11 June 2010

Amazing grace

"Crawford's list of recommended good deeds includes letting a car into traffic, holding the door for someone else, dropping coins, giving time to a charity, or recycling a plastic bottle."

Orange County Register
11 June 2010


I saw this after I returned from walking with AT this morning, while reading the newspaper. It struck me as incredibly sad. What used to be common courtesy (holding the door for someone else) is now touted as a good deed. What used to be considered common charity (giving time to a charity) is now touted as a good deed. Common sense (recycle a plastic bottle) is touted as a good deed. Obeying the traffic law (letting a car into traffic) is touted as a good deed.

What have we become?

Yesterday, the spouse visited the drive through at a fast food restaurant, rare enough in itself, and an employee was standing at the drive through to expedite the lunch rush orders. Pleasantly, because he is a nice man, the spouse ordered his two tacos and Diet Coke.

"You're so easy!" the worker exclaimed. "You wouldn't believe the people who come here and take 10 minutes to order and then are mean about it!"

I had a similar experience a couple of weeks ago. I ordered a half-pound of sliced turkey from the woman behind the deli counter at the grocery.

"It's a little over," she said, looking with concern at the scale, hastening to remove a couple of slices.

"Oh, don't worry," I told her. "I have teenagers. It'll get eaten."

The woman stopped to stare at me. "Really? You don't mind?"

I shrugged. "No. I use weight as a guideline. It gets eaten."

She couldn't believe that I wasn't going to cause a fuss and went on to tell me about people who demanded slices that were measured to the micron, people who made her cut a slice in half so that the weight was exact.

I wish I could say that I thought she was exaggerating. I know she's not.

It's supposed to be common courtesy, behaving with grace with our fellow humans.

Go listen to some good music: "Amazing Grace" a hymn about redemption written by John Newton.

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