When the Parameters of Your Generosity are Contingent on My Concession of a Contribution, I Think We Have a Problem

So I’m out with a couple of guys for some breakfast.  I got four dollars and it’s a cash only place, so I just order some coffee.  I love breakfast, and one of the guys offers to pay for mine, but I kindly refuse and just enjoy my coffee.

The bill comes and the third member of our party takes the check and discretely (but obviously) takes it from the table.

As we prepare to depart, he says he’ll pay the bill and we need to leave the tip.

Hold on a minute. 

Now on the surface, this all seems generous enough, but I got a couple issues here:

First, I didn’t ask anybody to pay for my coffee so why are you telling me to leave the tip?  Now I’m a good tipper.  I usually go at least 20%, so I’m not opposed, but I’m slightly offended by being told I need to leave the tip.  Twenty-percent of my buck-fifty is like thirty cents.   Under normal circumstances, I would just leave a dollar and go on my merry way.

Then it gets a little weird –

My non-paying co-worker has a $20 bill and no change, so he looks to me to carry the tip.  I chuckle a bit and pull out the other $3 I had in my pocket for a total of $4 for the tip.   

I started out with $4, couldn’t really afford a full breakfast, but my coffee ends up costing me all of my money!

It cost my non-paying co-worker nothing for breakfast.  Good for him!  He kindly offered me money to have breakfast, I declined and he was rewarded for his generous offer. 

Which leads me to Mr. “I’ll-Pick-Up-The-Check, You-Just-Leave-The-Tip.” 

Do you ‘got it’ or not!?  Because if you ‘got it’ that includes the 20% or so for the tip.   Now more than likely, I’m going to ‘offer’ the tip, but when the parameters of your generosity are contingent on my concession of a contribution, I think we have a problem. 

Is some of this personality driven?  Most definitely!  Some generosity is just more sincere than others. 

Here’s my rule of picking up the tab – If you Got It, Then Get It!  All of It! 

Don’t try to strike a deal, get concessions, or do drinks only.   No one asked you to pay, so don’t include me in the scheme to make you look good.  I will offer the tip or whatever, but don’t ask.  Once you ask (or tell), you’ve broken the ‘Generosity Code’ and now it just looks like you’re trying to be more generous than me.

It’s OK to be more generous than me, just don’t slap me while you’re doing it.

Bon appetit!


Finding and Forgiving

Left the gym to run outside today and took my ID so I could get back in.  I finished running on the track and reached down to a little pocket on my shorts where I put my ID to make sure it was still there.  Sure enough, I felt the familiar rectangle and headed back to the gym.  

As I approached the turnstile I reached down to grab my ID and… it was gone!  

 I immediately wonder what cruel joke is being played on me!?  Who followed me back to the gym and took the ID out of my shorts without my knowledge? 

Surely this is not happening to me!  I’m merely observing this happening to some poor hapless soul!

 As I return to reality, panic sets in and I concede I’ve actually lost the thing.   

So the back track in my mind begins.  I just felt the thing 5 minutes ago, didn’t I?  What could have possibly happened?

I begin to retrace my steps to the track with a sinking feeling of defeat.  About half way there, I see something laying on the sidewalk.  My heart starts to race in anticipation as I see what looks to be my ID on the ground!  And there it is, my ID!

Oh the rejoicing in my soul for finding that piece of plastic! My defeat had suddenly turned to victory!

I immediately thank the Lord for letting me find it and sparing me the agony of getting a new ID and explaining how I lost the old one. 

I literally skipped up to the turnstile in the gym, telling my delightful tale of rapture to the attendant! 

I was not having a bad morning.  In fact, it was going pretty good – until I lost my ID.  But when I found it, oh the sweet joy I felt!  I mean it!  I felt like a million for finding a bad photo on a tattered plastic card!

And here’s the weird part – If I wouldn’t have lost my ID, I wouldn’t have felt so good about finding it! 

My joy was made possible by my loss. 


Started me thinking about the prodigal son from the Bible.  This young buckaroo took his father’s money, went his own way, blew the cash and completely screwed up his life.  Starving and destitute, he comes back to his father begging forgiveness.

 His father rejoiced – Big time!  He welcomed him with open arms,  gave the kid a ring, killed the fatted calf,  and threw a huge party!  His lost son was found and he wanted the world to know how happy he was to have him back!

I’m not saying I’m having a party for finding my ID, but it made my day and it’s only 7:30!

Finding what’s lost and forgiving the fallen – that’s a philosophy for life!

Toast and Other Short Lived Addictions


Just polished off a bag of the Mountain Trail Mix! 

I’m talking about the industrial size, party bag with the resealable top.

I’m walking through the grocery store when that bag of peanuts, cashews, raisins and M&Ms grabbed hold of my desire to indulge in the mix of salty, sweet, crunchy and chewy!  

Got home and before I finished putting the groceries away, I ripped the top off the bag and grabbed a handful, and then another, and another, and another… 

Every time I walked past that bag, I couldn’t resist reaching in.  Within the hour, I’d put a healthy dent in the bag and by the time I went to bed, the bag was two-thirds empty.  The next morning, I enjoyed a few handfuls with my coffee.  By mid-day, I’m tilting my head back, holding the corner of the bag, depositing the remnant of peanut crumbs and a crusty raisin into the hatch.  

Shouldn’t that have lasted longer than the weekend?

Now sometimes you buy yourself a craving, get it home and it’s really not that satisfying.  This was not the case with the trail mix.   That nuts, raisins and M&Ms concoction was more gratifying in the consumption than it was in the anticipation!

Ever happen to you?  That craving you can’t resist as you wonder how you’ve lived without it for so long?    

“Why didn’t anybody ever tell me about (insert your craving)!?” 

It’s a short-lived addiction, perhaps a day or two, maybe a couple of weeks or a season, that captures your taste buds and seduces them for a time.   It could lead to a life time commitment, but hopefully not. 

Got me thinking about some other food and drink addictions I’ve had over the years.

I can remember as a little kid, probably around 10 or so, I discovered toast as a snack.  Yes, toast!  I remember thinking how foolish I’d been to neglect toast outside of dipping it in eggs!  I wanted to start an ad campaign to let the world know that toast was good, even after breakfast!   I thought I was really on to something.  Probably went through a loaf of bread over the next few days before I realized it was just toast, and it really was way better with eggs in the morning.    

Most times, it ends as quickly as it begins.  It’s a one night stand of food or drink – and the guilt is near non-existent.

Ever get on salad kick?  You discover that prepackaged blend of romaine, carrots and cabbage or some great salad combo you saw on the Food Channel and suddenly it’s a daily experience!?  Lasts about a week or until your favorite dressing runs dry or the croutons get stale.

Got on a wine kick a while ago.  I was having a glass or two of wine every night.  Suddenly a few things dawn on me:   1) Empty wine bottles are stacking up in the recycle bin.  2)  I’m enjoying this far too much.  3) Starting look forward to having a glass when I get home.  4) Realizing how easy it would be for this to become a bad habit.  Had to cut that one short when I started looking for a cheaper fix for my wine craving.  I still enjoy a glass on occasion, but I don’t think about it all afternoon.   

I’m definitely addicted to popcorn and can get on a popcorn kick in no time.   This DOES NOT, however, include any kind of corn that you place in a microwave oven!  I don’t do microwave popcorn anymore.    Leftover microwave popcorn is the worst!  An hour after you pop it there’s a cold, thick layer of grease on every kernel and the bag oozes some orange gel. 

I went back to old school, stove top, pan popping.  At least with the stove top varieties, you can still eat it more than an hour after popping.  I currently have five different varieties of popcorn in the cupboard – including a quart of homegrown popcorn.  Yes, homegrown! From my garden!  Can’t really beat homegrown…anything! 

Quick musical interlude:  The word ‘homegrown’ reminds me of a song from a band I heard in college – Check these lyrics:  “Homegrown tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes!  Only two things that money can’t buy and that’s true love and homegrown tomatoes!”   Love those truisms!

Got on a huge Diet Coke kick a few years ago.  Found myself drinking a couple of those for dinner every night, then realizing this isn’t the most healthy beverage in the world.   So then I started drinking Perrier mineral water.  Felt more sophisticated and worldly, but being dignified can get expensive. In an economic and cultural decision, I resorted to generic seltzer water.  The price was right and the craving satisfied, and you can still hold your pinky out when you drink it!   

Nothing exceeds like excess and I know food and drink cravings can become permanent addictions that take us down some treacherous roads.  Fortunately for me, I’ve kept them in check and didn’t end up attending AA meetings or needing to sign-up for Jenny Craig.  

So here’s hoping your food and drink addictions are enjoyable, economical and  healthy -and if not – at least short-lived!