I smugly did a good deed this past week, righteously patting my self-anointed back and giving myself three good-karma points redeemable for honking at mindless parking lot idiots aimlessly wandering down the middle of the street and chatting when I’m trying to burn rubber and get home. (Good grief! Don’t people have better things to do than walk the center of the parking lot, holding up traffic?)
On my other alter-ego blog site, I wanted to spotlight the efforts of a small non-profit organization. So I composed an article and I included a recipe, I took from their site. (You know how I love easy-peazy recipes.) Of course, I linked, gave them credit and said a few warm words about the organization. Done and done.
And then, I screwed it all up. I called the organization to let them know, and asked permission to use the recipe. Well, actually, I emailed a request to the generic address on their site. I received an email back from the group’s secretary, who told me to call the president and gave me a phone number.
Uh-oh. Didn’t this group ever meet? Pass along information? And didn’t the president have e-mail?
Turns out she didn’t. Nor did she know what a blog was. She didn’t even know they had recipes posted on their own site. And the member whose name was listed with recipe? The president had never heard of her. The leader kept interrupting my explanations, her questions becoming pointed and tinged with ticked-off suspicion. “And where are you located?”
“Oregon,” I replied.
That seemed to be the last straw. My tender little deed was decaying faster than an open container of guacamole. Why would someone in Oregon help a non-profit project in Wisconsin? There had to be a catch. Nope, she wasn’t interested in checking the blog, or even her own group’s site. “No,” she said angrily, “I will not give you permission to use a lemon cake recipe.”
Okay. Darn. I can’t even scam someone out of a recipe. I suck…and I know what you’re thinking because I was beating myself throughout the whole conversation with the thought: Why did I call? Why did I even ask?
Fortunately, I picked up a few coins of insight here. I learned that the classic response to
blind fear is to block everything. “No. No. Hell no!” Like when the foreign guy at the mall kiosk says, “May I ask you a question?”
“NO thanks.” I keep walking.
And the best way to overcome fear is with education. Right? So thank you, Ms. Paranoid Non-Profit President in Wisconsin. Because of you, when I was last at the mall and a heavily accented man queried…Can I ask you a question? I let some strange guy slather my hands with wonder polish which made them look at least 6 hours younger. I didn’t buy any of his miracle cream, but at least now I know what I’m saying “No” to instead of scowling and scurrying away from him.
And my good deed? I used a recipe from a sister organization. Nope. I didn’t get prior permission. I’ll just redeem my karma points for this omission instead of spending it on parking lot zombies.