Tuesday, January 11, 2011


What goes around comes back around. ~~ Justin Timberlake

For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. ~~ Galations 6:7

You get what you put in, and people get what they deserve. ~~ Kid Rock

He had it comin’. ~~Cell Block Tango, Chicago

John Lennon, the Bhagavad Gita, Boy George…I could quote versions of this idea ad infinitum. Although it is kinda fun to keep listing incarnations of the concept, I’ll illustrate it instead.

Last Friday night, Bruce and I stopped by our local Hibbett Sports store. I needed a new pair of athletic shoes. My shins and calves recently started hurting during Jazzercise, cluing me in that my shoes were dead. You only have 100 hours of workouts in any pair of athletic shoes. I had surpassed that mark and then some.

My shoes are Rykas, and I love them…or I did before my legs started hurting. I order them through Jazzercise and getting a new pair takes a while. After Friday night’s workout and pain shooting down my shins, I was unwilling to wait.

I tried on two pair of Nikes and a pair of Asics. My reaction to all three pair…meh. They were okay, but not as good as my Rykas when they were new. I refused to even try on the pair touted as “the best.” They were traffic-cone orange, yellow and gray. Call me superficial, but I don’t care if they made it possible to walk on water. I’m not wearing ugly shoes. The three pair I did try cost as much or more than the Rykas. The cheapest pair, $60.

The salesperson was also the store manager. He could tell I was less than thrilled, so he started asking questions. Based on my answers, he decided I might not need new shoes. Gel heel inserts or new insoles might do the trick. I left the store with the gel heel inserts after he told me I could bring them back if they didn’t work.

And holy cow! They did! Saturday morning’s workout was all it took. I felt like I was wearing a brand new pair of shoes. Instead of paying $60 for a pair of meh shoes, I paid $12 for a pair of inserts. I’m still ordering new Rykas, but the inserts will hold me over until they get here.

What do new shoes have to do with the price of tea in China? Two days later, when my eldest needed a new backpack for school, I went back to Hibbett’s. No shopping around…no off-brands…I walked in and paid for an insanely overpriced Under Armour model.

They had it comin’.

I don’t know if the sales guy’s helpfulness was part of Hibbett’s corporate culture or his own moral compass, but because he/they didn’t take advantage of me on the shoes, I was willing to pay their price on the book bag.

Shoes and a book bag are small in the grand scheme, but what if we felt like we were getting a fair shake on a bigger scale? Would we be more willing to pony up when we had to? What if our discourse was civil and respectful? Would we be more willing to listen and really hear each other?

Karma means “deed” or “act” and is one name for that idea of cause and effect, action and reaction. Every action has a consequence. Every positive word and deed lands somewhere. Affects somebody.

And so does every negative word and deed.

In spite of my snarky writing voice, I am an optimist at heart. I see good in people every day. I see a student lean over and help the new girl log on to the computer for the first time. I hear women of all shapes and sizes encouraging each other at Jazzercise. I see my colleagues staying after school and working with students when they aren’t getting paid.

Positive discourse is alive and well, and we all have a responsibility to see that it rings louder than the inevitable negativity.

Karma is a beautiful thing.

Karma is a bitch.

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