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Tuesday, March 27

Do Something

It's quite a common phenomenon. Something's going wrong, it's not your fault, there are other people around, perhaps you can just walk on by.

There are times when you can walk on by because it's not for you to deal with. You see a couple having an argument, you decide:
  • Is someone in danger?
  • Does the aggressor look harder than I am?
  • Am I feeling like a busy body today?
More often than not, you just walk away, because it really isn't your concern.

Or maybe you see a crying child walking apparently lost, and you look around and decide if their parents are probably in sight... and again, maybe you deliberately leave it well alone.

But then there are times when you can't leave it to someone else. You need to take ownership of the situation and you need to get off your arse and do something. It's way too easy to whinge about the state of the world, but it's so much better if you actually bother to try to make it better.

There are even situations where everyone nudges you as if to say - "Do something - it's up to you - he lives in you Simba" - possibly without the Lion King references.

Generally, it should be a matter of your own conscience, though.

Yesterday I did two good deeds and one bad one.

Good Deed 1
I found a pay slip on the ground outside a car park. It had an address on and looked like it had fallen out of someone's bag. I popped a stamp on it and posted it to them with a note saying that I'd found it.

Good Deed 2
This was more of undoing a bad deed. I'd given a rather scathing review of a book on Amazon, to which the author had replied. I'd replied to him, which had been censored by Amazon, so I emailed him my reply, to which he replied in a quite magnanimous way. I'd not replied to this.

Last night I finally replied, having let the trail go cold for a couple of months. I apologised for the scathing way I'd treated his work, and acknowledged the risks of sticking your neck out and facing reviewers - something that I've faced as a comedian and now face as a writer, having recently put my name to an Amazon book.

Furthermore, and I didn't mention this to him, and went back to Amazon and toned down the review. My apology to the writer had been unqualified and genuine, but it didn't mean I suddenly liked his book. From the review, I took out the gratuitously inflammatory phrases and left the meat of my intellectual assessment of the work.

I also took away another rather uncharitable comment I'd made on someone else's review.

I think I undid a bit of bad.

Karmic Balance - The Bad Deed
In fairness to me, this last thing was a bad deed done in the name of good. I'm sure the recipient didn't want to hear it, though.

Here's the email I sent to someone who has raised money to take a family member to the controversial Burzynski Clinic. I recommend following the links to see why they're ultimately being fleeced in the name of false hope.

Hey guys,

I looked up the treatment you're getting for your daughter.

I hope it works out for you.

One thing. If this treatment doesn't work, then it will coincide with some of the precious time you have to share with your daughter. If things get too much, if it looks like it's making life unbearable, then get out of there. Quality of life is worth more than the lottery odds of the treatment working.

Some further reading:

Please note - I'm not affiliated with any group. I'm just a regular guy who heard of your story and have also been reading the various articles and blogs on this treatment. I don't know what I'd do in your situation, and I know you're doing your best.

I wish you all the best of luck.


So just Do Something
I'm now in the planning stages for this year's campaign for justice. People are looking to us to do something on the subject of female comedians as Funny Women runs another exploitative business model for its comedy competition. Don't worry: we're on the case!


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