Do the right thing – or else!

Jennifer - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Entered on February 25, 2009

I believe in doing the right thing – or else.

I do not recall when this thought first occurred to me, although it certainly has not prevented me from doing the wrong thing, mind you. Yet when I make a conscious decision to do wrong, I hear a little John Lennon in my brain singing loud – “Instant Karma’s Gonna Get Yah.”

A few years ago, I found a wad of bills, rolled up and abandoned on the sidewalk in front of a local department store. I scanned the parking but found no takers. I thought. Then, I thought some more. What is a girl to do? I walked in the store, slapped the rolled-up $60 down at the customer service counter, and explained what had just occurred to the store employee. “I want to turn the money in to lost and found,” I exclaimed. The puzzled clerk reluctantly took my information.

I called Lee (my now-husband), to tell him of my good deed. “You did WHAT? That was found money you just gave away! I can not believe you did that,” he moaned.

I tried to explain the many reasons why I couldn’t take the money, but he wasn’t buying. I was sure that, had I kept the money, anything I would purchase would have been doomed. Nice dinner equals food poisoning. New clothes equals ten pounds gained overnight. No, thanks.

Weeks passed, my good deed forgotten, and I was driving home from work when my cell phone rang. You guessed it – Customer Service calling! In that instant, I became $60 richer, all for doing the right thing.

Does everything we do, good or bad, come back to us, even if we are simple bringers of karmic justice to another bad-deed-doer?

Years ago, I ended a long-term relationship with Scott (not his real name) by leaving a long-distance telephone message on the answering machine. I felt like a slug. No, I felt like the goo left on the sidewalk after the slug passes by. I knew it was wrong, yet I consciously decided to do something so personal in the most impersonal of ways. Oddly enough, I later found that he was no angel, either. He had done his fair share of heart-breaking.

I mull this whole thing over. Was I unintentionally giving him a dose of his own medicine? If so, was it really my job to perform? Does this mean that I am exempt from karmic retribution, or should I sleep with one eye open?

Although I can only try to do what is right, I still wonder about the occasion when I, inevitably, don’t do the right thing. I just hope that, when it happens, it’s to keep the karmic continuum moving forward.

In the end, if I find out that no bad deed goes unpunished, then I have just one thing to say. “Hey, Scott. You know, I am really, really sorry about that whole thing…” Cripes! There goes John again, “Instant Karma’s Gonna Get Yah.”