Am I my brother’s keeper?

Cain and AbelA pernicious strain of negativity runs through me, and my many efforts to eradicate it have been fruitless. So pronounced is this predisposition that some years ago it prompted a colleague to ask if I had appointed myself a member of the behavior police.

I laughed at his joke, launched when he heard me yell to no one in particular that the driver of the car in front of us was a “****ing ass****,” and I pretended to be unfazed. Really, though, I felt  ashamed that he could see my smallnesses leaching out of me, and now, whenever I catch myself fretting over what I deem to be a stranger’s downright insensitivity or unconsciousness, I think of the joke and feel helpless to do anything about this part of myself.

Today, though, I might just have stumbled upon some help, coming as it did in the guise of a couple crossing the street, with the male of the pair never once looking up from his phone. As I watched him take as much time as he possibly could to cross the road, I tsk-tsked inwardly about the great harm that can come because someone like this has absolutely no regard for what is going on around him. Then, I noticed that his companion was holding his elbow, and it occurred to me that perhaps some real social good could come from the mindless inattention we now suffer as a result of our preoccupation with electronic gadgetry and social media.

Because never before have so many of us put so many others of us at such great, round-the-clock risk, it is now necessary for those of us trying to pay attention in life to look after those of us who are not. Thus, we can become that much more holy and can save our own skin in the bargain.

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