If You Can’t Say Something Nice…


“Nothing is as obnoxious as other people’s luck.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

In a world where every other news story seems to be about some disaster or some lunatic wanting to inflict pain on others, it is refreshing to read a feel-good story. The one I read was about two Toronto Blue Jay players, Goins and Pillar, presenting tickets to an upcoming playoff game to a young boy. The expression on the boy’s face was priceless! It was a mixture of pure joy and disbelief.

I read the story via a Facebook link shared by a friend. I thought the actions of the Blue Jay organization exemplified all the good deeds that still occur in this world on a daily basis and the story made me smile. But then I made the mistake of reading the comments that followed. First of all, I admit that I am as guilty as the next person when it comes to wanting to immediate respond to a story. But I have learned to take a minute before typing that post, and usually (as hard as it is to do), I prefer to make no comment.

As I read these comments I was shocked and somewhat dismayed to see that at least half of them were from people wondering how they, too, might access some tickets. Some even openly wondered what was so special about this little boy to gain him such a gift. No congratulations, no thumbs up and no high fives from these folks. And did it really matter why this child had been chosen? Apparently to these folks it did and they felt they had a right to know. I realize that some of these people were maybe trying to be funny, but it still bothered me that their response was, “Why not me?” instead of “Good for you.”

It seems that more and more we are living in a self-centred society where people find it difficult to feel joy for the good fortunes of others. It made me wonder why so many people become cynical to the point that they feel cheated or ripped off when someone else enjoys a windfall. Why do some people succumb to feelings of resentment and even bitterness? Have we lost our sense of compassion and empathy?

And what are we teaching the next generation?

Not that long ago I encountered that same attitude when I was lucky enough to win a nice sum of cash at a Rider game. My friends and family offered congratulations and some even jokingly told me how jealous they were. But one acquaintance point-blankly told me, “Well, that’s nice, but it doesn’t do me any good.”

And there you have it! Never mind Facebook, here she was expressing her resentment straight to my face! There were so many things I wanted to say, but my mother always taught me that if you can’t say something nice, then you shouldn’t say anything at all. So I just smiled and kept quiet.



3 thoughts on “If You Can’t Say Something Nice…

  1. I believe that if you can only feel “why not me” at someone`s good fortune or “glad it`s not me” at someone else`s misfortune you need to break out of the dark reflecting bubble you are trapped in. You need to instantly share smiles and tears it will lift that weight off of you. Love the kitchen Gail.

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