No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
Photo by Markus Spiske on unsplash
I would bet that you have helped out some humans in your lifetime. Perhaps someone you lent money to actually repaid you or paid it forward. Unfortunately, many, many people don’t. Some humans take huge advantage of others’ good will and still others blatantly steal. I am constantly baffled at the behavior of people.
I am going to tell stories of two of my friends. I won’t name them to protect their privacy, but when I heard the most recent tale, I really felt, THAT’S IT, I need to write about this. What is happening to the moral compass that we used to have? One of the sayings of my childhood when witnessing bad behavior was “Who raised you anyway?” In adulthood, I often wonder the same thing. Sounding again like a curmudgeon, I ask what is going on with people?
Two years ago, I had my first surgery. This was during Covid. I had nagging fibroid tumors that were causing problems for me. Women who have suffered these understand. While I was waiting for the procedure, I was reading my Mother Earth News Magazine in bed with IV attached and feeling a bit nervous. I started talking up this nice nurse. Before I got wheeled in, she told me that I HAD to connect with her mother who was just like me and wrote her mother’s name and phone number across my magazine cover and then when I dropped it on the floor, she wiped it down with antiseptic, set it with my clothes and shoes and rolled me in with a gentle pat.
When it was over and I came to, I remember being in incredible pain and begged for Advil. A different nurse said NO and told me, “For future reference you are a lightweight.” I still have no idea what that meant, but she was not nice. Molly, the sweet nurse was kind and caring and while I still didn’t get any Advil, I was comforted by her. She reminded me to phone her mom.
A few days later I called her mother, and we had a long chat. We were indeed two peas in a pod.
A few months later, I travelled about an hour from our cabin to a place in Ohio that she lived. I got the royal treatment to see and inspect all her herbs, the amazing elderberries that she had, her massive gardens. She drove me around in her 4-wheeler to all corners of her amazing property, we ate real food from her garden and exchanged handmade gifts. I just adore her.
Her 2nd husband is along for the ride and seemingly likes all this natural stuff, but as my Mitch, probably indulges her. We are both a little over the top with all our natural living mayhem. This lifestyle requires lots of work and she is a bit older than I am, probably in her late 60s.
Last year her husband was coming our way near the cabin and asked to stop by and bring a friend. Sadly, his wife had other chores to attend to so couldn’t join.
As I usually do, I “Marsha’d” them completely and sent home food and gifts for my friend and thoroughly enjoyed seeing her husband and meeting their friend. This man was staying with them while he got back on his feet. He was very charming and we had a fun visit.
Because of the distance and my work getting the new restaurant up and running, I haven’t been able to see my friend this year, but we still connect on FB messenger and chat on the phone here and there.
Recently, she shared a HORRIBLE story with me that has me so incensed I just have to share it with you, and I am hoping collectively everyone who reads this will share my rage.
She said she and her husband had been robbed. They had several freezers in their garage which were filled with grassfed beef, organic chicken and gallons and gallons of organic blueberries and elderberries. They had shelves of her homemade tomato sauce and other canned items. My friend has a lot of health issues and really feels better when she eats all the organic food. This was a year’s worth of food, and it was emptied out.
Also, her jewelry including all the family stuff, wedding rings ALL GONE.
The charming man who they were trying to help out for a few months while he got his act together did this then boogied out to somewhere else. He installed TWO kinds of spyware on her computer, so he knew what she was doing and while they were away, he came and took it all.
And get this, since he lived with them, there was nothing the police would do. She called some agencies for elder abuse and such and besides a report, not a thing can be done.
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on unsplash
When I left my first husband in 2010 and needed a place to go, I rented an apartment from my friend who had an open unit in his duplex. It was literally ¼ mile from my first apartment, so I felt like from 1990 to 2010 I had come full circle.
It was a nice enough place and affordable. As I started regrouping from blowing up my life, this was a comforting, safe environment, and I was grateful to be there. I paid him rent monthly and left the place better than when I moved in.
This friend is a person with a very helpful and generous nature and unfortunately, he has been taken advantage of by several people, from family to friends and he keeps trusting and hoping these people will someday do the right things, but sadly for the most part they haven’t. Not having any brothers or sisters so no nieces or nephews, I have never had a situation where family may have leaned on me for a place to live. I have always had to depend on myself as he has.
People have not paid him rent when they moved in, damaged things and didn’t say anything to him, and then left heaps of their belongings that he then had to clean up and get rid of. That is a total lack of respect in addition to horrid behavior.
Where is accountability? Where is keeping a promise and honoring an agreement? I ponder what other kinds of relationships and commitments these folks will damage if they continue to act like this.
I have watched him pay for laptop computers for friends and their children so they would be prepared for school. I have seen him wire money to contractors who work with him to help them out of a jam. He has co-signed for loans, and some have worked out ok, but one was not paid, and a bankruptcy happened which affected HIS credit for YEARS. That situation did finally get resolved but the majority of his giving came to heartache and problems for him. It makes me sad and mad at the frustration he has brought on himself by having a big heart. Some of those friends have taken and taken and then just walked out of the relationship.
On that note, one final story which isn’t about being taken advantage of, but more of a moral issue that has bothered me for decades.
Many years ago, when I was married to my first husband, my father-in-law was talking to my husband, and I knew they were talking about a neighbor issue he and my MIL were experiencing. In their lovely residential neighborhood, their next-door neighbor was a hypnotist and had a home office. This was in the mid 1990’s when working from home was not very common. When my in-laws’ dog who was an outdoor and garage dog would see a deer, he would bark. He wasn’t normally a dog who barked just for the heck of it, but dogs being dogs will bark at wild animals traipsing on their property. I don’t believe he was a nuisance.
I do not know if the neighbor knocked on their door or phoned them and asked them to put Major in during sessions, but he did file a complaint with the local magistrate. The conversation I overheard was my FIL saying, “well, I guess he didn’t learn to turn the other cheek.”
As I heard this from upstairs, I thought about what he could mean by this and then it hit me. THE NEIGHBORS WERE JEWISH. Well, I was really upset by this remark because it seemed to me, my Catholic FIL was making a judgment about this man’s religion when in reality his behavior was the issue, and he was being an ASSHOLE. So, I did go downstairs and told him, there are assholes in every religion. His Jewishness has NOTHING to do with the situation. They ended up moving sometime later and I don’t believe anything happened with the magistrate. Life went on.
So, thinking about all three of these situations and being middle aged, I am more aware of my mortality and feel a pull to do the right things, try to see things from other people’s perspectives, make good decisions and try my best in what I do for me, my family and others. How much time do we all have here to live? Let’s make a concerted effort to be more kind, compassionate and patient, and do what we say we will, appreciate the kindness of others, accept help when needed. I would hope that both my friends keep their sunny and hopeful attitudes but protect their hearts and souls and assets a little more for just themselves. #Bethechange #respect #dotherightthing #beagoodhuman
Photo by Maria Thalassinou on Unsplash
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash