Friday, November 23, 2007

Do the Right Thing

As you know, this is International Buy Nothing Day, a great idea that needs to happen more than once a year. Could we have a weekly Buy Nothing Day and still survive? How about a weekly Drive Nowhere Day? Or a Use No Plastic Day?

But, but...there will always be exceptions, won't there? What if you have to buy medications for a sick cat or you have to buy a part to make your toilet work? Or in my case today, what if you find out one of your students got hit by a van and is in the hospital?

I packed up some kid books and headed over to Children's Hospital today. I didn't know whether my student would be in any condition to read or to be read to, so I stopped in the gift shop -- even though I knew full well it was Buy Nothing Day. I found a stuffed lion to represent an African play my student had appeared in recently.

Up in the room, the patient was pretty miserable with a broken leg bone at the hip, and other damage. He's going to be all right eventually, but right now there's some major pain to get through and a whole lot of healing ahead. The books will come in handy in a few more days, but right now all the patient wanted to do was to hug the toy lion and smile out a thanks to me for being there. We had a good visit, and that lion stayed nestled in the crook of his good shoulder all the while I was there.

I don't know if there is a moral to this story. The stuffed lion was probably not a fare trade item made in a factory where workers are fairly paid and have medical coverage. I should have stopped at The Market Path to look for a gift. That would have meant a slight detour in my trip to the hospital. But like most people, I didn't think ahead and just went with the impulse. Good intentions are so easily lead astray by what is convenient and what is not.

To make up for my transgression, I will Buy Nothing tomorrow. Here's why:

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