Doing the right thing usually isn’t worth it

Will E Sanders

March 21, 2014

My whole life I have struggled with the question of whether I was a nice person doing bad things or a bad person who was trying to be good. I don’t know if anybody else feels like this, but on most days it seems like it takes every ounce of Will E power to be a decent, civilized and nice human being.

I have to try incredibly hard to be a good person in life. I wonder if it is this hard to be a good person for everyone else, or is it just me?

I am the last guy you want having your back if you start a bar fight. I would run away with my tail between my legs. If you lose your wallet and I find it, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news for you. If I slam my car door into your vehicle in the parking lot of the grocery store don’t expect me to be responsible, considerate or to even leave a note.

Sometimes during lucid moments of my existence I feel the compulsion to do good things and to be a good person. Such moments are fleeting under the overbearing realization that the world is just a nasty place. I have been the recipient of an unaided bar brawl, a lost wallet and a dinged-up car door. These are all logical signs from the universe telling me that I should reciprocate such poor behavior.

I was under one of the abovementioned lucid moments of morally virtuous ambitions the other day while I was at a big-box store picking out a few birthday presents for Christine.

Suddenly, an obviously lost child spilled out of an aisle and stumbled right into me.

I don’t care who you are, from a saint to the meanest son of a female dog in the whole wide world, I like to think anyone placed in that situation would assist a small child. So that’s exactly what I did.

Strike that. That’s exactly what I tried to do — up until a stranger butted in with an accusatory and skeptical tone.

“Are you lost, little guy?” I asked the tyke.

I had no sooner muttered the words when a busybody woman piped up and asked the young boy, “Do you know this man?”

She looked at me as if I had ill intent. She scolded me with her judgmental eyes. It was as if she mistook what I was carrying in my hands — a lovely birthday bouquet of tulips and an expensive box of chocolates — for something more sinister, like trash bags and zip ties.

“Can I help you?” the nosy woman said, looking up at me with a gaze that would turn lesser men into stone. “Why are you talking to that child?”

Apparently it’s a crime against common decency in this country to try to help a scared child who has wandered away from the not-so-watchful eyes of his mother. Is that what this world has come to? I realize I am a mysterious guy and I usually walk around with my hood up, but come on. How come I can’t help a lost child without some fearful moron assuming I am a kidnapper or worse?

But I am the bad guy right, for what? Doing the right thing?

Let’s not blame the easily-distractible mother of the lost child in question, a woman so devoid of parental responsibility that clearance sales outweigh maternal instinct. Mom’s a top-notch class act. I mean, she’s over in the kitchenware department counting coupons and paying no attention to the whereabouts of a tiny human being that once came out of her body.

But no, it can’t be her fault.

It’s my fault. Really, it is. It’s my fault for not doing what I normally would do and that’s minding my own business. I should have blissfully walked past an obviously lost child without cause for concern to any immediate danger he may or may not have been in.

Agitated and unwilling to cuss in front of a small child, at that point I just walked away. I learned my lesson. Trying to be a good person is useless.

From now on it’s going to be no more Mr. Nice Guy.

To contact Will E Sanders email him at wille@willesanders.com. To learn more about Will E Sanders, to read past columns or to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.