‘Tis the Season to be Cruel

January 8, 2010

A Salvation Army in Charleston, South Carolina, received a 25,ooo-dollar donation during the winter season.  After depositing the check, the agency went ahead and provided food and other necessities for local families.  However, the bank later called to say that the check had bounced — the check had been a hoax — leaving the Salvation Army on a tight budget to help those in need during the cold season. 

Stories like these leave me with a feeling of the humanity blues.  On the street where I live, college students party without regard for neighbors who’d like to stay asleep during the hours of the wee dawn; brawl with loud drunken slurs in the streets; and litter the area with all sorts of debris from beer pong cups, aluminum cans, thongs, cigarettes.  I found the whole lot of them obnoxious yet underneath it all, I was always willing to believe that there was a heart that would actually care, say, if I were to carelessly leave my keys in my lock and enter my apartment.  A student, I was almost sure, might care enough to knock on my door to tell me of my error. 

Stories like the one of the Salvation Army, however, puncture these thoughts of trust.  I trade in my rose-colored glasses for ones that see the world as an abstract impressionist piece of art (“what the hell is it supposed to be?  light or dark?  ugly or beautiful?  meaningful or meaningless?  good or bad?”).  The moral is one we hear from our parents over and over but never seems to register until much later: you can’t ever be too sure of other people.

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