"I want the world. I want the whole world. I want to lock it all up in my pocket. It's my bar of chocolate. Give it to me now." -Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Don't we all get infected with this feeling from time to time? I'm calling it the Veruca Syndrome, and it's a nasty one. You see it comes in all form and many different levels of intensity. It can be over material things, actions we expect from others, or in the worst cases it's simply feeling like you want it all which can be intensified by the impression that you deserve it. The Veruca Syndrome is ugly and very real and unfortunately it's my belief that we all suffer from it. Definition: Selfishness.
Before you get your panties in a bunch and get defensive allow me to elaborate. I am certainly not implying that if we all suffer from the Veruca Syndrome that we are incapable of doing selfless deeds, I am aware that people everywhere are doing extremely selfless things on a daily basis and that is a beautiful thing, however I am fully confident that as human beings it is undeniable that we are born selfish and it takes more effort to overcome selfish feelings and instincts than almost any other negative emotion or action out there. We are born dependent on others for our survival and that is the beginning of it all. Now I'm left having to explain to my 7 year old why she can't have an iPhone even though some kids in her class do. (While I am picturing some little Veruca out there batting her eyelashes at her daddy saying, "I want one daddy, now!" Sucker.)
So what sparked my desire to write on this topic? Over the weekend I went to visit a friend out of town, in my sisters car which gets far better gas mileage than my POS (and also has a bumper that is properly attached AND power steering to boot!). It was cold and rainy and we were out running errands and he mentioned that a friend of his had lost his car keys in the park. Hushing the Veruca voice in the back of our heads telling us to stay warm and dry, we drove out to the park in search of his friends keys. We parked on the outskirts where they had been days before, and there was only one other truck there. I briefly glance over and see the cab of the truck is filled with questionable smoke-like substance, but my gut says don't look, if you leave them alone they'll leave you alone. We leave the car and walk around the large shrubbery to the clearing and begin looking. As mentioned it was misty and raining, so I left my $400 purse (from the days when I had money haha) and my iPhone in the car so it wouldn't get ruined. We were never farther that 30 yards from the car and walked around for ten minutes. We heard a loud noise resembling gun shots or a car backfire and waited a minute or two before heading back to the car. The scene we arrived upon was nothing short of devastating, a completely shattered passenger window, and all of my things gone in 60 seconds. Including the cash in my wallet that I had just been paid that was meant for Christmas presents for my family and my two little girls. Sucker punch to the heart.
Do you think the two guys knew for a minute that they were stealing from a single mom sometimes barely getting by, currently with $20 in the bank, a car that runs on hopes and dreams, and no gifts for her children for Christmas? No. What's worse, do you think they even cared? No! The Veruca voice was so loud in their stoned little heads that all they cared about was the fact that they wanted it, NOW. It's been almost 4 days and they haven't been caught yet, although the authorities do have their pictures from Walmart where they attempted to use my debit card to the tune of $300, haha I wish I had that much in there. I'm beginning to accept the fact that more than likely they won't be caught, nor held accountable for their actions and I am left picking up the pieces and realizing we live in a world of Verucas and its going to get worse.
I don't need to describe all of the emotions I am feeling because chances are you have experienced something like this, we have all had things taken from us. I don't have a solution, I am 30 years old with a grand total of 6 college units from a Political Science and photography class. I can't save the world, none of us can. I have spent the last 48 hours forcing myself to not be bitter, reminding myself that things will work themselves out, that even with so much taken from me I still have so much more. This message isn't for the purpose of venting or whining over my recent misfortune at all. This is a plea to all who will read it. For victims affected by some Veruca out there, don't allow yourself to be hardened, don't look at your misfortune as an excuse to act similarly with others now feeling like you are entitled to it. Do the opposite. My friend graciously gave me $40 so I wouldn't have to drive home with no money and the first thing I did after getting a cup of gas station coffee for the drive was give $2 to the first homeless person I saw on a corner. Why? Not so I could sit here and tell you about it. Not even close. I did it so I could remind myself that I never want to be infected with a full case of Veruca. I never want to get so bitter that I forget that others have it worse. I will choose to keep giving and keep believing that for every bad case of Verucaitice there is someone like myself out there fighting the disease. Fight with me. Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." So be it. I'll end with one of my favorite anonymous quotes that I try and live by daily, "Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty."