GOOD DEEDS

Someone once said, the smallest good deed is better than the grandest intention. Tyler Perry did a Good Deed by helping a single mother with much-needed stability. Bono does good deeds with his humanitarianism. Clifford teaches lighthearted lessons on the value of helping others. I resolved to do one good deed daily during this holiday season. This week I am going to save on water by drinking hot toddies, leave peppermint bark on cars in store parking lots, take pizzas to employees at burger franchises, and drop off Victoria Secret catalog’s to fire stations for firefighter’s entertainment during down times. A lot of people expect something in return for their good deeds. Not that I need something in return, but if my house ever catches fire, those enchanting fire extinguishers will be there in two seconds flat. And I will do everything those helpful and handsome laddermen tell me to do.

My parents instilled the goodness of giving which eventually carried over into my adult life. Sainthood sort of ran in our family. Dad almost became a devout Jesuit priest until he succumbed to female allurement and married my mother. Then Mom progressed with fellowship by birthing a brood in between volunteering at church. I myself sat in pews week after week nodding off during dullish homilies, and praying for a little role reversal. God could be me, and I wanted to play God. I was convicted several times for petitioning both the pastor and the pope with my wise cracking ideas. However I did try following in the path of my parents by helping out. Like the time Momma asked where her eyeglasses were. I found them upstairs and proceeded to get them to her promptly by sending them down the banister in a laundry basket. I guess I had bobsledding on my mind.

I also engaged in the kindly act of shoveling snow by compacting eight inches of blizzardy substance onto the entire entryway making it into one heck of a slippery slide. In my defense, I was three. As I got older, I helped out by washing colored towels in Clorox without being asked. There’s been so much skepticism whether or not there’s intelligence on other planets. I’m sure my parents wondered if there would ever be intelligence in their own household. In order to be older and wiser, you have to start out much younger and dumber. Even though I never aspired to be a saint, I still felt the humongous temptation to be a good human being. Besides, if I didn’t practice acts of kindness, I wouldn’t get Christmas presents.

One year my own daughters and I took gifts to the hospital children’s ward on Christmas Day. Another season I took my youngest to a senior assisted living facility where we sang Christmas canticles. I can tell you this. I am far more likely to be killed by a falling coconut than by a bunch of elders who don’t appreciate off key caroling during the holiday season. It also tickled my heart helping an older lady friend rake her leaves, even though I expelled bitter expletives every time the wind picked up and blew the leaves all over the lawn again. The breezy unfairness could have kept me from ever offering to rake again.

I was smack dab in the middle of being awesome on another occasion when I helped a girlfriend carry stacks of books and other items for her yard sale. Blood saturated her two dollar lamp shade after my nasty paper cut. I endured yet another blow when she backed into her ten dollar rusty bicycle that fell into my shin, making memories that would last us both a lifetime. In the words of Crowded House, such love can make you weep, or make you run for cover. I did a major courtesy by not asking why she was selling her Mont Blanc pen and fourteen Chia Pets. Her plan was to get rid of everything and my plan was to not die from blood loss or tetanus in the process. Even though I sustained injuries to the tibialis and the nociceptor, I went home a hero. I expected to be in full finger and leg strength two days afterwards for my next good deed.

My boyfriend is a good-deeder. One day while leaving a restaurant with a bag of leftovers, we walked by a man who asked, “Got a hundred?” Now beggars normally ask for a dollar, or a quarter, or your whole wallet if they are holding a gun to your head. We thought it was rather gutsy of this guy and offered him our food instead. Walking away, apprehension begat kindred visions of kindness within my boyfriend’s soul. “I should have given him a hundred” he said, regretting it ever since. More recently while valet parking at a hotel, the young attendant turned over our keys and my guy reluctantly announced, “I only have a hundred.” The teen told us, “That’s okay, don’t worry about it.” Superb timing coupled with my beau’s huge heart prompted him to hand the kid a hundred dollar bill. You would have thought he gave the teen a Ferrari. I myself don’t have that kind of currency to hand over. I’m more prepared to do a quick dance routine or say… “Awww, would ya look at that! There’s a family of squirrels!”

God put me on this planet to accomplish a number of things. A warm chestnut praline latte is one way to a joyful existence, especially if I buy one for the person behind me at Starbucks. I did rob a restaurant a few times, but did my good deeds by returning their pens. And I’m forever replacing toilet paper rolls since some desperate soul may be the next person to need it. Those who can’t say something nice should say it in pig latin, or Yiddish, or at least fake Chinese, then repudiate with kind words and actions since saying and doing positive things have equal powers of well being. My beau compliments me continuously by expressing, “I hope your day is as nice as your butt.” It doesn’t get any better than that. I return the kindful praises by telling him, “I’m glad you aren’t a nut-case!” He assures me, “I’m glad you are!”

CLEAR & PRESENT WAGER

A wager is an agreement between two parties in which the one who has made an incorrect prediction about an uncertain outcome will forfeit something stipulated to the other. My boyfriend and I often participate in this kind of competitive challenging. He makes bets with me that I too won’t be able to find his glasses when they come up missing. It’s like making a wager with a female squirrel that she won’t find a nut. As of now, all bets are off. Particularly since he likes to be right and my money is usually on me. Besides, he likes to bet for sex when I like to bet for things like expensive automobiles and dinners in provinces of France. Thus far, he’s been winning the better part of our bets. Not that I object to his favorable winning requests. I’d just be more inclined to grant his wishes in a Porsche or somewhere in the Cote d’Azur.

As ridiculous as my wagers are, I have to simply assume that he came out of school knowing absolutely everything and he will huff and puff and blow my hypothesis down. Obviously he is the second most competitive mortal I know. Having found the seemingly perfect person to share my life with, it’s still a game of he said she said. And being the trail blazers that we are, we bet on who should sit in the driver’s seat, who should sit on the passenger side, and who should actually be duct taped at the mouth and riding in the trunk. He wouldn’t want it to be him. I go over speed bumps too fast. We do agree that I’m a much better parker and he is much better at seeing stop signs. However he often puts me in the hot seat where I am steeped in the most pendantic details of a subject matter. Once we faced off on aquafarming and the problems of unsustainable fishing. First of all, he had a clear advantage over me. He knows sports. And he’s a fisherman. Now I am smarter than the average reddish-blonde bear. But I’m thinking, how complex can fishing be? You need a rod, beer, boat, body of water, a few fish, and the alluring hooker on board.

My steady opponent went into descriptive statistics and started explaining the economics of fisheries. “Close your eyes and picture all this. Don’t you see?” To be honest, I didn’t see anything but complete and imperforate darkness underneath my eyelids. I bet him that the only way we will really know that the economy is in bad shape is when Ellen DeGeneres starts giving away Slinkies. Since redirecting conversations is one of my finer attributes, I bet him lunch that he wouldn’t know who Gary Oldman is. Which to me is a profound sadness on behalf of filmmaking humanity. But my sweetheart doesn’t like to be distracted while driving. I uttered, “Switch places would ya. I’ve got a Taco Bell burrito riding on this.”

We make bets that there’s a right way and a wrong way to eat sushi. I order a fork first. I tried pulling a pair of chopsticks apart and rubbed them together to remove any splinters. My sushiologist hunny bunny indicated that a good sushi bar and grill would never offer splintery sticks. Then he asked me if I was getting prepared to knit a sweater or start a fire. While attempting to pick up a crab roll, I watched all but three grains of rice fall back onto my plate. My disputing dining mate bet me to use chopsticks the next time we went for spaghetti. I preferred to picture us nuzzling over a plate of noodles without any utensils like Lady and the Tramp. I then bet him to tell the waiter “I’ll have what she’s having” and make a scene by seductively faking an orgasm.

Meanwhile, the eight year old at the next table had already mastered his chopsticking skills while his parents were dining on stir fry. The cat in the sushi hat comes back to inform me that I’m not holding my sticks correctly, and walked over to the next table inquiring how their sauteed pork tasted. Whereas he promptly started singing in a strong Japanese accent, “We will we will wok yoo.” I bet my beau that the guy must have gone to some cooking school of the performing arts with Queen. We leaned over to comment to the couple about the singing and they commented on our betting. The wife who looked like she was ready to burst at the seams stated, “I bet my husband that I wouldn’t get pregnant. It’s been nine months since my last period!”

My man wagered that there would be no wine left in our bottle by the time we were done with dinner. He’s always right. Then again when I don’t check, he distracts me while siphoning the last few ounces. We went to pay our bill betting that the restaurant would charge us for extra eel sauce. I lost three bets that night, plus my fair share of the wine.

My competitive nature kicked in when I recently bet my boyfriend that Pillsbury cake mix is more moist than Betty Crocker. I made both, but added a lot more oil to Pillsbury’s batter. He wondered why it was greasy and kept slipping off his fork. But I have to confess. I was out to win, risking damnation and possibly poor digestion. I plead guilty and earnestly petitioned for a light sentence upon the grounds of extenuating circumstances. I was born to fool. If I could just win more often I wouldn’t have to resort to such trickery. But I figure it this way. Under the law of averages, every time he’s able to find the humor in anything I do, I’m a winner.

It’s a good thing neither of us want to go to Vegas, that advanced state of agitation. I do know a bet I will always win. I can ask him if he’s naked underneath his clothes. But I must say, we adore way more than we annoy each other. That’s why we’ve lasted this long.