no good deed (a Broken World story)
“No good deed goes unpunished”
My name is Colin MacDonald. I came up with that quote and it was so true and profound that it went both backwards and forwards in time. Like a ripple.
As you might guess, something pretty big must have happened to come up with an insight like that.
Eighteen years ago I caught a little girl who had fallen out of window. Everyone called it bravery but it really wasn’t. I just happened to be walking along that particular street and I just happened to look up at the right moment and see a little girl leaning out of a window. Before I could even yell a warning she fell out.
What was I supposed to do? Let her splat on the pavement?
So I caught her. It was more instinct than courage
I got my fifteen minutes of fame from it. I was on the TV news and in all the magazines. Well, a lot of them anyway. A ‘feel good’ story however you look at it. The girl’s mother was crying and throwing her arms around me and that was the photo they used on the front page of my hometown paper.
What could possibly be the downside to this type of thing?
I’ll tell you. Four years ago the girl and her family invited me to her high school graduation and I had to fly half way around the country just to stand awkwardly for pictures. The worst part was that I found the girl a little bit annoying.
She had this laugh that was grating as hell and giant buck teeth. If these teeth had already come in when I caught her I’d probably have been impaled.
It made me wonder if I had gotten in the way of natural selection. If Charles Darwin was turning over in his grave at the thought of a girl who didn’t even know enough not to fall out of window living through the incident. And even, one day, possibly, passing on those genes.
Which is fine, I’m not saying that I wish I hadn’t caught her. Not at all.
It’s just that what arrived today in my mailbox? An invitation to her college graduation.
They really expect me to go back for another round of the ‘I wouldn’t be here if not for this guy as everyone applauds for a minute’ treatment followed by me wandering off into a corner for the rest of the evening?
Is this what I have to look forward to? Every time she gets married or celebrates a big birthday or, heaven forbid, falls out of another window, I’m going to be expected to drop everything and show up like a rented entertainer or clown? A living prop. An offering to probability to keep the next dose of misfortunate away from her door.
What if at her baby shower I find out the same exact thing happened to her mom, down to the floor she fell from? And her grandmother. What if she was a third generation window-faller-outer? Would I be damning some other poor sap to having to catch her gravity-challenged daughter a few years later?
What if they don’t look up at just the right time?
What if I hadn’t? What would I be doing a month from now instead of attending her graduation?
“I don’t believe in coincidences. There is no such thing as a coincidence.
Everything happens for a reason.”
Another ripple. At least something good came out of it.