Pop Quiz, Hotshot

Somewhere out there, far away from where I am right now, things are happening that I cannot even begin to understand. Someone doesn’t have access to clean water? What?! People are so hungry their bones . . . What!? How do I give all these issues the attention they need when there is nothing I can do to solve them immediately. I don’t have a genie that can give people food upon request, but if I did:

First wish: 1 McDonald’s every square mile in Africa!
Second wish: a Super Nintendo with every game!
Third wish: TBD!

(I haven’t updated my wish list in a while.)

However, since I am currently genieless, I do my best to make a difference in small ways. Otherwise I will get overwhelmed. Like this one time I was in a cigar bar enjoying the company of some friends when a man joined our group and started talking about what he did in his spare time to make a difference in the world. He made it clear that it was of utmost importance to him that he spend every waking minute that he had away from his time spent making money to make the world a better place for others. All of us in the circle were raising our glasses to him and commending him for his philanthropy and generosity, which we thought was the proper exchange in this situation. “To you, my good man, for making Bill Gates look like a loafer.” But he wanted more. He started going around the circle asking all of us what we were doing with our free time to “give back”. Now I know he was trying to be encouraging to us carefree young men just having a good time on a Saturday night, but the vibe I got was quite opposite from that. Suddenly I was Keanu Reeves on a bus, and Dennis Hopper was administering yet another “pop quiz” I was about to fail. What I wanted to say was that I had the little things taken care of. I’m the guy that will help old ladies pick up their groceries and lend an open ear if you’re having a bad day and need to complain. I wanted to say it’s important to me to make everyone around me feel loved and included in the human race, but it seemed like anything I said would sound to him like I didn’t care about making a difference and I was happy being a horrible person. To make matters worse, one of my friends there that night is a nurse so he was given a pass since he makes a difference for a living. It made me not want to go places with him anymore.

So is what I do for people enough? No. Can I do more? Sure I can. There’s always something to do, but I would rather not feel like my fulfillment or my happiness in life is contingent on an amount of work I do. I guess if I’m going to make a point here, it’s that we should all take time out of our own box every once in a while and be mindful of what is around us, no matter how overwhelming it is. Appreciate what you have, give to those that have need, and remember that we are all here trying to get the same things. And course while we’re doing that, the earth is hurtling through space, stars are exploding, and the universe is expanding. So there’s that.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Think Global, Act Local.”


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