After visiting a friend in the hospital, I went out into the humid heatosity to find my car battery was dead. Seems I left the lights on after traveling through a work zone. Triple A would have someone save my kiester in about an hour.
I went back to the hospital to wait. I was really annoyed. Bad things (even when they’re your own stupid fault) shouldn’t happen when you’re doing something nice. That’s not how the universe should work. It’s how it does work, but I don’t think it should. You can see how much the universe cares what I think.
I moped around a bit, twittered a while.
Twitter is not the place to argue things involving thermodynamics, quantum molecular orbital calculations and numerical methods for solving partial differential equations.
Needless to say, I was feeling even more annoyed.
When something bad happens, one way to deal with it is to do something to give it meaning. What could I do to make something good out of this car failure? If I could come up with something, then it wouldn’t be a total loss. Who knows? Maybe God had a purpose in me doing something stupid and having a crappy wait.
Now, you have to understand. Secret Agent L (Twitter: Secret Agent L) is a Pittsburgher who practices really cool random acts of kindness. She does them up real pretty and artistic and heartwarming. I admire her, and so I got to wondering if I could follow in her footsteps somehow. I had nothing prepared.
Looking around, I saw the gift shop. It hit me: the gift shop sells puzzle books I could leave to make people’s day better! I picked up 5 puzzle booklets and a packet of pens. A handwritten note explaining that this was a random act of kindness would fit on the covers. What should I say? My mind went blank. Well, I could look up what to say on Secret Agent L’s website. She had nice words and I don’t think she’d mind the plagiarism. I could spread the books and pens around for people waiting at the hospital to find. Great! This is going to work!
Yeah pens. My wife does the New York Times puzzle and books of logic problems in ink. When I get her a puzzle book, I get a pen to go with it. I didn’t think about everyone else using pencils. This was not planned, and it shows!
I sat down, got ready to write the first note and…the Triple A called. They were pulling up to the hospital right then. I quickly tucked a pen in each book, put them where people waiting could find them and headed out to the car, thinking “That wasn’t even half-butted. That was a quarter-butted effort.”
The Triple A woman was real helpful and showed me how the high tech battery tester worked.
So that’s how my attempted random act of kindness went. The emphasis was definitely on random.
Now you know why Secret Agent L actually plans these things!
I went back to the hospital to visit my friend the next day. Four of the books remained, so at least someone took one of them. I also left the Union Finley Messenger, but just ’cause I finished reading it!
BTW: Someone asked me about the title. When you do something nice for someone in return for them doing something nice for you, you “pay it back.” When you do something nice for someone else because someone did something nice for you, you “pay it forward.” Well, my Dad used to talk about things going “catywumpus,” which he never defined but from context appeared to mean not going in the direction you had planned. And this was far more random and weird than normal secret missions of random kindness. So “Paying it Catywumpus with Really Random Acts of Weirdness” makes sense to my strange brain.