Pay It Forward

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Welcome To THE COUCH...Sit on Down and Get Comfy...

Yesterday was a fun time on THE COUCH - I hope you all enjoyed it also.

Still not going to tell if it was fiction or non-fiction...That is for you to decide...

Fourth rainy day in a row here and it doesn't look like it will get better anytime soon with Ernesto heading up the east coast.

Was reminded in an email from one of the Soul Patrol group (THANKS TRAV!), that this weekend is the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. There are so many important causes out there, and it is so hard to support them all.

My mom used to be heavily involved with the Cerebral Palsy Telethon when we were young and I remember working one or two, all night long, in my teens. What a rush to feel you are helping someone out. That you are making a difference.

I was involved with our local Catholic Charity organization a few years back, but once I went back to work in New York, I found it tough to continue.

I have been lax the past few years...Well with charitable organizations at least. My time has been spent working with the Little League mostly, running the concession as most of you know. Sure we are a pretty well-off community, but without the concession money we bring in, so many of the improvements we have been able to do would not have been possible. And we do take all of our old equipment and donate it to Little Leagues less fortunate then us.

Combine that with the fact that we are at the one year anniversary of Katrina causing the death and destruction down south and you can't help but get introspective.

We sent some money to the Red Cross then and hoped it got to it's intended recipients and not to some bottomless hole of administrative costs.

I was still not working full time, or I would have taken some paid vacation leave and joined a local group who went down. Sure, you can say "But you were out of work, you should have gone" and maybe that is true, but I was freelancing - bringing in whatever I could to keep us going at that time.

I guess you can find an excuse whenever you need one but you also need to take the excuses and just shove them aside and go out and help. I am hopeful that I can once again find that in my heart to push the "woe is me" attitude aside and try and find a way to make a difference in someone else's life.

There was a movie a few years ago called "PAY IT FORWARD" and the theme of it was, if you do something for another, do not ask for something in return...Ask them to do something for someone else...In essence to "PAY IT FORWARD." Since that time I have tried to do that in small ways...

When the East Coast was hit with that huge black-out a few years ago, I was in New York.

There was no way off the Manhattan without walking or waiting for hours for a ferry or another option...One I tried. I went to the Lincoln Tunnel and approached a car with two women in it.

I knocked on the window and asked if they would just drive me through the tunnel to New Jersey. I took my license and handed it to the woman in the passenger seat, "Here, you can hold this if you want." They said yes (and gave back my license) and we drove through. When we got to the other side, they said they were going down the NJ Turnpike a short way. Knowing there was a rest area a few miles down, I asked if they could drop me off there.

When they did I offered money, but they would not accept.

I went into the restaurant and got a brown paper bag and wrote "EXIT 8A" on it. That was the exit closest to my home. I was standing by the gas pumps and within 5 minutes an older couple pulled up and said "Jump In."

They were on their way to Pennsylvania to their cottage there since they had no electricity in their house in North Jersey, and it was reported there was power at their other home.

They took me all the way to my exit and from there my wife picked me up.

I swore that day I would "PAY IT FORWARD."

Have I?

Well in small ways I hope I have.

I stopped once and helped someone change a flat tire on the NJ Turnpike. I have carried numerous large suitcases up and down subway and train station stairs for ladies who I saw struggling (you do get some odd looks when you reach out and say "Here let me help" though). Maybe these are things I should do anyway, but in a number of occasions I was running late to an appointment and during another time in my life I might not have.

Is that enough?

I am not sure...But I do look for ways to assist when I can...

This is also in the front of my mind because of something that happened to us this past weekend.

My wife got a call from the woman that does her manicures. Of course she had not gone in a long time as it was just not possible. Well, Lana called and said, "Come in...It is on me and I want to see you." So, she did.

When she got home she called me outside. It seems Lana is friends with a woman that works in a food distribution center and she also collects food for those who need it due to financial circumstances.

Well, in the trunk of our car was all this canned food (vegetables and fruits) and bags of legumes (big word for all kinds of beans), and boxes of cereal. Our pantry had been bare for some time. It isn't any longer. It really hit home that there are people out there who are doing so much more then me and that I can do so much more for others.

The food we received that we could not use, was dropped off at our local church which collects for the local food bank. I hope someone else can be helped using the things we could not.

So, I am going to make an effort to reach out more to "PAY IT FORWARD" and remind you all that, no matter how dark it seems...It is always darker for others. There are people out there that have it so much worse then me and I have thrown pity parties and should be ashamed.

That said...If you have the financial ability...Call this weekend and donate $5 or $10 to the MDA.

Find a local shelter and go in and volunteer...Send the $20 to Nets For Malaria as I remind you each and every day at the end of these COUCH discussions...

I guess the bottom line is that even when it is sunny out, there are those who only have gloom following and it is our responsibility to ensure that even a few rays of "sunshine" fall down on them.

After this time on THE COUCH, you will also notice another "sign-off" line at the end of our COUCH time...

Thanks for sitting on THE COUCH, hope you enjoyed your stay.


Remember .. Nets For Malaria - - find the big SI's Nothing But Net logo ... Or call 202.887.9040. Every cent goes to buying nets to place over the beds of children in Africa to stomp out Malaria. PLEASE HELP.

Keep that spark of insanity kids...It helps keep you an individual.

11 Of Your Sparks

  1. robsg1rl Says:
  2. I love to "pay it forward"....It seems like the more I do for others, the more I am blessed with in return.

  3. Dixiechick Says:
  4. Vince, I remember that movie "Pay It Forward" very well. As a matter of fact, I watched it again a few weeks ago. It's truly amazing when you "Pay It Forward" what will come back to you. I remember my Daddy always saying "What goes around comes around". No truer words have ever been spoken. That saying goes for if you do something good or bad, it will come back to you and I am a firm believer in that.

    Thanks for letting me sit on the couch today.

    Lee Ann

  5. Joyce Says:
  6. Brought tears to my eyes. I too try to do for others but realize i should do more. Thanks for reminding me of that.

  7. Turnberry Says:
  8. Vince, I thanked Travis for reminding me about the telethon and I thank you for reminding all of us that we must look outside of ourselves and help where we can. I try to do that everyday because no act of kindness is too small. Knowng that I have helped someone--even if I just made them smile for a second--keeps me believing that I am doing right by my grandmother and the world. I remember helping a woman who was trying to do a 'self-help' divorce--the judge had just been embarassingly short with her--rejecting her pleadings in front of a courtroom full of people. I felt bad for her and angry with the judge. So I caught up with her in the hall--she was in tears. Turns out she could not read and the despicable person who sold her the forms knew it and yet sold her the wrong forms and charged her more than their normal charge. I got it fixed for her. When she hugged me like I was her own child I knew that I had done right.

    I donate most often to my local food bank. I know they feed people--pure and simple--and I can't bear to think of people hungry.

    Great post today.

  9. Bond Says:
  10. Robs: Yes, that is the fullimpact of PAYING IT FORWORD..I am happy to have someone like you as a friend

    Dixie: I have heard that expression a million times, but putting it next to PAY IT FORWARD now gives it such a more important meaning.

    Joyce: I think each and every one of us can do one little more thing...and I am truly going to ensure that i begin doing so again.

    Turn: The woman you helped probably thinks of you each day as she moves through life. Your kindness will be rewarded in so many ways.

  11. Fred Says:
  12. I'm a slacker. I've given money over the years to various causes, but I haven't been good at jumping in and rolling up my sleeves. I was involved with Habitat For Humanity one year, and that was, by far, the most satisfying experience I've had when it comes to helping others.

    When the kids are gone and I leave teaching, my plan is to volunteer somewhere. Where...I don't know.

  13. Travis Says:
  14. Well said as always Bond. I guess at the end of the day, it isn't who you reach out your hand to that matters - it's the fact that you reached out to someone. When you help somebody off the floor, you get an immediate return in the smile of gratitude. And there's no price to be put on that feeling.

  15. Bond Says:
  16. Fred: You know I completely firgot..when we first moved here the ad agency I worked for did a habitat home in Trenton...what a fun time and satisfying feeling when we met the family that was moving in.

    Trav: What YOU just said was also so well put my friend...thanks.

  17. Angell Says:
  18. Vince, thanks for reminding us of what's important in life. I never have a lot of expendable cash, but I do what I can, when I can. I don't tell anyone, cuz it's not their business. But it makes me smile, and makes me feel like I'm a good person. And we could all use that feelingn once in a while, especially when the world is telling us differently.

    Thank you again.

  19. damm Says:
  20. am now excepting pay it forward money and gifts...:)

  21. Coco Says:
  22. I can't even begin to know how to respond to this one, Vince. It chokes me up. Every day, I am awed and humbled by the basic decency in people. With all the bad stuff in this world, somewhere something went terribly RIGHT, despite it all (or maye because of it?). That movie changed the way I live my life. I know it's strange to admit that a movie can have such an impact, but it helped me to realize that the little things you do are as important as the grand gestures. It's like watching a flower opening, every time kindness is used instead of anger. It would be a lesson well-learned, would it not?


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