Good Deeds, and bad deeds
What exactly constitutes a good deed? What makes a bad deed?
When I was in Boy Scouts we use to talk about helping old ladies across the street. The Boy’s Life Magazine always has an article about some kid saving someone’s life and getting an award for it. It’s a feature that has been in the magazine for as long as I can remeber, at least 20 years or so.
My apartment complex has a humungous trash compactor, it’s about 10 times the size of a regular trash can you’d think of normally. But despite that there is almost always a pile of trash sitting in front of it. Sometimes people put something big in it, such as cardboard that dosen’t quite get crunched enough. Or apparently, kids without house keys putting trash in front of it. (The compactor door is locked and is accessed with the apartment key.)
So today I threw all the trash bags there into the compactor. Not a big deal really, I feel bad when the machine runs and I only put one small bag in there. I also pulled out several pop cans to recycle. As I got done I said out loud “There’s your good deed for the day.”
But was it really? Did I help anybody? Or was I self serving? I made a quarter on cans and bottles that I pulled out. I helped the apartment management sure… but they have someone come by everyday to clean it up anyways. So I essentially did that guy’s job for him today.
Now what’s a bad deed? I cant think of anything I’d do that would hurt someone. I’d say not giving pan handlers money is a bad deed – but I’ve heard/read of too many cases where they actually make a crap load of money off of the niceness of random people. The most increadible being one of a guy who works New York during the Summer, then retires to his house on the coast during the rest of the year.
Or is it a bad deed that I don’t talk to my parents any more? I mean, my father asks me when I’m going to cut my hair and get a real job. Keep in mind I make as much or more money then he does working two jobs. My mother… is a meddler, who still dosen’t seem to realize that I’m almost 30 years old, and has my own life. (She’s indirectly a major cause of my breaking up with my ex-fiance.) My brother – the only thing we have in common is genetics. And my sister… I still think of her as a little girl who needs her hand held across the street – granted a lot of that is because I stopped talking to my family when she was just becoming a teenager, so I missed her growing up.
Is it a bad deed that I’ve missed (on purpose) every single funeral in my family over the last 15 years? Funerals for the living to say goodbye, not for the dead who really don’t care much. But my family guilt trips me about it saying “so and so would be sad if you weren’t there.” Right… my great grand father who lived to the ripe old age of 103, was dressed in diapers, hand fed mushed bananas and didn’t have enough memory left to reconize a single one of us is going to be sad.
At that point – I’d be friggin’ happy to be dead personally.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do try to do good deeds when it occurs to me. It’s not that I’m an unthoughtful person. I just have a one-track mind, I do a lot of things on automatic while I’m sorting out a problem in the rest of my brain. Some people just can’t understand how I can get focused on something to the point that everything around me ceases to exist. Let me tell you – it comes from being extremely smart, and being teased at school for every single little thing.
But I do do good deeds, at work I constantly hold doors open for people. Although it’s practically bred into the Nike Culture for some weird reason. Everyone holds doors open for everyone else. People will wait a good thirty seconds for someone to walk close enough to the door. About half the time I’m pushing a cart through, I hit the handicap button which opens one side and leaves enough room for the cart to get through it, yet they’ll still hold open the other side too.
Anyways, to digress – what is exactly a good deed? Is it something that makes someone’s life easier? Is it some little thing that they’ll forget about in thirty seconds? What?