As you can guess, when a business owner’s favorite television show is Something About Earl, Karma is bound to play a major role in the collective psyche of the staff and regular patrons. I’m not talking about heavy-duty voodoo mystical nonsense or vengeful archangels smiting you dead with fiery swords, so if your cerebral development stalled out in adolescence (remember the thrill of first discovering atheism?) and you haven’t yet figured out or accepted that there is more to life and human consciousness then what modern medical science has discovered so far, fear not and read on! There’s no mysticism hiding here, just good-natured anecdotal musings on why we go insane with guilt when we do something we know is wrong and why we feel so wonderful and warm and fuzzy when we do something, especially in secret, that we think is right.
Not surprisingly, this train of thought was put on track by a recent incident at the Yacht Club. Our custodial engineer (who will remain anonymous at his own humble request, so let’s just call him . . . Merlyn) and I arrived at the bar on a recent Saturday morning at 9:30 am, (That’s right! Do you think we’re like football players who just show up at game time and start playing? No, my friend. Quite a bit goes on behind the scenes in the bar business, which is why I have enough material to bring you this weekly column until at least December 12th, 2012 which is when the Mayan calendar predicts I will forget to continue writing it.) at which time he started sweeping and mopping the floor and I made coffee and began whining about how underpaid I was. “It’s lucky for someone I’m honest,” Merlyn said, a few minutes later, and produced a pink wallet with nothing in it but a substantial tax-return check and six hundred dollars cash. To make a long story short (ho ho ho) Merlyn reunited the cash with its rightful owner and was rewarded by her for his deed with twenty bucks, an arrangement which spawned weeks of quality, philosophical interlocution not only at the window table but along both sides of the bar as well.
My first thought, and it was in no way unique, was that the reward seemed a little weak, considering what Ms. Lucky had literally lost, not to mention that ol’ Mr. Merlyn probably could have really used 600 dollars (who the hell couldn’t?), but then it was brought up by various sage imbibers (who cunningly put themselves in her shoes) that maybe it was her rent money, etc. etc.). I must bring up at this point that the only person incredulous that there was even any discussion about what to do with the money was Meredith (God bless her and her heart of gold) who, come to think of it, has certainly returned well over 600 dollars worth of stuff I alone have lost over the years. And from there the conversations took an interesting and heart warming turn away from specuations on what to do with 600 dollars and veered into a veritable avalanche of anecdotes about the various items and sums people had found and returned in the Yacht Club and elsewhere over the years (Randal appearing to be the clear winner with finds of 500 and 100 dollars on separate occasions) until I began to wonder if I was the sole unobservant villain in this sea of heros who had never found and returned anything.
And then I remembered. You may think you have caught me in a lie, knowing my aversion to the “R” word, but with God as my witness, along with my friend Tom Wall, I once found 50 dollars on the floor, long before I was demoted from customer to server, and turned it in to the bartender, Stephanie Rucker, who said, “I’ll hang onto it and if nobody asks after it, you keep it.” And by Jimminy, at 4am, as Tom and I were finishing our fourth pitcher of Rolling Rock and lifting up our feet so Robert could mop the floor under the table, Stephanie presented us with our tab ($24.00) and the fifty dollar bill we had found. “It’s yours.” we said in unison and got our first Yacht Club bell ring.