Monday, May 18, 2009

Serendipity do

I think it’s cool when things seem to happen for a reason.

Doesn’t have to be a great big chain of cosmic events altering the time-space continuum and creating alternate realities. Although I guess in a cosmic sense we wouldn’t really know when that sort of thing happens anyway.

What I’m talking about is those seemingly trivial, seemingly insignificant events that happen every day that just fit together so well that it makes you wonder about fate, providence, whatever.

I say they’re seemingly insignificant, but I think these chains of events happen more often than we notice. And perhaps they are more important than we think they are.

Here’s the latest example from my awesome life.

So I’m at a certain sports/entertainment event well known for the proliferation of product sponsors. I’m wandering around a concourse area when a helpful chap comes up and offers me a free sample box of Goody's Headache Powder - Cool Orange.

It's a powder (like Kool Aid) that you pour into a bottle of water, let it dissolve, then drink the potion for headache relief. Nifty idea, I thought. Wonder if it works.

I stuck the three dosage packs in my pocket, anticipating a headache later in the day from too much sun and fun. But with all the merry-making and being awesome, I soon forgot they were there and it turned out I didn’t need them anyway.

Now fast forward ten or eleven hours. It’s two in the morning and I’m returning to the hotel. I stop at the front desk to check for messages and mail. There’s another fellow talking to the front desk attendant. The woman behind the counter seems to have disappointed him, saying something like “I’m sorry sir, we just can’t give out that kind of thing here.”

But the guy is insistent.

“Look all I need is some Tylenol, or some ibuprofen or something,” he says. “My wife is next door and she’s got a terrible headache. There aren’t any stores open around here.”

I instantly remember the headache powder packets I've had in my pocket all day and it all seems too perfect. I size up the guy and quickly conclude he isn’t some kind of ibuprofen junkie. I pull the medicine out and slide it down the check-in desk counter to him.

“Try these,” I say. “I don’t know if they’ll work, but it’s better than nothing.”

He recognizes the packets and is very gracious.

“Aw thanks man!” he says. ”This is great. You’re really helping me out. I really appreciated it.”

He offers a handshake which I return.

“No problem,” I say. “Hope it helps.”

“I want to repay you. Are you going to be in town for a while?” he asks.

I tell him I leave in the morning – actually, in a few hours. But no repayment is needed.

“Well are you going to be back next week? I own the bar across the street and you can be my guest for drinks or something.”

Tempted as I am, I’m pretty well exhausted from being awesome all day, and I’m already thinking about the travel day tomorrow – er, later today. I tell him I won’t be back in town and repeat that no repayment is necessary. It's just me doin’ a solid for a brutha (hell, I didn’t pay for the stuff anyway).

And besides, I couldn’t help but mull over the possibility that God... The Universe... karma... or whatever... had me bump into the medicine marketer and get a free sample for the express purpose of delivering it to this guy’s ailing wife a few hours later.

For that matter, the entire purpose of my life could have been to be in that specific place at that particular moment with free samples of headache medicine in my pocket just at the time when someone needed free headache medicine.

That may sound trivial and unimportant, but how do I know that the guy’s wife wasn’t working on a key breakthrough in the cure for cancer and if she could just get rid of her headache she could concentrate on finally working out the solution.

Or maybe she was about to finally figure out how to achieve peace in the Middle East? Or perhaps she'd worked out a way for newspapers to make money? Or it's possible that she was about to develop a treatment for Larry Moore's extreme geezerism.

We just don’t know, is all I’m sayin’. And I couldn’t very well take payment for playing such a pivotal roll in this cosmic drama. It just wouldn't be good karma, you know?

So I left him with these words before heading up to my room.

“Look, you don’t owe me any money. But some day, and that day may never come, I’ll call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, accept this headache medicine as a gift from me.”

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  1. I thought something similar when I was doing the 5k at Corporate Challenge and I happened to be behind a woman at a water stop when she asked for a tissue and they didn't have any. I put one in my pocket before I left the house but hadn't needed it, so I gave it to her.

  2. from the other guy's blog: some weirdo gave me headache medicine for my wife today, hope he doesn't show up at my bar next week. sounded like the Amish but didn't have a beard. they must've discovered razors now.


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