A Random Act of Kindness for People Who Hate Change

27 Feb

Old Man Reading Newspaper_opt

I hurt myself while performing a good deed this morning. Oh, stop crying–I’m okay. I didn’t mean “seriously” hurt. It’s just your average bump-your-leg kind of deal. Jeez.

Here’s some background:

An elderly couple in our neighborhood receives two daily ANALOG, finger-staining newspapers. Each morning I walk the dogs by their house and notice the papers in the most random spots. I’ll see the newspaper in the blue plastic way over there and the newspaper in pink plastic way over there. (I’m pointing to the opposite end of the yard.) The next day they could be switched. It leaves me wondering if monkeys are delivering the news in my neighborhood.

It would be nice if the two newspapers were always nestled together to be scooped up in one creaky elderly motion. The yard slopes severely towards the road, and the four legs in that house must be shot all to hell at this point. One day I’m afraid I’ll find one of them lying face first on the sidewalk in a puddle of blood.

But once in awhile–today, for example–the paper is within my reach. As the dogs urinated on a pile of dirty snow, I leaned over their little retaining wall and reeeeached–almost got it!–and cracked my goddam shin. With clenched teeth I straightened and flung the paper 15 feet towards the house. The paper somersaulted four times and landed with a thunk right up against the other paper. I really wanted to do some fist pumps and pretend I hit the game winner against the Heat, but my leg hurt.

As I finished my walk (with a slight limp), I couldn’t help thinking that if they were my parents I would buy them tablets and digital subscriptions. Then I would train them how to use them. I would say something like this:

Okay guys, I know you’re old and you hate change but this is 2013–you’re the last ones left receiving “paper” news, so I got you tablet computers. When you wake up the news is waiting for you. You just turn it on! No more going outside to hunt for your newspapers. And look–see there!–you can make the words as big as you need ’em for your failing eyes.

Then they would thank me and hug me for an hour and I would leave and they would never cancel their home delivery and they would use their iPad minis as coasters.

And then their thoughtful, clumsy neighbor would continue to kill himself trying to be kind.

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