Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Spreading Smiles at the Expense of Others

This morning, as I was pulling together breakfasts GoofGirl was lurking around the kitchen. She does this quite a lot – she really wants to be helpful (at synagogue she no longer attends religious services, she makes a beeline for the kitchen to help out.)

But this morning she had another agenda. When I stepped out of the kitchen, I came back and found she had placed a banana next to the bagel I was taking to the car, along with a pink “Smile!” card which said:
You’ve been tagged with a SMILE card because someone thinks you’re special. Now it is your turn to pass on a smile. Keep the kindness going by doing something nice for someone. Leave this card behind to keep the spirit going.
I had two divided reactions. Part of me thought, “How sweet.” Another part of me thought, “Great, something else to do.”

GoofGirl’s class had learned about how one person doing a good deed can inspire another to do a good deed, and so on – making the world a better place. I know from my reaction to my son’s community service program, that I am a bad person – but I also love how their school assignments turn good deeds into an obligation.

I’m sure many kids forgot about their cards, and many parents lost them as soon as they received them. That would not do with GoofGirl – she would monitor the project. I bought some time, reminding her that I work at home and probably wouldn’t see anyone today.

“You could make someone brownies,” she proposed, “I’ll show you how.”

Always an agenda with that girl.

The easiest thing to do would be to pass it off to MamaGoof in the evening, I was planning on making dinner that night anyway. But that felt dishonest. I’ll be going to my office tomorrow and I’m sure I can find someone to do something nice for there. The little Goofs like hearing about my office (I think it gives them the illusion that their father is in fact a normal adult.)

But I was inspired and made dinner anyway. I am not a good cook – my primary talent is applying heat to frozen things. Fortunately, I had just done a Costco run and we had lots of frozen goodies.

Meanwhile, at her office MamaGoof was commiserating with her friend who has a really lazy husband. If your wife doesn’t have a friend like this you should urge her to get one. It is important that she have a friend with a husband so useless around the house that you look good. If you can’t find such a husband, the show Everybody Loves Raymand will do, although you might also help out a bit more. Truly if you are the least helpful husband you know you are probably setting some sort of low standard.

I’m not unhelpful, but I do everything wrong (I don’t open snack bags properly and it just gets worse from there.) Also, when MamaGoof walks into a room she immediately sees several thousand things out of place. I miss these things.

But next to my wife’s friend’s husband, I am Mr. Considerate – especially when MamaGoof comes home to a prepared meal. I guess the “Smile!” card worked, keep the kindness going indeed.

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