Opinion | Biff America: Free kicks and boxed wine
To see what is right and good about humanity, you need only to pay attention.
To see what is not, you need only to open your computer. Since the World Wide Web is all the name implies, you can be exposed to the ugly stuff that occurs around the globe. Since freaks like me are more likely to click on road rage videos, stupid stuff politicians say or kids inadvertently whacking their parents in the groin with a whiffle ball bat, that is what is featured.
The web is ripe with the worst examples of elected leaders and public figures being jerks. I will often click off an affirming video to click on one featuring someone, from my political side, saying something nasty about someone I need no more ammunition to dislike.
But on those rare occasions, when you have your head out of your biased butt, you can see, live and feel the good stuff all around you.
I’m not suggesting we all take a Pollyanna position with our head in the sand. But I am suggesting we periodically cleanse our pallet from what is wrong in the world with what’s good on your street.
My marriage vows contained a “for better or for worse” commitment. So on Sunday, while my mate, Ellie, was going through the prep for a Monday colonoscopy, I stayed away from the house as much as possible. Fasting and that other stuff really puts her in a bad mood. But on Monday, when it was over and Ellie’s results were perfect, it was time for celebration.
I was just about to leave the house to buy her some wine. I promised her the good stuff that comes in a box. On my way, I stopped at a local mountain shop owned by Doug and Cindy, two friends of ours. They wrote me earlier in the day offering me a free pair of shoes that were given to the shop as a sample but a little too big for Doug. I really needed new shoes but due to my promised investment in boxed wine, I didn’t want to indulge myself by actually buying a new pair.
So I left their shop, shoes in hand, and jumped on my motor scooter in a great mood. It didn’t even bother me that the SUV with Kansas plates in front of me was driving erratically at the speed of a glacier. They stopped in the middle of the road a couple of times, then finally pulled over next to a “no parking” sign and asked some passing locals, “Can we park here?” The locals answered abruptly, “no,” and walked on.
That exchange gave me a chance to pass them. As I did, I made eye contact with the driver. I smiled, and he gave me an apologetic look.
I could relate. Countless times, I’ve been driving my dinosaur-sized truck and camper in a strange town ticking people off as I tried to find a place to park.
Since I had a pair of free shoes in my bag and was happy, I let them pass and followed that car until they found a place and pulled in behind them. The guy was looking at the computerized parking kiosk like a monkey at a ceiling fan. Talking too fast and loud, with a Boston accent, I told them that I had an app on my phone, and I was going to pay for their parking. I figured after being given a $100 pair of shoes for free, I could afford to pay it forward a buck.
After the shock of being accosted by a wild eye lunatic who spoke like a drunken Kennedy, they thanked me profusely and tried to hand me a dollar. I refused, saying it would place me in a higher tax bracket. Before I left, they told me it was their 50th wedding anniversary.
Despite having blown a buck on parking, I splurged and got my mate the third most expensive box of wine in the store.
When I walked out, box in hand, some lady was walking in. She gave me a wonderful smile and said, “What a great day.”
I replied too loudly, “It sure is! I have free shoes, my mate has a healthy colon, and I bought a 50th wedding anniversary present for a buck.”
In retrospect that might have been too much information.
Jeffrey Bergeron’s column “Biff America” publishes Mondays in the Summit Daily News. Bergeron has worked in TV and radio for more than 30 years, and his column can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He is the author of “Mind, Body, Soul.” Bergeron arrived in Breckenridge when there was plenty of parking and no stop lights. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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