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When They Can Do Nothing For You

April 13, 2021

We’re playing the trade-up game and wondered if you had anything you might be willing to trade that’s bigger and better than this softball?

They looked about 13. Just a couple teenagers out on a Monday afternoon. Did I have anything? Sure. Did I have time? Yeah. Was I going to gain anything from it? Nope.

Oh sure, a softball. I’ve got a box of them that haven’t been touched in years. I don’t need another softball.

I traded them a scooter. Also not been used in years. The boys were pretty excited. I never played the trade-up game. But, my boys did. We spent years with an old kids electric car in our backyard from one of my boys games.

Of course, I didn’t have to participate at all today. I could have told the boys I was busy. I mean, I was working on stuff. You know. . .stuff. . .in the garage. Stuff.

I have a friend on facebook who is a young woman in the theater business in New York. She’s working like mad to make it as a member of the crew. Honestly, I’m not sure what she does. She’s the daughter of a good friend, who passed away a few years ago. I’ve stayed in contact, but honestly, I’m not really part of the circles she moves in. I’m old. I’m married. I live in Utah. Some of my kids are her age.

I have a few friends in the theater industry and when she was looking for work, I put in a good word for her. I think a job came out of it. (He was a pretty influential friend.) Did I have to help her out? Of course not. In fact, she would never have know if I didn’t call my friend. What’s there in anything in it for me? Not really. Just helping out a friend’s daughter.

Why do we help people that can do nothing for us?

Psychological egoism: The view that humans are always motivated by self-interest and selfishness, even in what seem to be acts of altruism.

Is psychological egoism correct? Do we always look for what’s in it for us? Why did I help the boys? Maybe so I could feel good about myself. Maybe so I could get rid of a scooter?

What about my friend’s daughter? Maybe so that someday if she becomes a big important Broadway producer I can score free tickets?

Karma: A belief in Hinduism and Buddhism that the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence decides our fate in future existences.

Also, the idea that our actions cause our fate.

I’m not a huge believer in karma either. I don’t do nice thinks for people so that somehow the universe will reward me.

I’m a believer in just being a nice person. I think if more people stopped looking for what’s in it for them, and instead looked for opportunities to practice random acts of kindness, the world would be better.

Maybe I am thinking there’s something in it for me, after all.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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