Friday, May 5, 2023

Andy Young: Good Karma, Bad Karma

By Andy Young

I am genuinely thankful I’ve gotten this far in life without becoming reliant on alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, painkillers, or any similar scourges. But I am not addiction-free.

I cannot pass a store where old books are sold without going in for a look. And that’s unfortunate, since my already-cluttered home needs more books like Washington, D.C. needs more lobbyists.

However, I believe in Karma, and that explains why I rarely leave an independent bookseller’s place of business without buying something. On my most recent visit to such an establishment I purchased a small, plain paperback titled, Instant Karma. because its subheading, “8879 Ways to Give Yourself and Others Good Fortune Right Now,” convinced me that acquiring it would be a worthwhile investment.

I honestly thought I didn’t need much help accumulating and sharing good Karma. Between picking up litter, contributing anonymously to local charities, donating blood every few weeks, and letting people with fewer than five items go ahead of me in the grocery store checkout line, I had previously assumed I was more or less all set in that department.

But absorbing new ideas is never a bad thing, so I opened the book and discovered that when it comes to doing good, I have a lot to learn. Who knew that “Putting a rug down for bare feet” was a karma-producer? Certainly not me, since my first conscious act each morning is donning a pair of socks.

Another suggestion I liked: “Cook with someone you love.” I’d be happy to do that, although I’d have to find a co-chef who passionately hates cheese as much as I do, since I abhor the smell, the texture, and everything else about cooked cheese.

I was delighted by the number of Instant Karma’s recommendations I’m already performing which apparently have Karmic benefits I was unaware of. “Write legibly,” “Return borrowed items undamaged,” and “Avoid hot, oily foods in the summertime” are just three examples of karma-accumulating actions the book suggests which I already perform habitually.

However, one thing Instant Karma lacks is advice on how to avoid bad karma, which, as John Edwards, Bill Cosby, and R. Kelly can attest, is a very real thing. I think the book could use a companion text, and I’m just the person to write it. My proposed sequel will list 8879 things to refrain from doing if one wishes to ward off the sort of destiny that inevitably befalls those who are sneaky, dishonest, unvirtuous, or just plain mean.

Don’t punt a chihuahua over a cliff. Don’t throw dirt on someone’s birthday cake. Don’t put Vaseline on toilet seats at the library. Don’t slash your neighbor’s tires. Don’t burn down any orphanages. Don’t pour battery acid into the reservoir. Don’t flick boogers at social workers. Don’t cheat on your spouse with a porn star. Don’t cheat on your spouse with a certified public accountant. Don’t cheat on your spouse, period.

The more I think about it, the more I believe I wouldn’t have any problem at all coming up with another 8,869 things to avoid doing if one wishes to avoid becoming a bad karma magnet.

Naturally certain quibbling nitpickers will point out that there are a few exceptions to the “What goes around, comes around” rule. For example, a person able to afford the services of the lawyers who comprised O. J. Simpson’s defense team may be able to temporarily avoid dire Karmic consequences. But to paraphrase a 1971 song that reached number nine on the Billboard Top 100, sooner or later, karma’s gonna get ‘ya.

Just ask John Edwards, Bill Cosby, and/or R. Kelly. <

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