Competitive Niceness (A New Low)
I just got a thank you email from my pal in Bakersfield for the SISTER WENDY videos that arrived today! Those guys at the post office are on it. Unfortunately, her VCR now appears to be broken so she won’t be able to watch the videos. And because she’s a nice person and a good environmentalist, she’s asked if it is okay to send the videos to a friend with a VCR.
Of course this is okay. But I also happen to have an extra VCR in my house which I immediately offer to mail to her so she can watch the videos I sent her along with the rest of her collection. And because she’s a nice person, she insists on paying for my old, unused VCR. I flat out refuse. “Don’t be ridiculous,” I write back, “It’s my treat.” She refuses to back down. “Let me pay for the postage then. I INSIST.” She fires back.
I’m sure the all caps is not a typo and this is my pal putting her foot down. Which I imagine makes a satisfying clacking noise as she stomps her sensible, low-heeled church shoes that I’m certain she wears.
Luckily, we’re communicating via email so she doesn’t notice the odd pause in the conversation while I contemplate her footwear and have the following tweaker conversation with myself:
TWEAKER SELF: “Well, if I let her pay for the postage for the VCR then that really does negate the whole point of the not-so-secret Santa gift of the SISTER WENDY videos. It’s not a gift is she has to pay for it. “
TWEAKER SELF: “But if she feels guilty that I’m spending too much money on her, then it really takes the fun out of the gift too. Why does she have to be such a nice Christian lady?”
TWEAKER SELF: “Also she wrote “I INSIST” in all caps which means that arguing with her will also negate the gift so it will no longer be a nice gesture to her, but an annoying one.
TWEAKER SELF: “Why does my mental image of her include a red pant suit and white patent shoes? She’s not Mrs. Clause. Or James Brown.”
TWEAKER SELF: “At least the phrase “Conservative Christian” still evokes for me an image of Tammy Faye Baker and not Sarah Palin. What was I just thinking about? Oh yeah, the VCR.”
TWEAKER SELF: “I can’t count the not-so-secret Santa gift of the videos as a nice gesture because her nice gesture back to me about the VCR makes my nice gesture not so nice.”
TWEAKER SELF: “I can’t believe I just had that thought. Just having that thought means the videos don’t count as my nice act of yesterday because I’m arguing with my pal just so I can still count it. That’s so lame.
I email my pal in Bakersfield back and tell her that I’m going to mail her the VCR and have no idea what the postage will cost until I get to the post office (which is true). So, she will just have to wait until the package arrives to see how much she owes for postage, even though she totally does not have to reimburse me. Or anything.
I’m hoping at the post office they’ll have a way of franking the package so it’s impossible to tell how much the postage cost.
Is it still nice if I have to resort to devious ways of ensuring that I’m not out-niced?