Where did Thanksgiving go? Sometimes its hard to grasp how quickly time passes us by. A good friend of mine told me years ago that the one thing he could never get over is how time seems to accelerate with each passing year. When youre young, days seem to take months; later in life, they seem to take minutes.
I cant believe that Christmas is approaching; its hard to concentrate on it with so much going on not only in the U.S. but also all over the world. I have done no shopping. I better get myself organized or Im headed for some dirty looks from my grandchildren and other loved ones. This is the time of year for giving. I also have to figure out what charities to donate to. Its always a good feeling to give and see the joy it can bring. It is also the time of year for sharing your feelings about others. Without the love of others, what an empty season this would be.
For a large number of people, however, this time of the year is depressing. All the commercialism and hoopla around the holidays seem hollow to them. I even know people who cant stand the phoniness of others being so nice and wishing each other Happy Holidays. They claim that many of those who go around being so nice often revert to being selfish, ill-mannered and deceitful on Dec. 26. The cartoonist Dick Hodgins Jr. once told me that he had always wished that people could treat each other the rest of the year the way they did at Christmas. I must admit, he had a point.
As an optimist, I still believe there are a lot of good people in the world who really do care and give of themselves to help others. I also know it would be foolhardy not to note that there are individuals who are basically concerned only with themselves and getting ahead. I do think the former outnumber the latter; at least, I hope so.
Recently I had the experience of losing a credit card with a large credit line attached to it. I didnt know what to do. Should I wait for a few hours to see if anyone would turn it in or cancel it immediately, believing someone was about to start living the good life on my dime? Eventually, I decided to cancel the card. So I got on the phone with a service representative at the bank. She told me that someone had already called after finding my card, which led the company to put a hold on the card so I wouldnt have to worry about any unauthorized person using it. I asked the representative to repeat what she had just told me. Although I believe in peoples capacity for goodness, I was still stunned that someone in downtown Chicago would be so kind and thoughtful. It reinforced my belief that most people are good and dont spend their time thinking about how to rip someone off. If you take the mainstream media seriously, you almost get the impression there are no honest people left in the world.
Just as I was writing this, one of my colleagues told me she had left her wallet in a cab. She called in a state of panic: She had a large amount of cash in it, not to mention all of her credit cards and IDs. She and her assistant discussed what course of action she should take, with the assistant suggesting she should wait a bit before canceling all her cards. About 15 minutes later the cabbie called and said he had found the wallet. When he returned it, all the credit cards and cash were still there.
So much for thinking that everyone is a criminal or dishonest. It just isnt true. Maybe many of us should reconsider our fear of others and realize that the majority of people usually do the right thing.