“MUSICAL CHAIRS” KARMA
Sunday afternoon I was wondering what the exchange rate is from karma to dollars.
Let me explain.
I often talk about “Cosmic Karma” and how the universe keeps track of your kind words and selfless actions, sort of like a bank trading in the currency of good deeds.
Yes, I just made a financial institutional analogy to “You reap what you sow.”
But like Bank of America, I feel I often do nothing but make deposits at the galactic ATM and get charged stupid fees if I want to make any kind of withdrawal. And let’s not even talk about interest.
So, let me talk briefly about my latest deposit.
A Runner’s Circle (my running store o’ choice) was having their “7th Birthday Party” yesterday. It was a great shindig with tons of good food, games and prizes. I stopped by to pick up a few things at the store, have some snacks and say hello to the ARC gang. Well, while I was stuffing my face like I had never tasted food before, they announced it was time to play party games for prizes.
The prize… brand new running shoes from Brooks.
The game… musical chairs.
Well, I love party games. I’m competitive. And I can always use new shoes.
The ladies went first, dancing around the chairs to Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy.” And things were indeed happy when the music was playing. But when it stopped,the scene was more like the “Running of the Brides” when the doors first open at 8am.
Let’s do the math:
Athletic and competitive ladies + shoes x “free” = pandaemonium (and a fun time).
As I sat there watching and smiling at the mayhem, I made a mental note… never get between determined ladies and something they really want.
Once the ladies’ free-for-all was over and to the victor went the spoils (aka shoes), it was time for the men to strut their musical stuff.
So, I entered the battlefield with about a dozen other gents as we prepared for musical war.
To be honest I don’t remember what song was playing (I think “Cry of the Valkyrie” would have been appropriate) because I was focused on listening for the musical break and making certain that my ass met chair and not air.
And I did well, quite well in fact.
With each passing round, I was able to sit my bad self down whenever the music stopped and watched as the list of opponents quickly dwindled.
I was still alive and kicking. It felt like the “March Madness” of musical chairs and I had gone from Sweet Sixteen, to Elite Eight and was dancing in the Final Four.
Apparently, there was no stopping me. Suddenly it was down to the final two. Mano y mano. I had made it to the “money” round… or should I say “shoe” round.
That’s when things changed.
The powers that be decided to shake things up a little. Instead of just having me and my “foe” dance around the sole remaining chair, they added a wrinkle. We would indeed dance, but when the music stopped, we’d have to sit in the “other” chair… the one placed 50 yards away. Yup, we were going to play “musical sprinting chairs.”
Like the drag race scene in “Rebel Without a Cause” the spectators created an alley for us to run down… there may have been a cliff at the end; I’m not really sure.
We were then told that this needed to be nice and clean. No grabbing, pushing, tripping or eye gauging. Apparently musical chairs had taken a turn for the surreal.
Was this still a party game or did we just graduate to Thunderdome? All I needed was to hear people chanting “Two men enter, one man leaves.”
Still waiting on my “karma” moment Trippers? Don’t worry, it’s coming.
The music started playing for the final time. Me and my opponent danced happily around the chair without a care in the world (or so we led everyone to believe). Once around. Twice. Three times. And then the music stopped.
That’s when the shit got real.
I took off like a bat out of hell with my opponent hot on my heels. Fortunately, I had a good two steps on him. And there was no way I was going to lose this race.
Cue the karmic moment.
That’s when an eight-year-old happily chewing on his dessert and oblivious to what was going on around him stepped right into my path. In a split instant I was faced with two choices:
- Blow through this kid, sending him and his treat flying and ensuring victory (little kids bounce, right).
- Dodge the young ‘un, lose my momentum and most likely the race.
Did I mention they were really nice shoes?
Well, for better or worse, Mr. & Mrs. Devine raised their boy right and there was no prize worth leveling a little kid… or his cookie.
So, I shifted gears and side-stepped the roving cookie muncher, giving my opponent the opportunity he needed to catch me. We hit the chair at the same time and both went flying.
I landed on the collapsed chair with a thud, as did he.
But it was determined that my foe had more butt cheek in place than I did and he was declared the victor.
While he had his photo taken and was handed the “free shoe certificate,” I had the comfort of several people walking up to me and saying what a nice thing I had done and they knew it cost me the race.
Now what would have been fitting would have been if the kid came up and handed me a cookie as a consolation prize. But he was too busy making a second (or perhaps third) trip to the dessert table. Oh well, boys will be boys.
Anyway, after dusting myself off and getting my own cookie (okay, I took two) I said my goodbyes to the ARC gang and went about my day… sans free shoes (I ended up buying a pair), but feeling that I had done the universe another small solid.
Life isn’t always fair and I’ve witnessed plenty of people (including some I’ve known) lie, cheat and take advantage of others (including myself) to get ahead or get what they want. I guess I could go down that road, if I wanted.
But that’s not me. Never has been… never will be. I won’t ever knock down literal or figurative cookie-carrying kids (or adults), no matter the spoils. I’ll continue to make cosmic karma deposits whether or not the galactic good deed bank pays dividends. That’s who I am.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to buy a lottery ticket… just in case the universe is feeling a little generous.