I wanted to be kind but all I could achieve was cruelty. I wanted to be kind to the friend who had been dumped by a guy she thought she would marry and grow old with, only to realize all he wanted from her was sex; I acted concerned and hugged my friend and we got drunk and then I fucked her; she called me this other guy’s name the whole time and when she left, she never talked to me again because a month later she committed suicide, leaving a letter blaming that guy for destroying her soul. I couldn’t go to the funeral and mutual friends left me nasty text messages and emails. I sent flowers to the funeral parlor because that seemed like the kind thing to do.
Her sister smeared dog shit on the windshield of my car. That was not a kind thing to do but I understood.
I tried to be kind to a young woman who was jogging with her dog and the dog was hit by a car that sped off. I told her I could drive her and the dog to the vet and she yelled at me: “My dog is already dead, you goddamn jerk!”
I did not understand this; I was trying to be a good person and she acted like it was my fault. I told her to fuck off. That was a kind thing to do because she would later meditate on why I said it and realize what she did wrong. She will never treat a stranger offering kindness like that again, should another dog of hers ever get killed by a car.
A guy at work was in a jam. He was short on his rent by $210. His landlord was not happy that he always paid the rent late and told him he would be evicted if it happened again. I loaned him the $210. He promised to pay it back. A week later, he stopped coming to work and people said he had moved to a different state where rent was cheaper.
There was a small island that was hit by both a hurricane and an earthquake the same week. Two-thirds of the 23,000 people who lived on the island had their homes destroyed and were living in Red Cross tents. I sent the Red Cross $100 through its website.
The next morning I sent another $100 because I didn’t think the first was enough.
There was a snail on the sidewalk. Someone had stepped on it: its shell crushed, green fluid oozing out like sap from a tree, eyestalks looking frantically about for safety. I stepped on it and killed it.
That was the kind thing to do, like shooting, in the head, a horse with a broken leg.