Have you ever tried to squeeze a small little favor out of “the system,” only to have fate puke it back up in your food trough?
Our friend, Pete, told us this story. We smiled with delight at his misfortune, realizing it could happen to anyone, but no one better.
On one beautifully hot summer Saturday, Pete decided to tackle that “honey-do” list and clean out the garage. Since their family recycles most of their garbage, the only trash can they have is a small, twenty-gallon size which they usually keep inside the garage by the kitchen door. No problem. Pete “got ‘er done” and filled up the family trash can in the process, after first removing the white, perfumed kitchen garbage bag from the can to make room for the garage debris.
At the end of the day he looked with satisfaction on the full garbage can and three white plastic bags sitting beside it. But by Sunday evening there was one problem.
Pete’s family had eaten fish on Saturday and by Sunday afternoon the garbage in the garage in one of the white plastic bags was getting a bit nasty. Garbage pickup day was not until Tuesday.
A brain storm. Pete happened to work at his church. And he knew that garbage pickup day at the church was on Mondays. So, like any churchgoer would do, Pete decided to take the bag with the reeking fish to the church and dump it in their dumpster. No harm, no foul, right?
Whistling as he walked out the door on Monday morning, another beautiful sunny day, Pete slid the bag of chum into the back of his SUV and headed off to work.
On his drive to work, he thought about his upcoming day and mentally planned a priority list. When he got to the church he promptly went inside and began his busy day.
It was a scorcher that day, up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade. Hotter in the sun. Even hotter inside a locked SUV.
As Pete ate lunch from his brown paper bag at his desk, he gazed out the window. He couldn’t help but think he’d forgotten something. You know that feeling when you walk into a room, then suddenly you’re not sure what you were looking for? That was Pete.
At five o’clock in the afternoon, Pete headed to his car, looking forward to listening to a few tunes to unwind as he drove home. But thirty feet from the car, he could smell something. In disbelief, he walked closer to his vehicle and the smell got stronger. Then it hit him – the first wave was a pungent, familiar odor that he thought he’d dealt with that morning. The second wave to hit him was a hot flash of embarrassment, realizing his Monday mega-blunder.
He’d forgotten to unload the garbage that morning into the church dumpster. Instead, the bag of putrid fish had stewed all day long in the back of his locked up SUV, which acted like a solar oven.
Seems like maybe God doesn’t appreciate people dumping that kind of garbage at the church.
Needless to say, the SUV had to be parked in the driveway, and not the garage, for at least six weeks until the stench subsided. Coworkers reported that Pete smelled fishy for months.
Excerpts from No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, by Taylor Young.