Sure, sometimes I feel under-appreciated. Who doesn’t? The many thankless tasks that I complete that go unnoticed and unthanked–it happens.
But most recently, I’ve noticed how much credit I get for things that I just don’t deserve. I feel like an imposter. The general consensus is that I’m generous, “a nice guy.” But I know my darkness. I feel like the character William, from the film Almost Famous who explodes when the character Penny Lane declares him to be “sweet.” “Where do you get sweet? I am dark and mysterious, and pissed off! And I could be very dangerous to all of you. You should know that about me.”
Yeah, that’s me. Dark, mysterious, pissed off. Just this week I purposely drove 50 yards or so down a one-way street the wrong way just to to avoid going around the block. Dangerous.
Most recently I got way too much praise for something I did out of sheer impatience. I was standing in line at a Kaiser pharmacy behind a young man who had to be at least 18 years old, but appeared to have no clue about the process for ordering or paying for medication that he apparently needed right away. He showed up to get the prescription with no money and no credit card. The attendant let him use the phone to call his parents thinking they could give a credit card number over the phone to cover the co-pay. For some reason this was no longer (if it ever had been) allowed. There was a lot of shrugging and “well, I don’t know what to tell you” going on and they were about to let him make another phone call while the line continued to build when I called out loudly to the cashier, “Is this about a $10.00 co-pay?”
She looked up at me, startled, unsure if she could share such privileged information, and so I asked her again speaking more slowly and more clearly. She finally answered in the affirmative, and I leaned forward and slapped a $10 bill on the counter and said to the kid, “I got you covered on this one.”
What appears to be naked and unexpected generosity is often confusing, so it took a second for her and the boy to realize that I was willing, without question, to pay the toll for the kid’s medicine. Finally, the boy thanked me profusely, and the cashier told me repeatedly what a nice person I was for doing this. The guy behind me tapped me on the shoulder. “You paying for him, man? You’re like, paying it forward. Man, that is really cool.”
What I was paying for was convenience and my own impatience. It was well worth the ten bucks to get to the front of the line and not have to wait any longer for the Kaiser people to figure out what to do with this kid. but the people who witnessed the transaction were left with the impression that I was just an exemplary guy. Extra credit, see?
After keeping the same eyeglass frames for 8 years, I changed them up recently. One friend told me they made me look “edgy”–my true self becoming more apparent.
I also jaywalk–frequently.
For now, I’ll stick with the generally false impression I’ve created. It helps me to navigate the world with a good reputation. Only you, my 12 faithful readers, will know the real truth.