Friday, December 12, 2008

Rubber Ducky, You’re The One

For the life of me I can't ever remember having suggested to my kids that they take toys into the bath with them. I asked my wife about this and we also consulted the team of childhood development experts we keep locked in the basement, and they all agreed that no mention was made of this action to the kids. The other day I was cleaning the bathroom and I found that the amount of toys in the bath was huge. There were at least 3 boats, 6 rubber ducks and several other dolls, cups and various water animals.

When do kids begin to take these 'extras' into the tub? What is the catalyst for this? If we as parents don't suggest it, how do they get the idea? I know I did the same when I was a kid. But I think know exactly who to blame it on though -- Ernie from Sesame Street. I think it all began with his cute little 'Rubber Ducky' song and the mounds of bubbles. He made it seem like we couldn't possibly take a bath with out at least one rubber ducky toy in the water with us.

I think there should be a public enquiry into the connection between Ernie and the Rubber Ducky Industrial Complex. What was he given for his unrestrained endorsement of rubber ducks? Was it money? Kickbacks? Sexy female muppets? I think we as a nation should demand answers to these questions. Or at the very least a nice new rubber duck.

Monday, December 8, 2008

‘Tis The Season (part 2)

Just when I think that my Christmas spirit has been stepped on, beaten down and left for dead, a story comes along that reminds me of the goodness of people at this time of year.

At a suburban Goodwill store on Friday, Theresa Settles selected a large, black comforter to warm her family until she can raise the money to turn the gas heat back on. A petite woman approached, her face obscured by dark sunglasses and a wrapped winter scarf, and handed Settles two $100 bills stamped with the words "secret Santa." – Associated Press

For 26 years an unknown man would hit the streets in Kansas City and hand out $100 dollar bill to people who looked like they needed a lift. Perhaps they needed food money, gas money or just a reminder of the goodness of others. Over the quarter century he did this, the man handed out approximately $1.3 million dollars. Truly kindness on a grand scale. Now almost 2 years after this man's death from cancer other 'Secret Santas' have taken to the streets to continue this man's work. Reports of at least 3 Secret Santas have hit the news. People giving to others for no other reason than kindness. They do not want to be identified, recognized or rewarded.

Over the holidays, we should all try something like this. Not everyone can hand out $100 dollar bills. Most of us in these tough economic times would be hard pressed to give away $20. But what about the almost expired parking meter you walk by on the sidewalk. 25¢ is something we can all part with. Think of the last time you parked at a meter and got held up in a line at the store or bank. Imagine the relief of getting back to your car and finding someone had given you more time on the meter. Or what about the next time through the drive thru, you pay for the coffee of the person behind you. Or maybe leave a little bigger tip next time at the restaurant. These little acts of kindness are what this season is all about.

Oh, there is one catch to this. The person on the receiving end of the kindness… They might pass the spirit along to someone else. In this world of consumerism, greed and war, how is that a bad thing?