Monday, January 18, 2010

Paper Man

We were about to head home from the mall and, as is tradition, we stopped just inside the doors and put on hats and gloves and scarves. I asked if we were going left or right. Joe said, 'Oh, we've got to go back the way we came.' He said it with such purpose that I was surprised after all it really doesn't matter which way we go home. I asked 'What's the deal?' He reminded me that when we came north to the mall we passed by the street guy that Joe has developed a chatting acquaintance with. He sells a newspaper, Outreach, which is printed so that those who desperately need money can sell rather than beg. Joe promised to stop by on the way back and pick up a paper. Often we end up buying that paper several times a month.

'Of course,' I said, remembering. And we turned right and headed down to where he was standing. He's a little uncomfortable with me. He greets me with a varying amount of enthusiasm depending on the amount of alcohol he has in his veins. But his greeting always has that slight sense of hysteria that exists when people are a little freaked. So when we get close Joe said, why don't I meet you at the corner. I said 'Hello' to him first and he gave me a fairly sober 'Hello Bud.' I kept on going and about half a block ahead stopped and turned waiting for Joe to finish. Joe stood looking serious as he bought the paper and listened to an animated kind of story.

I thought about how important it was for us to come back this way. It's easy to keep promises to people of power and people of value. But keeping promises to those who cannot ever hold you accountable - that's the stuff of integrity.

As Joe was walking towards me, the paper in his hand, the street guy hollered out to me, 'That's a stand up guy, there, a stand up guy'. Other than thinking that's a really funny thing to say to someone in a wheelchair - I couldn't agree more.

Your word.

Keep it.


Anonymous said...

Hi David, I really enjoy reading what you write. I have seen your lecture on ethics of touch and think you are so insightful! I am attending your lecture tomorrow in oshawa, however, the contact person has not provided me with time and location. Is it possible for you to send me that information? If so, is an email to send it to. I look forward to 'hopefully' seeing you tomorrow!

skylark said...

well never used this blog stuff before and at last found todays. I have been tasked to find the research you mentioned statistics of 'paid care' abuse in an event in Inverness and Aberdeen.
Also we asked around re protocols of touch where we live and all services around us and yes it is a lottery. So we have a couple of interested hard workers who are going to start us off in our search for a person (or 'expert' some people who like to market disabilities use, here)led protocol.
Any way if you can guide us to the research as as usual some people like to have numbers before they do work, luckily the signed up folk just believe in people and starting there is good enough for them.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Anon One, check your email, I've sent you the address and phone number of the location tomorrow. Skylark, can you send me an email so I can respond to your questions?

Anonymous said...

Pretty interesting place you've got here. Thanx for it. I like such topics and anything connected to this matter. I would like to read more on that blog soon.

Kristin said...

I can't remember the exact quote (and I'm sure I will remember it later) but I read something that said morality is doing what is right even when no one is watching. Joe's follow through even when no one was watching is a true example of a good and honest man.

stillstanding said...

That is absolutely BRILLIANT - "keeping promises to those who cannot ever hold you accountable - that's the stuff of integrity"
I want the t-shirt, the coffee mug, the bumper sticker - Dave, that is a seriously happening quote! Not only do I intend to frequently invoke it in a whole bunch of upcoming situations, I'm going to put it on my office wall as my mantra.
Thank you - very often your words are the much welcome breath of fresh air that I need to keep me going.