Do Good

I’ve found most of the sug­ges­tions about ways to com­mem­o­rate 9/11 incred­i­bly lame, but I like this one. Please note that Frank Per­ri­cone is the author, not me.

On Mon, 26 Aug 2002 20:20:57 ‑0400, “Frank J. Perricone”

On Mon, 26 Aug 2002 19:55:07 EDT, wrote:

> On Wednes­day, Sep­tem­ber 11, 2002 every­one in the USA who will be driving
> a motor vehi­cle is asked to dri­ve with their head­lights on during
> day­light hours. 

Would­n’t it be a lot bet­ter if, instead of this emp­ty ges­ture, every­one spent that Wednes­day actu­al­ly *doing some­thing good*?

I bet if you could get one of those fire­fight­ers that were in the tow­ers when they fell, and asked him, which would you rather peo­ple did next year to remem­ber you—turn on some head­lights and waste a lit­tle gas and add a tiny bit more pol­lu­tion to the world, or go donate a pint of blood… which do you think he’d pick?

Turn­ing on head­lights is just an emp­ty ges­ture that lets peo­ple feel like they’re doing some­thing with­out requir­ing them to actu­al­ly do any­thing. Don’t turn on your head­lights. Instead, find some­one who needs help and help them, or pick up a piece of trash on the street, or smile at some­one, or plant a tree, or teach some­thing to a child, or car­pool, or make arrange­ments to vol­un­teer at the local hos­pi­tal or wom­an’s shel­ter. Bake some fresh bread for some­one who can’t do it him­self. Plant some flow­ers in a pub­lic place. Repaint a wall at the local school. Find some­one who’s doing a thank­less job, and thank her. Read the news­pa­per, then write to your rep­re­sen­ta­tives about some­thing you read. Make a stranger in your home­town feel wel­come. Adopt a kit­ten. Improve your car’s gas mileage with a tune­up and cor­rect tire pressure—or just take the bus. Help a lit­tle old lady across the street if you can’t think of any­thing else. Just for one day.

If you already do these things, good. On every oth­er day, you do those things for your­self. On 9/11, you’re instead doing those things for one of the peo­ple in the tow­ers who would have spent the day doing some­thing good for some­one, but who can’t, so you’re fill­ing in for them.

Please pass *this* idea on to every­one on your mail­ing list, and ask them to pass it on to every­one on their mail­ing lists, and let’s see if we can make the world a bet­ter place, not just a slight­ly brighter and more pol­lut­ed and just as emp­ty place.

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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