Sunday, June 01, 2008

Charity Never Faileth......Really, You Should Never Say Never!

I really do try to act as a living embodiment of The Golden Rule- Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.....Weeeeelllll, most of the time anyway. A few years ago I had one of those perfect "teaching moments" fall into my lap while driving home from the grocery store with my truckload of mini-Infidels.
I remember that day vividly. The scorching Houston summer heat bore down upon us and I had to double up the butt towel patrol to protect my truck's seats from the sea of saltiness whooshing out of me. As we drove onto the main street that runs through our neighborhood I could clearly see the trash guys struggling to lift the heavy receptacles at the curb. The two kept taking turns tugging trash cans to the truck while the other stood still, hands on his knees, beet red and panting for air. How I pitied these men and wanted to help ease their burdens.......oh alright, my heart doesn't exactly circulate blood filled with purely altruistic motives. The truth is that at that point I had two kids still in diapers. I knew that it was imperative to keep these guys from dropping with a severe case of heat stroke because that would mean we'd be stuck with the rancid bag of crappy diapers festering in the garage for another week. And then I remembered the box of Fruity Popsicles we just bought at Kroger's.........

I pulled over and got out with the open box of Popsicles to offer to the trash guys. I intended for them to select whatever flavor they wanted because everyone should have their free agency; even in Popsicle flavor selection. Besides I wasn't quite sure of proper cultural etiquette. Gifting a fruity purple Popsicle to an hombre from a Spanish speaking country might be construed as an insult to his manhood and I desperately wanted to avoid that. Both men smiled at me and I was delighted to discover that the language of frozen yumminess on a stick is Universal and requires no words which is lucky since my High School Spanish teacher, Senora Cottle, never taught us the right phrase to use when approaching strange men on the street and offering up our goodies.

The one guy plucked the entire Popsicle box out of my hand. I guess his mamacita never warned him of the dangers of accepting ice cream from strangers. So, I stood there waiting for them to make their selection and give me back the box. They didn't. Instead, the men took the box to the driver which I thought was a really sweet gesture........and then they waved at me while yelling GRACIAS! and took off leaving me Popsicle-less and with a truck full of cheesed-off mini-Infidels. They kept bugging me asking why I didn't give the trash guys something else other than their beloved Popsicles. I tried to reason that waving around a bag full of zucchini or a box of Frosted Flakes cereal might have made the moment a bit confusing for all parties involved. I didn't let the garbage guys get away with it, though. No, I silently cursed them that they would become cross-eyed from an insanely painful bout of brain freeze.

Launch Charitable Effort Round Two:
I'm a slow learner. Later that same year we had a precipitous drop in temperature around Christmas with freezing drizzles of rain showing up at mid-day. By then we had a different team of trash guys. I don't know maybe they have a trash guy time share condo somewhere that the first group gets to enjoy in the winter along with their absconded Popsicle bounty. I watched as the trash truck mosied slowly up the street. The lone garbage picker-upper guy was wearing only a faded blue tank-top despite the harsh weather conditions. I tried to squash that naggy still small voice in my head advocating that I take immediate action in helping this fellow child of God. I lost. Really, what could I do? I ran to get one of Papi's super warm hooded sweatshirts to give to the shivering trash guy. You know what? He happily took it. Then he shook the sweatshirt out and turned it over as he held it up in the air examining it. My moment basking in the glow of charitable goodness was fleeting as he then walked up to the cab of the trash truck and threw the sweatshirt inside. With a big smile and a hearty GRACIAS! the truck lurched forward, rounded the corner, and disappeared out of sight with the tank-top guy holding onto the back rails while still shivering.

I sincerely hope that someone, somewhere recorded these moments into The Book Of Life. I'm sure that I should be able to gain some leeway for my many transgressions due to my selfless act of keeping the seat of a trash truck toasty and warm on a bitterly cold winter's day.

31 comments:

Melissa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa said...

Well, it just so happens that I KNOW the guy who keeps all the records for the Book of Life... I'll make sure he puts a good word in for ya!

Alice said...

Awww...I wrote it in my Book of Life. But the only way you'll be able to redeem these acts is with an extra 250 skee-ball tickets from Chuck E. Cheese. I figure you'd be good for at least 60 days outta Purgatory for all that.

Stacey said...

I have no doubt that these acts of kindness are in The Book of Life.

Maybe someday you will open your door to find a box of popsicles. They will probably be melted but it's the thought that counts right?

I can't believe he threw away that sweatshirt! Sheesh!

Jay said...

See, it's things like that that stop people trying, isn't it? I wouldn't have worried too much about the sweatshirt, as I generally have a bag I'm about to give to charity anyway, so no skin off my nose if he wears it or keeps the seat warm. The popsicle episode would have pissed me off, but next time, I'd have counted the men, taken out that number of popsicles and handed them over to sort out among themselves!

Nothing makes me so bad tempered as having been made to regret a good turn.

And then I feel guilty. Vicious circle.

Jami said...

I'm betting that he was saving the sweatshirt until he was done so he would have something warm and dry to wear. Or he was going to give it to his naked cousin at home. Surely he was being charitable as well. (It hurts less to think of it that way.)

However, you need improvement in the guarding of the goodies. You've gotta guard the goodies. Repeat after me: "Por favor. Uno por [point]. Uno por [point to the next one] Ocho por mis ninos" And smile while holding your hand out.

(By the by, thank ya kindly for the comment over at my blog. I feel so real now.)

Lola said...

I think you were nice no to punch the crap out of the guy that took the whole box...and left you with angry kids! There is nothing worse than a kid without a popsicle....well, maybe a kid with an Otter Pop that he can't open because he isn't allowed to touch knives, or scissors, or anything else remotely sharp because he has cut his hair..sissy's hair, barbie's hair, a chunk out of the carpet, and your new couch................that would be worse...

I'm just sayin

Millie said...

These white beans went in your jar in heaven, I'm sure. Don't give up on being kind. :)

Amber said...

These are impressive, truly they are. But there is no greater gift (at least according to The Book of Life) than wiping the sweaty brow of a sweaty passerby with your butt towel....

compulsive writer said...

Oh my. An extra dose of charity points for you, I'm sure.

(Oh, and Amber's comment totally cracks me up--sorry about the bad pun. Not too sorry, but a little.)

Elizabeth-W said...

That is about the saddest story I ever heard. Those poor infidel-babies! :(

Tracy said...

I'm just impressed that after they took all of your popsicles, you still wanted to help the cold guy. I think that should earn you extra points in the book of life.

And extra ones for having to listen to the mini infidels complain about the loss of their popsicles too.

I bet you're just racking up the points!

Lisa said...

I can just imagine your little children waiting for their popsicles to come back and watching them drive away. :(

YOU are so thoughtful! In CA there are no men on the back of the trucks. I forgot they do that there. Here, big arms come out of the truck and pick up the can and dump it in. One driver, no need to give away clothing or popsicles!

Physcokity said...

The stories you have! I think I would probably just keep driving, still feeling bad for the heat stroke/hypothermia victims.

Nada mas

VE said...

I've got a nerdy guy on retainer to hack the book of life and make me look good right before the end...

Nancy Face said...

WHA...? Who ARE these guys, anyway? Sheesh! :0

Anna Maria Junus said...

May you be blessed with an abundance of popsicales and sweatshirts.

Hilary said...

That was hilarious in true infidel style. I'm sure they thought you meant to give them the full box.. probably.. maybe.. pretty sure.

I'm sure your points will count for your acts of kindness.. and for the laughs you evoke.

what's a donzer said...

Hee hee hee. The only way this could possibly been any more selflessly charitable would be if you had handed over Bill Cosby himself with a box of pudding pops. Alas, we are no longer left with that option. :)

J-Mom said...

Hmmmm...lesson learned, or not? Love it, butt towel and all!

Rhonda said...

Maybe the trash guys just aren't ready for your kindness. You should try some of the panhandlers we seem to have in abundance around Houston. I hear they love frozen treats.

Heffalump said...

Wow...this summer you should just keep some super soakers in your car, and if the trash men look hot you can just hose them down...or let your kids hose them down...then they could do a service and exact their revenge at the same time...

jams o donnell said...

For such acts of kindness you surely have a seat booked at the Lord's right hand!

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

This post was really, really long. I just felt like I had to get this story out of my system because my kids still tease me about it nearly 3 years after the fact. Those of you who read it all and even commented have performed an act of charity and selfless mercy. Bless you.

As a reward I'm declaring this CALORIE-FREE DAY!!! Go on and eat all you want......the calories are on me.

Geosomin said...

I can't believe they kept the whole box...
Totally off topic, but I just read your comment tag...you would have LOVED what our neighbor drove when I was in university. He drove an oscar mayer weiner mobile. I kid you not. He was a DJ and bought a weinermobile at a car auction for cheap, fixed it up and drove it around. If I can find a photo I"ll post it...
I *loved* living in the same building as the wienermobile...

Jean Knee said...

Elastic, you just give and give and give.

wynne said...

Oh dear. Acts of Charity Gone Wrong.

Though you know something? Mine usually do that, too, and I'm not even trying to help the trash guys out.

wynne said...

And at first I thought you were going to say he tossed the sweatshirt in the garbage can he was holding. That would have been infinitely worse.

wynne said...

How does Calorie-Free Day work, exactly? Do I have to mail you the wrappers of the popsicles and chocolate that I am going to partake of? This doesn't involve any stomach-pumping, now does it?

wynne said...

I miss the days--er, ONE day--when I got to be FIRST in your comment section. Now, who would be first and then delete the honor?

Suburban Hippie said...

How did I not comment on this one? So funny. I love the happy pops.