“Why So Serious!!!” – The Joker, The Dark Knight
(this story takes place before the age of smartphones)
There was this man who was having a good day, until he wasn’t. Suddenly his day went downhill and his attitude went with it. Simply put — it was late afternoon, he went shopping, and they didn’t have what he wanted, and he was a little angry about that. He banged his arm on the door of the store as he was leaving — now he was swearing and pissed off. Do you ever find that once you’re in a foul mood it’s easy to find all the other friends of anger? He then found a woman’s wallet in a parking lot full of people and that no one else sees. “What the hell man?!!! Now I have got to go deal with this!?” “Fine, I’ll find the owner!” he screamed in his head. Thoughts going through his mind revolved around, “She had better be grateful. There better be something in this for me after all I’ve done.” (Have you ever found yourself complaining about things you choose to do?)
So he picked up the wallet, went back to his car, and looked for an ID. The wallet had a couple of credit cards, no money, and a driver’s license. He sees that the address wasn’t very far from where he was at the moment, but he wasn’t sure how to get there, so …big sigh… he decided to drive home, some 20 minutes away, and print out a map. On the way, there was an accident and a couple of traffic bottlenecks that only increased his frustration.
When he finally arrived home, he wanted to pull something out of his ashtray and — of course — the ashtray breaks, right along with the cup holder. The young man thinks, “Okay, what next?.” After fumbling around and trying to fix the ashtray/cup holder combo; in his irritation the whole thing finally breaks. That’s what was next….he didn’t expect that answer so quickly.
So, “Commander Pissed Off” got out of his car, went inside, printed off the directions to the address on the ID. He was right – the place wasn’t far from that grocery store.
Between discovering the wallet and printing out the directions, an hour had passed. He got back into his car and even though the directions were clear, he still managed to get lost a couple of times!!! It was dark when he found the house, and the lights were out above the numbers, so he couldn’t read them until he got to the top of the LONG-ASS STAIRCASE!!! “Oh come on!!! Really!!!?” So he gets to the top of Mt. House-High-As-Hell and he rings the doorbell; he knocked and finally heard someone stirring. Footsteps approached. “Now I should be showered with love and appreciation,” he thought.
Have you ever done something that you really didn’t want to do, only because you thought that suffering through it meant the reward would be great? Who taught us that?
It wasn’t a “her” who answered the door. It was a little fellow, dressed in jeans, an undershirt, holding a cigarette between his fingers, and gray stubble covering the lower half of a belligerent face, which was framed by a greasy, blondish mullet. The guy seemed very angry, almost bitter. The young man introduced himself and explained how he found the wallet. He asks Mullet Man if he knew the wallet’s owner.
“Yah, I know her.”
“Is she here?”
“She moved out a couple of months ago, but I do know her. If you give me the wallet, I’ll be sure she gets it.”
The young man held onto the wallet. He asked the older man for an ID.
“Look, buddy, I’m her father.”
“Yes, but do you have an ID?” the younger man persisted.
“Yah, hold on,” he grumbled, and with some banging around and just a light round of colorful metaphors the mullet man found his driver’s license and came back to the door. The young man then looked at the dates and names. His curiosity was satisfied. He returned the man’s ID, and then the wallet, and said, “With my warmest regards to your daughter.”
The man took the wallet, staring blankly at the young guy on his porch. Then he extended his hand to the young man.
“I’m very sure my daughter will be appreciative of what you’ve done here, sir. Thank you.” Now we won’t say that Mullet Man was getting teary-eyed, but his eyeballs became very sweaty.
“It was my pleasure,” said the young man, returning to his car.
He could still feel the father looking at his retreating back.
“I guess there are still some nice people in the world,” the old man said.
The young man was hit directly in his heart. It all came together. With those words, the father had remembered not to be so angry, and shared that with the young man. Maybe the father saw the nobility of a man who protected his daughter, and he remembered that the world can indeed be a nicer place. The young man turned back to face the man on the porch, smiling, he said, “Yes, there are.”
In that moment, the young man had his knowing of the art of the give-receive. What he got was what he was giving. What he got at every moment of this particular adventure of feeling good or feeling bad, was that the power of how he chose to feel made all the difference. Maybe what he received was pure connection with another human being, and in that moment of chaos, he chose peace and had the opportunity to make a difference in another person’s life……. And what I got out of that experience…. was this story.