It all started with an innocuous online message. “ 1) Make a list of five people and do an act of kindness for each. 2) Ask each of them to pass it on to five more people. 3) Enjoy making the world a better place!” Simple, yes? Oh right, there was a fourth step. 4) “Now you’ve seen this message and cannot Unsee it! If you break the cycle of good deeds – – bad things will happen!”
This was “Pay It Forward” Damien Omen style!
“Unsee it??” My OCD now properly activated, I decided to keep a carefully detailed journal for proof and safety documentation.
1st Act Of Kindness: Sent My Mother Flowers
Mom: Got your flowers. This your way of saying, “the bloom is off the rose?”
Me: Ma, Nobody says that anymore.
Mom: But you’re thinking it!
Me: I just wanted you to have some grace and beauty.
Mom: Some Grace. I dropped a glass pitcher trying to water them. And in a few days, I’ll have a dead bouquet. There’s your Beauty.
Me: Okay nevermind. But do me a favor, do something nice for five friends, ok?
Mom: I should do YOU a favor and do something nice? You want something nice done, do it yourself.
Me: Alright. I’ll do kind deeds in your honor. And put your name on them.
Mom Don’t do me any favors! Better you should sign it, “From Your Secret Pal.”
Me: Nobody has those anymore.
Mom: My Mahjong ladies are here. I have to defrost the water. It’s still frozen.
Me: Ma, That’s called ice.
Me: (into dial tone) Be careful. There’s a cycle of goodness that shouldn’t be… Hello, hello Mom? How’s your rheumatism?
2nd Act of Kindness: Put Chocolate Heart in Son’s School Lunch.
Son: What’s with the candy? One of your nags to see Dr. Tartar for my cavities?
Me: Not at all. Just conveying love.
Son: Well, now Savannah is jealous.
Me: And you’re absolutely positive she wasn’t born in Georgia? Maybe conceived?
Son: Seriously?! It’s called a Destination Name. Very popular.
Me: Okay, okay. So your Resort-Style, Vacation Girlfriend is jealous because your own mother loves you?
Son: Hell, I couldn’t show her that Lame-o note of yours. So she thinks the heart is from Madison, (who was not born OR conceived in Wisconsin) but who beat her out of head Cheerleader and now she hates her guts.
Me: Sorry to hear that. But please abide by the rules and pay it forward. I have this cycle…
Son: Why do you always have to bring your monthly friend into everything? Maybe after my Physics finals.
Me: (swallowing hard) Uh oh. You’re in the middle of finals?? (Secret Pal better strike again!)
3rd Act of Kindness: Left a Water Bottle for the Mailman
Mailman: I’m sorry Little Miss Menopause, but I gotta issue you a citation for using marked US Postal Service property as a trash receptacle.
Me: (batting lashes) It was terribly warm out. I thought you might be thirsty.
Mailman: It’s 62 degrees out. Are you having one of your Hot Flashes or Confusion Episodes, Miss Meno?
Me: No, I am not. Clearly, I was NOT littering. There was a “Pay it Forward” note that was attached.
Mailman: I’m returning your note, postage due.
Me: You don’t understand. We mustn’t break the chain.
Mailman: Chain letters are illegal to send through the mail. I’ll have to report that too.
Me: Okay, okay. But please, when you get home – – can you just cook your wife a nice dinner or something?
Mailman: That’s very unlike me. She’ll guess you and I are having an affair. Plus she’s about to have a baby, remember?
Me: (swallowing harder) OMG, Rosemary’s Baby!!!
Mailman (pats my hand) It’ll all be okay once your Xanax gets bumped up. See you at 11 pm tonight when I’ll make a delivery with “the complete package.” I’ll knock three times.
Me: Shouldn’t you ring? Doesn’t the Postman Always Ring Twice?? (Note to self: Write a blog about people conversing using only Movie Title dialogue)
4th Act of Kindness: Bought Random Buff Guy a Coffee at Starbucks
Guy: This some kinda sick joke? I’m on a health kick. I just gave up caffeine a week ago. It interfered with my steroids. I’m only here for the chocolate crumb cake.
Me: Oh, sorry! Could you pass this coffee to the cute, elderly lady behind you, then? But say it’s from you. I’d like you to take the credit.
Guy: Oh man Gramma! Is your tongue ok? This crazy broad in front of me made me give you scalding coffee.
Me: (leaning) Sorry, Gram. But did you see that movie, “Pay It Forward?” With Helen Hunt?
Guy: Hard of hearing. She’s looking around for Candid Camera.
Me: No, not Funt, Dear. Hunt. Hunt. HUNT!
Guy: Now she thinks you’re calling her a female body part.
5th Act of Kindness: Go to Stationery Store and Buy a “From Your Secret Pal” Stamp and Send Blank Checks To…(deep breath)
1. My Mother’s entire Mahjong group 2. Her Rheumatologist 3. Son’s Physics teacher 4. Our dentist, Dr. Tartar 5. Son’s girlfriend Savannah 6. All her Timeshare cheerleader friends: Madison, Brooklyn, Tallahassee, Seattle, Massachusetts, & of course, Mt. Kilimanjaro 7. The Mailman’s Wife, 8. Their OB-GYN, 9. Starbucks Staff, 10. The Buff Guy’s Grandmother’s Hearing Aid Salesman, 11. Helen Hunt 12. Alan Funt 13. (and for good measure) Emily Blunt & Bonnie Hunt.
Oh and what the hell, send Steven Spielberg the ominous “Pay It Forward” note. (Evil laugh) Let him be the one to worry about “Just when you thought it was safe to go to your mailbox!” He could use a Prequel.