January 24, 2005

Wednesday after work Jacob was at the gym, working out on the lateral press machine. He got up to get a drink of water, and when he returned to the machine, a man in a grey Emory warm up sweater had taken his spot without asking if Jacob was finished. Jacob was very angry.

The next evening around the same time, Jacob spotted the man working out on a leg machine. When the man got up, Jacob followed him. Since the man was wearing headphones, it took all the way to the locker room for Jacob to get his attention, but once he did, Jacob politely asked if he was done with the machine.

Mystified, the man replied that he was.

"Great, thanks," said Jacob, and returned to the weight room. This role reversal gave Jacob immense satisfaction, even if, and indeed because the man in the Emory sweats was unaware of it. A smile on his face, he proceeded to do three sets on the now-vacant machine, even though he was not working on his lower body that day.

Other examples of this behavior included giving a ten-dollar tip to a barista who had shortchanged him the previous week, and anonymously paying for extensive repairs to the car of an ex-girlfriend who had left him for a magician. Jacob called this practice "Action Forgiveness," although he had never spoken the words aloud. When the words came up in his mind, however, they were usually accompanied by the mental image of Jesus on a motorcycle, wearing an Evel Knievel stars-and-stripes jumpsuit.

It is interesting to note that if a brainscan were to be done while Jacob was recollecting one of these plots, an seasoned neurologist would note that the electrical activity bears very little resemblance to that of someone in the selfless act of true forgiveness, and is in fact much closer to the pleasure-center lightning storms found in an anti-social personality upon completion of an elaborate act of revenge.

After hearing this hypothetical neurologist diagnose him as an emotionless sociopath, Jacob would very likely submit the name of said physician for consideration for many prestigious awards and grants.

He would, of course, leave his own name off the nomination form.

Posted by DC at January 24, 2005 11:37 PM

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