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An Unexpected Gift

A couple days ago my friend Alison showed up at my house with a copy of the book, “Writing Movies for Fun and Profit” by Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon. This is a book I had put on my Amazon wishlist a few days before and here she was, handing it to me as a gift.

It was unexpected, sweet and thoughtful. There’s no reason to give me a gift, other than to say that she was thinking about me and I was really touched. And, of course, it’s a great idea to give random ‘I’m thinking of you’ gifts so I plan to adopt the practice.

I try to be a good person and when I fail, which I feel is pretty often, I feel bad. Sunday as I walked out of the Hollywood Farmers’ Market a homeless man held a sign that read, ‘Even a smile helps’. I thought about smiling, was planning to do it and then he asked me for money and I just kept walking. It was a reflex and led me to feel bad for a while. And, obviously, I’m still thinking about it. I know that one of the worst things homeless people experience is the way other people treat them as if they are invisible. I should have smiled.

On my way out to work yesterday I saw a bird with a broken wing hopping around. He avoided me as I got closer and I thought about how I could help him. I was late, I couldn’t take him into my home with my cats, I didn’t know if the vet would take him and then he hopped into a bush and I got in my car and drove to work. This felt like another opportunity to do something good and again I’d failed.

I remember those failures the next time, though, and slowly my percentage of doing good seems to be going up. It’s a process and I feel good about the fact that I’m working on it. Sometimes I feel that busy lives lead to neglecting the small helpful and kind things we can do and I want to stay focused on that.

And thoughtful gifts for no reason is a good way to bulk up my stats.

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