The Karma Chameleon…

Boy George, your words are so true. The Karma Chameleon, it comes and goes…and I don’t know where mine went. Look – I’m not some hippy-dipped in soy nut butter-screwball, but I do think that it would be nice if the world worked on the “what goes around comes around” theory – you know, the concept of paying it forward – good karma.  Unfortunately, the world doesn’t seem to actually work that way.

Case in point: the other night I asked my husband if I could borrow his recently purchased digital camera. He was quite hesitant, worried I would damage or lose it in some way. But the man loves me, so against his better judgement, he let me take it. Well, that’s the last he saw of his new camera. I accidentally left it hanging on the coat hook in the bathroom, and now someone is enjoying a nice new camera (with new case and memory card, as my husband reminded me).  That’s what I don’t get – I have always, ALWAYS, turned in whatever I find – I have gone out of my way to take a minute to find someone to turn a lost item in to – whether is was a glove, a pair of glasses, a coat, a wallet – or yes, even money. I remember I was in a Social Deviance class in college and the professor was asking us to raise our hands if we would turn in money if we found it. I was the only one who had a hand in the air. Most of the class didn’t believe me – but it’s true – and I have done it a few times so it’s not like something I think I would do, but have never been faced with the choice. Once, when I was like 17 and working in a convenient store, I found a money clip stuffed with cash on the floor. I put it in an envelope and told my boss about it – he, to his credit, didn’t just stuff it in his pocket and say he’d “look into it.” No, he said I should hold on to it, and if nobody came looking for it in a week, the cash should be mine.  Fair enough. Well, the next day, a man came in and asked about the money, describing the clip in perfect detail. I handed over the envelope. He was overjoyed, and so surprised that he offered me a significant reward for my honesty – I turned him down, saying there was no need to pay me for doing the right thing. As for another example – there have been a few times I have walked away from a store only to realize the cashier gave me too much change back (a $20 bill instead of a $10 for example) and I have gone back inside to fix it. Why do I do all these things, you may ask? Am I an idiot? Isn’t the motto “Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers” a fair practice? No – I don’t think it is. Besides, if you’ve ever been the weeping loser, than you know how it feels – how could you possibly want to put someone else in that position if you have the power to help avoid it? This is where karma comes in – I am trying to spread good karma, hoping the good I do for others will one day find its way back around to me. I think too many others practice bad karma – at some time in their life something they lost was stolen and now they feel justified to take an item they happen to stumble across. Someone did it to them, so why shouldn’t they do it to someone else. To that logic I apply one of my Dad’s favorite sayings, which is all too true, no matter how much I hated hearing it as a kid: “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Hell, maybe I am overanalyzing this – maybe the person who swiped the camera had zero thought beyond “Oh cool, a camera.” and Yoink! It was theirs.

I am glad the my husband is a decent guy who didn’t give me a hard time when I had to eat a big plate of crow and tell him he was right not to want to lend me the camera. At least good karma is alive and well in our relationship – when he backed into a neighbor’s car and had to spend $600 to fix his bumper, I didn’t harass him about it, and now, when I lost his camera and accessories totaling about $200 – he didn’t harangue me either. So we’re human, we both F up from time to time. It sucks, but we understand the other feels bad enough that they don’t need extra recrimination.

So, I’m trying not to be too mad at myself for forgetting the camera in the bathroom in the first place.  And I’m trying extra hard not to hope that whoever walked off with the camera doesn’t get a big dose of bad karma shot their way anytime soon.  A small dose might be alright….

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