Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What is "right?"

I haven't written anything here for quite a while. When I arrived,there were several cobwebs, some dust piles, and something that I swear was gnawing on a bone, huddled in a corner. Upon chasing whatever the Hell that was out, and a little sweeping, I find myself sitting here at a keyboard, with some things to get out and onto virtual pages.

I have to say that first of all, I am depressed. I am a happily married man with a beautiful wife, ambitions of starting a family, and some great friends. Unfortunately, I have some things in my life that simply refuse to catch the wave, and as a result, leave me in depressed state. Knowing that I have those other things in my life that are very positive makes me sure of the fact that I won't stay depressed long, but none the less, I am down. I won't get into any detail about what exactly is the bane of my existence right now, because I don't really think it would do you, or me any good. What I will tell you about, is something that happened to me today that might actually fuel a positive swell, and a ride that if you'd like to, please, jump on.

I went down to the little general store down the street from where I work so that I could get a snack. Our office here has been lacking lately in the snacky-snack department, and I had a craving for some Combos; cheddar cheese wrapped in a cracker barrel shell. I went to the beverage cooler and grabbed a fruit punch Vitamin Water before turning around and selecting my little bag of hunger relief. I waited in line behind two women who were of the same mind as I, while they purchased their snacks and hope and prayer scratch tickets.

Nearly a minute goes by, as I stand patiently in line, while the two women swipe their payment cards and enter some probably poorly chosen pin numbers. Their cards accepted, they obliviously leave the store and make room for me to do some business. My Combos and Vitamin Water are rung up, I'm given a total, and I reach into my wallet and pull out a bill for which I would need change back. As the cashier is occupied meticulously counting out my return, I take a look down at the counter, and the various chewing gums and mints that are available. I don't really know why I looked, but I suppose I always do something like surveying my surroundings at a time like this.

I see to my left some packages of Stride gum, and I chuckle to myself as I remember some of their more clever and humorous commercials. Something was blocking the items to the right of the Stride, and I think nothing of it as I continue down the line, and make eye contact with the Tic Tacs. Their commercials aren't as amusing to me, so I went back left so I could discern what the blockage was over the other items. It was a tri-fold, black leather, man's wallet. It looked like a small tent, as it was folded open with the open side facing down, resting on what I later discovered to be more Stride gum. I picked it up, and the next thing I can see is that this wallet is not empty. There were two rather large wads of cash folded into the wings of the wallet, with perhaps some receipts residing in the middle of the tri-fold. I was speechless. All of this was happening very fast, as you can imagine, since there really is very little time between one giving money and then receiving change.

I'm going to stop here for a minute so that I can ask the question that you read in the title of this blog. What is "right?" What is "the right thing to do" in this small corner of time? I'm sure that everyone has been asked at some point or another, "What would you do if you found a wallet full of cash that wasn't your own?" There are, of course, two very different immediate answers. 1. Keep the damn thing. You found it, right? 2. Return it to its rightful owner. You would want yours back if you lost it, right?

Well, my brain didn't even give me a chance to ask that question of morality to myself. I picked up the wallet, looked at the cashier as she handed me my change, and said, "This was on the gum..." She looked at me like I told her a dirty limerick that she had yet to understand and said, "What do you mean?" I repeated myself and pushed the wallet in her direction. She took the wallet and looked at it for a second while I added, "Someone just left it here on the gum." She put the wallet down behind the counter and said she was sure someone would be making a phone call seeking their lost wallet. I agreed and left the store, heading back to work with snack and drink in hand.

I suppose I am very satisfied with myself, knowing that my first instinct in this scenario was to immediately not assume possession of something wasn't mine. I do believe that everyone wants to be a good person, and I take some pride in knowing that I didn't even have to choose. At the same time, like I said, I am depressed, and debt happens to be a partial contributor. I don't know how much money was in that wallet, but I know that I could have used it. Was the wallet a sign of a higher power helping me in my time of need? Was the wallet there to test my moral fiber in someone else's time of need? Was the money left for me, or was it left for me to return? Was there a better choice than Combos for my snack? I don't expect anyone to be able to answer these questions because no one can. No one knows exactly what was supposed to happen for me at that moment.

Not keeping the wallet did effect my depression in two ways. At first I was more depressed that I didn't hold onto the wallet. I could have counted the money, weighed whether or not to keep it, and wrestled with that whole monster. There was a way to instantly help my situation, and to possibly let me come out on top with a little to spare. Then, I was happy that I didn't keep it. Like I said, I was happy with myself for not even entering into a situation where I had to weigh pros and cons, and ultimately decide between good and bad like some kind of lack-luster after school special. Being the proverbial "good person" really can make a difference on many levels.

After all of this is said and done, and after I have written about it here, I must say that I feel better. For the better part of the day, I had been letting the things that depress me take over. The things that are getting me down are small, miniature in comparison to the greater things in my life that bring me nothing but joy. Thanks for reading, and I hope you've been inspired to focus on what brings you happiness. The weight of the world doesn't have to be too heavy.


Anonymous said...

Though I feel a bit saddened by your state of mind at the moment, I am glad you made a choice that made you feel good, feel proud, of the man you are. you bring me great joy, as I'm sure you are aware. and I'm proud of you, of the man you are. I love you.

ExistentialChris said...

Thanks, Baby. I love you too!