Apparently someone has “stolen” all of the toilet paper and other items at the big box stores and markets in town. Whoever has taken these items, please return them and there will be no questions asked.

Wouldn’t that be lovely?

Could you imagine a long line outside the market with people returning items they over bought? Imagine how that image would warm our hearts. Give us a little faith in humanity. Now imagine how it just might make us want to do a good deed for someone else. And then we do it.

Now we feel good. A little less depressed. A little less anxious. A little more hopeful.

There are studies that show… meh, how tired are you of hearing those words? We don’t need a study to know that doing something nice for someone makes them and us feel good. If it doesn’t, you are the person who awkwardly hesitates to click the security prompt box “I am not a robot” on your computer screen.

When we do things for others, especially during these challenging times, we are taking care of each other and ourselves as well.

It’s funny how major events can bring out the best and the worst in people. Not funny haha. We’ll get to that later. The COVID-19 virus has left us with different levels of anxiety, panic or angry denial. The ugliness can be seen on social media:

“Stay home you idiot!”

“More people die from the flu you moron!”

There are always going to be different opinions about the level of precautions we should be taking. Instead of debating whether you’re more likely to die from being attacked by a rabid rock chuck than from COVID-19, let’s focus our energy on positivity and how we can actually help.

I can’t believe I just wrote that, being a self-described pessimist. I’m working on it. It’s part of my mission to mind my mind.

So, how do we get on the good deed train? I’ve asked myself that question. Here are a few ideas:

Start close to home

Are there neighbors who might be in a pinch? Elderly, disabled, or without transportation? Reach out and see if they need help. Anything they need at the market? Toilet paper perhaps? Contact Council on Aging of Central Oregon about volunteer opportunities. Seniors are most likely to need help during this pandemic.

Reach out on social media

Yes, social media can be used for good! Offer assistance to your friends and aquaintances on Facebook and have them private message you. Or check out the Facebook group Pandemic Partners Bend

Return surplus supplies (long shot, I know)

Do you have “over buyers remorse”? Consider returning a portion to the market for others in need. More importantly, think of the story the checker will tell others. You might just inspire another to do a good deed. Donate to and/or volunteer with NeighborImpact’s Food Bank, The Giving Plate,or The Oregon Food Bank.

You can also read this PBS article: How to help others in the COVID-19 crisis.

Lastly, remember to laugh.

I tend to hide my pessimism with sarcastic humor. Sometimes I go too far. But I find that it’s important to keep a sense of humor during challenging times. It can relieve a bit of tension and awkwardness.

Recently we met a small group at a local restaurant to celebrate a good friend’s birthday. The decision to go out was not made lightly. Greeting methods were not discussed in advance. Do we hug? Bump elbows? Jazz hands?

At the end of the meal our server brought a small dessert with a birthday candle. As he set it on the table, I noticed seven spoons on the plate.

“Seven spoons? Really?” I said, looking playfully at the server. “Haven’t you heard there’s a virus going around?”

My delivery was in jest and we all shared a laugh with the server. And maybe that server will think to bring just one spoon with the next dessert he serves. (note: this blog was written just before all restaurants shut down)

What’s my point? Humor can be the best medicine AND send a message that’s not all aggro.

So keep positive thoughts, less taking, more giving and order your own damn dessert.

Mark Quon
Guest Blogger