Some days it feels like the world is going to hell in a hand basket. And some days, a ray of light. Maybe we as a race still have some hope.
Left to our own devices, we human beings have been known not to take responsibility for our actions, from worldwide issues down to our own back yard. Global warming. Enron. Homelessness.
Even closer to home, I was taking a walk in my new neighbourhood the other day and came across a curious sight. Planted like the first pennant raised on the moon was a flag, carefully placed in the centre of a pile of dog poo.
“Good dog + lazy owner = BAD NEIGHBOUR”
My first reaction was to laugh out loud. Then to wonder what kind of time some people have, to go around planting mini flags. Then it made me pause to ponder the bigger picture.
A good neighbour, warning others not to step in it. But more than that. You or I may have walked by and commented inwardly, but this person did something. And in so doing, took a stand against actions that might adversely affect their community.
Maybe the dog owner never considered the many people who would encounter their crap. Maybe next time they will contemplate the broader impact of their actions, the world beyond just themselves.
Thank heavens for the canaries in the mine. Or, as I call them, the Outliers. The people on either side of the bell curve majority who stand up and say what no one else has the guts to say–or perhaps call attention to things most haven’t even noticed.
Whether it’s corporate whistle blowers, global warming activists or neighbourhood watchdogs, it’s good to have people around to plant a few flags and help us avoid stepping in sh*t.
And, to make us laugh out loud.
Originally published March 12, 2008