In 2009, a Florida woman was short-changed at a McDonald’s restaurant. She ordered a 10-piece McNugget meal, paid for it, and then found out the restaurant was out of McNuggets. Indignant, the woman called 911 three times to report the (ahem) emergency. When Johnny Law arrived, they had a McNugget for the woman…they arrested her for misusing the emergency number.
I don’t know what this particular Florida woman is doing now, almost five years later. I’m sure it would be an interesting story, but no news outlet has deemed it relevant enough to write about, from what I was able to find in my amateur web-searching attempts.
There was a similar emergency of sorts here in my small town, played out over Facebook. It was the usual Facebook emergency—it seemed to be a post about being a good neighbor, but after outlining their deed of charity, the poster indignantly said “there ought to be a good neighbor law,” and “where’s my McNuggets?” Other people chimed in and piled on. Some libelous remarks were made.
I contemplated throwing a French fry into the fray but stopped myself. I don’t even know if there is any chicken in a McNugget and if there is, it surely isn’t free-range and grass-fed. I didn’t want anyone throwing that glop at me.
I’ve been thinking about emergencies and neighborliness. I’ve also been thinking about a greater extension of neighborliness, charity. I don’t mean “charity” in the sense of government programs and non-profit organizations, although they may have begun as a type. I’m thinking about the primary definition of the word, which according to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary means “benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity.”
How is it that the things that begin “charitably” so fast become ugly, like a McNugget?
Insert a heavy sigh here as I realize I cannot change the world nor anyone in it.
Today is Wednesday and here on the blog, it’s traditionally been “Tiny Steps Gardening Day.” If I were the type of person who screams for personally beneficial laws to be made, I would be dialing 911 right now, demanding that marigolds be made the official flower of the Moxie Festival. All floats and participants in the Moxie Festival Parade would be required to sport marigolds before they were allowed to proceed into parade formation. All residents of Lisbon, Lisbon Center, and Lisbon Falls would be forbidden to grow anything but marigolds in their flower gardens; a marigold bank would be established to provide marigold seeds and flowers to any town resident unable to grow or buy their own.
Alas, I am not the type of person who screams for personally beneficial laws under the guise of “charity.”
I do grow a lot of marigolds in my gardens, though, and it’s not unreasonable to think that through kindness and charity, I might create a little world of Moxie Marigolds in my town. I don’t need to ask anyone’s permission to grow them and neither does anyone else. The local public works doesn’t need to do anything; the less government involvement in this little guerrilla project the better.
Molon labe marigolds!
Well, I’m too far “from away” to help, but having read the kerfuffle from afar, it would have been so much better if the neighbor had just posted asking for help under the difficult situation. Your neighbors came to help you when you posted for help, and your neighbors would have come to help this couple, too.
More important, perhaps, would be that your neighbors needed to know someone needed help, they needed to have that chance to be the neighbors they should be. It is just these moments that let people find the better angels of their natures.
There are certainly many reasons to quarrel with the Lisbon town government, but this just isn’t one of them.
Kerfuffle indeed. Do you want any marigold seeds, Reggie?
Can you smoke them?
No, wait …