Saturday, June 30, 2012

It's not like i'm a hero or something

When did normal and to be routinely expected behavior become something people have to fawn over you for?

A few days ago, as i passed the flower shop where i sometimes do contract work while on the way to the shelter, i had a very funny thought.  What if they still owed me more money for the last time i worked with them?

Of course, they didn't and don't, and i have no idea why that thought popped, uninvited, into my head.  A prescient moment perhaps?

Because two days later, i did actually receive a check from them.

Immediately i knew it was a mistake, for two reasons.  First, they already paid me for my last stint.  Second, it said "Dance Recital" on the stub.  Dance recital? i thought.  No, i don't dance, and i haven't been to a recital since Little Girl's last one at home school co-op a few years back.  Does not compute.

So i got on the horn, as Sweetie would say, and got Ms. C on the phone.  "Oh, I hope I sent it to the right M!" she told me.

No, i replied, you didn't.  She asked if i had worked a dance recital.  No, i replied again, and further said i would return the check the next morning when i went to clean the cat shelter, since i would be right there.

"Oh, thank you so much!" Ms. C gushed.  It's easy enough, i told her, i'll see you tomorrow.

When i went in to return the check, it got a bit weird and uncomfortable for me.  She kept thanking me, like i had done something huge.

Well, what else would i have done?  Cashed it?  Sooner or later, the other M would have called to ask about her check.  Then they would have looked into it, and no matter how much i would try to protest it was a mistake, that i thought they had found an error from Mother's Day deliveries and it was meant for me, no matter then if i promised i would pay them back, the trust would have been broken and i would never have been hired by them again.  The suspicion would have always been there that i just wanted to keep what wasn't mine, and that would have been true.

Also, there is what James Herriot, the veterinarian who wrote All Creatures Great and Small said when he was asked to help with insurance fraud because "No one would know."

"I would know," was Herriot's response, which the person he said it to didn't understand at all.

What price a clear conscience?  The cost of a minute or two to make a phone call and return what clearly wasn't mine to keep.

Worse, why is such a thing considered so special these days that the person who made the error has to thank me profusely, over and over?  Has the world gotten that bad?

Let's hope not; i don't want the simple, right thing to do to be considered special or heroic.

Today is

Aizen Matsuri -- Shoman-in Temple, Osaka, Japan (celebration of Aizen Myo-oh, greatest of the 8 Buddhist guardian gods)

Armed Forces Day -- Great Britain; Guatemala

Burning of the Three Fires/Cremation of the Three Trees -- Thann, France (name depends on how you translate; celebration of the founding of the town in the 12th century, when three "stars" moved to a spot over the forest and stopped, leading to a village being established here)

Crab Races -- Fairy Calendar (Pixies, Elves, and some Fairies)

Day of Aestas -- Ancient Roman Calendar (culmination of the festival that begins the summer)

Feast of the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome -- remembrance of the first Christians killed in Rome by order of Nero as scapegoats for the fire in Rome

General Prayer Day -- Central African Republic

Independence Day -- Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Festival -- Edime, Turkey (648th annual, the oldest wrestling festival in the world, through July 6)

Kuan Yin Festival -- Chinese Buddhist (through Aug. 7; enlightenment of Kuan Yin/Guan Yin, August 6)

Ladies of Country Music Show -- Waretown, NJ, US

Leap Second Time Adjustment Day -- if one is needed

Meteor Day -- because of the Tuskunga Event

National Corvette Day -- US

National Ice Cream Soda Day

Prayer Day -- Central African Republic

Pridie Kalendas July (Day Before the Kalends of July) -- Ancient Roman Calendar (a day when dies comitiales -- citizen committees -- voted on political and criminal matters)

Revolution Day -- Sudan

St. Theobald of Provin's day (Patron of bachelors)

Veterans Day -- Netherlands

Birthdays Today:

Michael Phelps, 1985
Fantasia Barrino, 1984
Ralf Schumacher, 1975
Leonard Whiting, 1950
Harry Blackstone, Jr., 1934
Susan Hayward, 1919
Lena Horne, 1917

Today in History:

Jews are expelled from Berne Switzerland, 1294
The Spaniards are expelled from Tenochtitlan, 1520
Native American forces under Blue Jacket attack Fort Recovery, Ohio, 1794
French  acrobat  Charles Blondin crosses Niagara Falls on a tightrope, 1859
The 1860 Oxford evolution debate at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History takes place, 1860
The first transcontinental train trip across Canada departs from Montreal; it arrives in Port Moody, British Columbia on July 4, 1886
Albert Einstein publishes the article "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies", in which he introduces special relativity, 1905
The Tunguska event, probably caused by a meteor or comet fragment, occurs in remote Siberia, 1908
The Regina Cyclone hits Regina, Saskatchewan, killing 28; it remains Canada's deadliest tornado event, 1912
Congo gains independence from Belgium, 1960
The first leap second is added to the UTC  time system, 1972
The Royal Canadian Mint introduces the $1 coin, known as the Loonie, 1987
East Germany and West Germany merge their economies, 1990
The United Kingdom transfers sovereignty over Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China, 1997
After nearly 7 years in space, the Cassini spacecraft becomes the first to orbit the planet Saturn, 2004


  1. No, I don't think the world has become that bad and I do believe that it would be the rare individual who wouldn't do the exact same thing.

    I imagine her gratitude was relief that the mistake was caught early and that you were kind enough to bring it back to her which saved her time, expenses and work (in the form of a stop payment).

  2. Hilary, i hope you are right; that world where people do what is right because it is right is the world i want to live in.

  3. I once found a cashier's check made out to cash for fifteen hundred dollars and I returned it to the bank that issued it. I suppose I could have cashed it but it never occurred to me. Sometimes when I tell this to people they tell me I was a chump. I don't think so.

  4. No, Stephen, you weren't. And i've returned wallets with cash, including one i mailed, at my expense, to the owner out of town. The chumps are the people who won't do what is right, and i hope they are the minority.

  5. All I can say is, I have had similar experiences, and you just hope they are happy you were honest, not that they expect everyone to be DIShonest...



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