Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gold Star for Giving

I was being cheap. Candy is expensive, and I know how much of it kids in Park Slope gather on Halloween. Within minutes, my kids take a quick easy walk around our courtyard and their bags are full. It took me hours of ringing doorbells, walking up to strange doors and having the nerve to say "trick-or-treat" to strangers to get even a fraction of their haul on the cactus-lined streets of Tucson, Arizona. Yes, that's right, I'll admit it: I'm jealous and a little bitter.

So it was, then, that I found myself at CVS reluctantly picking up a bag of candy then, realistically, a second. I shrugged at the people snatching up bags around me, feeling the need to defend the second bag, mostly to myself.

"Kids in Park Slope are..."

Someone jumped in to fill in the blank. "Hungry?" they said.

I laughed. "Greedy!"

My little candy-lover, Oscar, had already picked up a third bag, a package of Jolly Rancher fruit chews, and added it to our basket. "Pleeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaase?!" he begged with his eyes big and round. He knows I am a sucker, likely to overcompensate for my moments of begrudging. Just for fun, we perused the candy aisle to see what else we could see, to figure if our fast choices were good ones.

It was then that I spotted Marty, with a shopping cart full of candy. I eyed my own meager offerings and felt guilty.

"Wow," I said, "You're generous!"

He smiled a big smile down at the many bags of candy he was buying. I could almost picture him giving it out generously, personally to every kid.

"It's the only way to be..." he said.

We chatted a bit, Marty Glucksman and I. Turns out he is in the business of being generous, giving people rides (albeit for some cash) as the owner of All Seasons Car & Limo Service, 718/369-1234.

I had no stars on me, but I told him I owed him one and I always make good on my promises.

"I need one," Marty said longingly. "I never got gold stars in school. I was not a good student."

It made me sad that there is ever a ranking of who deserves gold stars and who doesn't, that Marty might once have felt passed over, even though he is so clearly deserving, so clearly good at rewarding others. I'm glad Marty will soon, finally, after all these years, get a big gold star!

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