entertaining yet strictly useless discussions? Perhaps. My unsolicited showing off of pictures of my cats? Getting warmer, I think.

Whatever it is, I'm convinced that every good deed, like every bad deed, gets its due. 'Tis not just this season; 'tis all year round. Although there appears to be a concentration of good stuff happening around the holidays, selection bias might be at work.

Now if you'll excuse me, apparently someone just fell into the river next to my office, police and the coast guard and firemen are everywhere, I must ogle. From my nice, warm cubicle, obviously. It's wet and gross out there.

Oh, and happy Friday!