Last week, Henry realized that, in addition to our own, we were given another customer’s bag on our way out of Target.
“You have to return it immediately!” I yelled, in a total panic, over what? A bagful of Christmas tree ornaments and Balance bars. I think there was some sort of masculine-fragranced deodorant in the mix, also.
“Why?” Henry asked in a much calmer tone. “Whoever’s bag this was is definitely long gone by now.”
But it was the principle, I kept saying. The principle. Dogma. It was frankly just the right thing to do. Otherwise it ends up being some sort of consequential theft. We may not have purposely or knowingly walked out of the store with it, but keeping it would be an admission of guilt. I didn’t want to add to my peccadillo totem pole. Besides, hanging stolen goods on my Christmas tree? Talk about ornamental onus.
Henry and I were doing some shopping this morning and I finally remembered to bring with us the Bag That Was Not Ours. When we told the Target employee at the customer service desk why we were returning it, she was noticeably surprised. Sure, it wasn’t a handbag of gold rubles to help rebuild a town after a natural disaster, or a wheelbarrow of sustenance for a poverty-stricken village. But it was still something that rubbed a little verdigris off my conscience.
“Oh! Ok. Well, thanks!” she said happily, if not uncertainly, and I understood her reaction. Because how often do people really do the right thing? Because how often do we turn on the news or get a Breaking News alert on Twitter about someone doing something charitable, instead of just another Kardashian societal faux pas or some motherfucking teenagers shooting someone in the face over a cigarette? I can’t tell you how many times I say hello to fellow pedestrians in my own town, only to get the stinkeye in return. Altruism is about as antiquated as your grandma’s Poodle skirt, Katy Perry’s wigs and the word “perambulator.”
As much as I front like I’m some asshole misanthrope giving the finger to humanity—and that’s only because I’m just exhausted from being let down by humans—I will always end up doing the right thing. Plus, I’ve softened a lot over the years. Henry and Chooch might have had a hand in that. (They both definitely had a hand in the softening of my midsection, anyway.) It scares me to know that there are A LOT of people out there who choose to do the wrong thing again and again. And we all suffer.
The dewy, feel-good flush of my cheeks was short-lived when, an hour later, a radio DJ went from talking about the Sandy Hook tragedy straight to Tom Cruise buying that spoiled brat Suri a pony for Christmas.
I mean, can you even comprehend the fact that some guy massacred twenty innocent children whose only agenda that day was to brush their teeth, learn some new spelling words and sing some fucking Christmas carols? No, because WHO CAN? Yesterday, I found the words “I hate my job” ALMOST rolling off my tongue, but I bit it. Oh my god, I bit my tongue so hard. Because oh noes, some American middle class white girl has a job that is maybe the tiniest bit annoying on a really bad day, and then gets to go home and hug her six-year-old son who was able to go to school that day without being sprayed with bullets. Because this is the world we live in, where that ultimate horror can and does happen.
And you know what else I couldn’t be bothered by? Instagram’s new terms of service. And you know who else shouldn’t give a shit about that? YOU. Go help an old lady across the street. Fill a homeless persons hands with a cup of hot coffee. Give someone a hug. Do ANYTHING but worry yourself about something so trivial, it literally has no impact on this life.
God, fuck Tom Cruise. Fuck us all. What a nightmare.