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Karma can be a good thing


A long, long time ago, I was explaining to my daughter how karma works. It wasn’t going well.

Me: It’s like, you do something good for someone, and later, someone does something good for you.

Daughter: So you’ll buy me a new cell phone?

Me: No. It’s like … what comes around goes around.

Daughter: So, if I clean my room, I’ll get a new cell phone?

Me: (banging head against wall): No. It’s like, if you pay for the coffee for the guy in line behind you, someone might buy you coffee later. And you can’t do a good

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A long, long time ago, I was explaining to my daughter how karma works. It wasn’t going well.

Me: It’s like, you do something good for someone, and later, someone does something good for you.

Daughter: So you’ll buy me a new cell phone?

Me: No. It’s like … what comes around goes around.

Daughter: So, if I clean my room, I’ll get a new cell phone?

Me: (banging head against wall): No. It’s like, if you pay for the coffee for the guy in line behind you, someone might buy you coffee later. And you can’t do a good deed expecting one to come your way later.

Daughter: What does this have to do with my new cell phone?

I must’ve paid it forward in a big, big way at some point, and last weekend, I reaped the rewards.

Friday I was excited; going to the big city to see a concert! Getting out of Dodge!

But first, while eating breakfast, a crown fell off a tooth. Oh well; I’ve had them fall out in worse places: scuba diving comes to mind. I left for Portland, sans crown.

So, I’m toodling up I-5, pull into a rest area south of Eugene, and my radiator decided it’d had enough. Clouds of hot mist seethed from under the hood.

Keep in mind, a few years ago these two events would have Set. Me. Off. It would not have mattered that the radiator was old (almost 19 years). It would not have mattered that, while it wasn’t sunny, it wasn’t raining. No, I would have been yelling and throwing wrenches and cursing the birds in the skies. Scaring the public: my modus operandi. I was good.

I’ve come a long way. Now I only curse birds in the sky. It still scares the public.

I popped the hood.

A woman parted the mist, appearing like an apparition behind me.

A man appeared and duct-taped the 6-inch crack in my radiator. The woman offered me a gallon of water to refill the radiator. Another man who was panhandling for gas money to get to a wedding or funeral — his story kept changing — refilled that jug several times. The woman then gave me a list of mechanics’ phone numbers and asked if I needed a ride.

And they wafted away on the mist that delivered them. I think they were angels.

The mechanic was five miles away. He had the part. And it was 4 p.m. — on a Friday. Wow. That’s good karma.

I drove slowly — much to the frustration of other drivers who were yelling, throwing wrenches and cursing birds in the sky — to his shop. It was way out there. Chickens were running amok, a banjo player was perched on the porch. But within a couple hours, he had me back on the road.

That’s good karma. And it didn’t stop!

Saturday, I headed to the concert, but my GPS wasn’t cooperating. So I blindly, foolishly headed downtown. It’s a big, bustling, messy place, downtown Portland. Lots of cars on a Saturday afternoon. Lots of bridges, lane changes, red lights, bikes.

I turned left, turned left again, over the bridge, and there, right in front of me: Keller Auditorium — my destination! Cool. Now for my rock-star parking karma. I glanced around and — you got it! A parking garage! I got parking in the first row on the first level!

Later: I was 4 cents short for a coffee; a man dug a nickel from his pocket.

Sunday: When I summoned my nephew because I wasn’t sure I had enough money for a soda, the lady behind the counter said it was on her.

That night, I got home, and one of my chickens was missing. Monday morning, I opened the blinds so the cats could watch the Great Outdoors, and there she was, dining under the apple tree.

And when I went to my dentist to make an appointment to reseat the crown? The lady said she’d take me right now.

I sure have a lot to pay forward, now.

Coffee anyone?