Justin Timberlake's newest "What Goes Around...Comes Around" is in heavy rotation on the new radio station. (Have I mentioned there's a new radio station in town? I was positively giddy when I heard about it--it plays Top 40 "the best of the '80s, '90s, and now" instead of country or "oldies" like the other two stations. Now I don't have to listen to the staticky Buffalo stations!!!) I hope I'm not the only one to ever be spun into a whirlwind of philosophical thought by the lyrics of a pop song, but if I am, so be it.
I've been thinking all week about that saying, "What goes around, comes around." meaning "he'll get his" or "she'll get hers." It's commonly accepted as fact--and karma, boiled down to its essence and stripped of all subtlety, is just another version of "what goes around, comes around" on a grander, more cosmic scale.
When someone has been cheated on or stolen from or otherwise done wrong, it's practically a reflex to say "what goes around, comes around," as though there is some comfort in the thought that the one who hurt you will someday be hurt, and maybe, deliciously, in exactly the same way he or she hurt you. In the human nature laboratory of the flower shop, where who's done wrong and been done to around town and around the world is the most frequent topic of conversation, I wouldn't doubt I've heard that phrase at least once a day for the past eight years.
I've never been much of a believer in it myself. It seems to me there are lots of people who are perfectly miserable human beings--who treat others with disrespect or outright disdain, who cause others pain as a matter of course--who are walking around, fine and dandy, in some cases (corporate honchos, for instance) they've actually profited from their evil ways and their lives seem measurably better.
There is one particular person I know who seems to have gotten away with being vile on a fairly regular basis. She is routinely nasty to everyone around her--even when she seems to be trying to be nice or generous, there is a pushy element about her generosity (and her expectation of your gratitude). She is two-faced and completely unable to keep a secret. She's bossy and certain her opinion matters significantly more than anyone else's. She delights in other's troubles. (I once saw her call her neighbor's teenage son first thing in the morning--knowing she would wake him up--just to let him know he had a parking ticket on his windshield. She was that eager to be the one to break the "bad news.") All this and yet, nothing disproportionately bad has happened to her. I keep waiting for something heavy to fall on her from way up high, but nothing...
Then it hit me--thanks in part to the prompting of Justin's new song--her punishment for being the way she is is being the way she is. I can't think of anything worse than going through life with a shriveled up and nasty little soul. She's missing so much by being the way she is that there really doesn't need to be any further punishment.
So sing on, Justin, because not only does it come around, sometimes it's already here.
Living the Dream
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