Monday, June 11, 2012


I had an interesting experience when I went to Hobby Lobby recently.

The wife and I went to town because we wanted some art supplies.  Specifically, we were getting supplies to make our stamps for Ze Frank’s aptly named A Show with Ze Frank.  As we went into the store, I rushed in ahead of my wife.  She stayed behind and was opening the door for someone behind her, but I was so jazzed and excited to get these little bits that I could hardly wait to get there and get my supplies.  I know it’s weird, but I get really excited over little projects like this.  However, my enthusiasm doesn’t remain around for very long before I’m on to the next thing.

I rummaged all over the store trying to find various things—a straight edge, some carving board, an ink pad—and all the while, I kept leaving my wife behind.  She’s disabled, and I’m kind of like a little hummingbird.  I flit around from one place to the other with hardly any moment to stop and rest.  I guess a more accurate depiction would be like a cartoon character.  I’m like Roger Rabbit from that one movie.  You know.

So, anyway, when we finally got the parts together, my wife caught up with me because I was busy mulling over which type of stamping materials I wanted and how I wanted to make them and various things like that.  When it comes to these types of decisions, I can be there for a while.  I’m very indecisive.  You can practically hear the dialup signal while I process whatever I’m going over.

So after we got the supplies and checked out, I had to go back and kind of drag my wife away from the register.  She was making small talk with the cashier, and I wanted to hurry up and get back home so I could start working on my stamp.  On the way out of the door, however, I heard a tiny voice call out to me.  I was in the middle of talking with my wife about how awesome this stamp was going to be and how I couldn’t wait to get home to make it, so I almost thought the sound had been in my head.  Then I saw the little old lady by the door.  She said, in her same tiny voice, “Would you mind walking me over to my car and helping me put my walker in it?”

I hesitated for an instant as a dam burst in my brain and a ton of thoughts came flooding through.  First there was confusion, because this was not an experience I had very often.  Then, surprisingly, there was outrage.  For just an instant, I was actually annoyed that this little old lady had the audacity to ask me to help her put some stuff in her car.  I mean, who the hell did she think she was?  Expecting me to help her out when I didn’t know her from Adam?*

Then I realized how much of a total dick I am, quelled that thought, and followed her over to her car to help her put her walker in her car.

The entire way to her car, I still couldn’t help but be skeptical that this was all it was?  Just helping her carry her stuff into her car?  What was the catch?  Did she want to talk about kids today and their lack of morals?  Did she want to mug me?  Did she want to mug me and then bring me to Jesus?**  Did she want to try to get me to donate money to some cause?  Or was this one of those scams where the people tried to pretend they’re all helpless and then you donate money and it turns out that they actually drive a Lexus and you’ve just been played?

I walked the lady to her car, helped her put her walker in her car, and then she thanked me and told me to have a nice day.  I did the same for her and headed back to the car.

I felt like such an ass as I walked away.  When had I become so cynical?  When had I become so infatuated with myself that I was annoyed that some little old disabled lady would ask me for help?  Or that I didn’t have the time and patience to walk a little more slowly with my disabled life?  Why did I expect everyone to bend their lives around me?

Today, I want you think to think long and hard (tee hee) about yourself and how you treat other people?  Was there someone to whom you could have been nicer?  Were you maybe too short with your spouse or child or best friend over something trivial and stupid?  If so, if you notice that maybe you’ve been a bit too self-centered lately, then I have a challenge for you.

I challenge you to find someone and do one nice thing for them.  Help them carry their bags to their car.  Hug them and tell them you love them?  Write them a letter.  It doesn’t matter, just one nice thing.  If you’d like it to be extra challenging, do it for a stranger—someone you don’t know and to whom you have no emotional attachment.  Once you’ve done that, share your stories in the comments and talk about how it made you feel.

* That’s Southernese for: “All Adams look exactly the same.” Because, you know, Adam Sandler and Adam Baldwin are basically the same person, right?

** The two things you never want to hear from someone hanging out in front of a store is their politics and their religious views.  That's where madness lives.