June 14, 2004

Karma is not currency...

A few days ago, coming home from work, I saw a young man begging for change at the Commercial Drive Skytrain Station. This in itself is nothing new, and no big deal to me, but this particular person struck me as a bit different from other panhandlers I had seen before.

He was sitting on the pavement, with a little cardboard sign that said "Karma - 25 cents". I looked at him and when he noticed me, he looked away. I think it was in shame.

His beard was trimmed, and he looked clean and fed to me, with reasonably new-looking clothes. I think this was a person who could do much better for themselves than wasting their time and other's people's money in this way.

I walked away wondering about his guilty-sounding little solicitation. I think he intended to ask for money in exchange for extra karma for me, but I believe that he could as well have been saying "Please give me some of your good karma."

As if my quarter would help him, and as if karma could be treated like a form of currency.

Dude, I hope you know that you can earn your own karma. And then, once you have lots of good karma, give some of it to someone else who really needs it. That's how it works, in my humble experience.

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