Thursday, May 27, 2010

Do the right thing

The drive-thru at McDonalds was too long this morning so I decided to pull in and order in the lobby.  On my way there, I found a $5 bill wrapped in a $20 in the parking lot.  I looked around, picked it up and slid it into my pocket.  Sweet!  As the guy in front of me started to order, he began searching his pockets for 'something'.  He told the cashier to wait and ran out to his car to get his wallet and returned to pay for his meal.  While we waited for our breakfasts, I asked him if he had lost something outside.  In a thick Eastern European accent he said 'I zink I lost twenty-fi dolla'. I reached into my cargo pocket, grabbed the fold of bills between my index and middle fingers and extended it out to him. 'Zank you wery much' he said.

Man that felt great!

So my question is...why the hell did I do that?  Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I did, but why?  Was it a completely selfish act knowing that it would 'feel better' to return the money than keep it?

Part of my left brain says it is a simple biological event engineered to release a cocktail of endorphins and dopamine that 'feels good'.  Over 4 billion years of fine-tuning, evolution has preferred variants/decisions that lead to the preservation of the species and it is that 'wiring' that makes us know what is the 'right' thing to do, because we are rewarded with 'feel good' drugs.  Caveman want food, caveman steal food, caveman beat on head with club for stealing food, end of line for caveman (and his potential offspring).  I think even Laplace's demon would have a hard time correlating 4 billion years of events with my McDonalds moment.

The other part of my left brain says this is environmental conditioning.  40+ years of personal interaction and societal influences (which themselves have been fine tuned over 10,000 years of civilization) yielded that moment in McDonalds.  The meaning of right at that particular moment was a personal one.  Someone else may believe the right thing to do is to keep the money.  Are right and wrong just shaped personal biases?  I hope R v. W is something bigger than that.

My right brain, which has been getting a lot of attention lately, is more confused than the left side but luckily doesn't require the same level of clarity than the left side does to operate properly, nor does it need to adhere to the scientific method, but I suppose that is why we have 2 halves (evolved or otherwise).  Good vs evil, right vs wrong, Nacho vs Cool Ranch.  Epic questions...none of which was answered in the LOST finale :)

It has taken me 40 years to find Hope, at least I think I found it.  Perhaps it will take another 40 years to find Faith and for me, I suspect right and wrong will play a big part of that.

Anyhow back to my McDonalds I'm driving out of the parking lot in my hail damaged 7 year old VW Jetta, I look in my rear-view to see the guy getting into his late model 7 series BMW.  I had to laugh :)


Jude said...

Hah! Great post John! I can honestly say I'd have done the same thing, and I think my reasoning would be that I treat others as I hope to be treated by them. That's too funny that he ended up driving expensive wheels, but still you did the right thing!

I hope you and Linda have a great Memorial Day weekend down there! (((hugs)))

Anonymous said...

Cured of TNBC!
I want to take this time out as a cancer survivor to encourage women out there still suffering from this with my story on how i got a cure. The sad news about it is that i was diagnosed on my 36th birthday in 2008 and with stage 3 TNBC which after i made research was a very aggressive form of cancer at that point i decided and told myself i was going to die and that the end has finally come. All my life i never thought of having breast cancer because i was very active and i worked out at the gym several times every week and my diet was okay. In my search for a cure after 6 years of diagnosis and even after chemo which i did twice spending thousands of dollars but to no avail, until a church member told me all about Dr Aleta a herbal doctor that specializes in treating TNBC, who could help me with a permanent cure, i doubted this at first but i later gave it a try following her methods and instructions. It took 3 months and after it all i felt normal but still went for diagnosis and i was clean today i am proud to say i am a cancer survivor no nodes and i am totally free the new diagnosis confirmed it. Do not die in silence or ignorance reach her on don't be shy just speak to her today.

Stephanie Warner said...

In 2011 at age of 29 years, I was told I had fibroid. My doctor, who did surgery to remove the fibroids in 2014, said that I had a lump in my stomach which was very big. I had experienced no pain whatsoever with this condition only a slight discharge which caused me to go to see the doctor in the first place. He operated a couple of weeks later and found that I had bilateral cysts and removed my right ovary which was 8" in diameter and was fully cystic and also removed what he could of the cyst that was on my left ovary, leaving me with what he described as a "fraction" of my ovary. They were diagnosed as chocolate cysts and he said that if I didn't have children within five years, it was unlikely that I would have any. I married in 2015, came in contact with Dr. Leonard's herbal medicine early last year and now gave birth to my daughter. I never had any problems again in this regard and he said that the herbal medicine would also help prevent any further fibroids and cysts from forming which I now believe am free from these ailment. This may give some hope to people who find themselves in a similar situation. I often wonder how many children I would end up with if I had two full working ovaries.