No good deed goes unpunished

The super-sparkly hearts that will go on the larger, stuffed red felt valentines.

This is an old saw that I have had trouble explaining to my kids. “Well, when you do something nice for someone, you often get bit in the butt” is not an explanation that encourages the doing of good deeds. I have a natural tendency to see the glass as half empty first, but then I consciously turn it around to find it half full, or even three-fifths full. There is a silver lining to everything. I’m sick of hearing myself say, “Yeah, sure, but it could be worse.” So “no good deed goes unpunished” is one saying I rarely say, except on the Thursday before this Valentine’s Day.

A very, very good friend is having a completely miserable time of it right now. She has two kindergarten classes that she teaches, and the emotional strain of her home life is making it difficult to do all that out-of-classroom work that primary teachers always do. So I offered to prepare a Valentine’s craft for her 38 little guys. It’s actually like therapy for me, because I love arts and crafts time.

Fast forward to 5 a.m. the day I am delivering the pre-cut, pre-glued, pre-twisted and pre-decorated craft DIY bags to my friend. I am going to be Zip-loc bagging all the components to episodes of House and CSI on Showcase, whilst having a fresh caffe latte, in the peace of my no-kids-up-yet home. Before I start the coffee or turn on the TV, I check the gluing job of the night before. The glue is wet. It has soaked into the felt, and not stuck anything. It’s pouring rain outside—duh. Too much humidity. Find glue gun. Can’t find the right size of glue sticks. Find fancy glue. Cap stuck. Dig at it with knife. Hold under really hot water. Dig at it with pliers. Then, do what every parent tells the kids not to do: I use my teeth. Pop! off comes the lid, and something bounces across the kitchen table. Wow! I think, what a hard plug of glue that was!

That was no glue plug. That was half a tooth.

Oh yes, my tongue found the gaping hole a couple of minutes later, when the inside of my lip got irritated.

That’ll be a root canal and a crown, thank you.

I give you: No good deed goes unpunished.

QUESTIONS FOR YOU: do you believe that no good deed goes unpunished? Have you been discouraged from a good deed because of the fallout? How would YOU explain this saying to an 8 year old?

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3 Responses

  1. I always thought that saying was just a reason for people who don’t like doing good deeds to get out of doing them. If doing good deeds was super easy, with no doubts, no effort, no fallout, we would be living in a much kinder world.

  2. Oh, and I am sorry to hear about your tooth! Not being a dentist, I would still hazard a guess that it would have popped off anyway!!!
    I think you were fortunate that it came off while you were doing a lovely thing for someone who is truly appreciative.

  3. The trick is this: Don’t do any good deed that requires you to wake up at too early. Nothing should be attempted before coffee has some time to do its job.

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