bunny2My friends,

This weekend, a bunny peed on me. Jameelah and I are approaching the apex of our preparation for Vietnam after buying 700 dollar’s worth of stuff for my relatives at Costco (we went to Costco to buy stuff for the relatives; not we bought stuff for relatives who live at Costco). Who knew that vitamin supplements, Peptol Bismol, lotions, and bags of M&M’s could add up to so much? And now a bunch of people are requesting that I take stuff back for them! Argh! Next year, we’ll go to Mexico, and the money and time that would go to relatives would be put to better use, namely, to get ourselves drunk on tequila.

Anyway, our friend Thao from Seattle came along and he brought his bunny. Thao is a no-good-very-bad man who injects poison into bunnies in order to conduct cancer research. He’s killed half a dozen. He names the bunnies after his friends, so he thought he would bring Little Huy the Bunny to visit us. It’s the coolest little guy, very sweet and curious. It likes to hop around on the couch. It’s actually much cuter than that picture of him. We fell in love with Little Huy. So we took him to Costco. I was holding him on my lap and suddenly felt a warm sensation spread over my loins. I thought, “Oh no, complications with the vasectomy, just like I feared!” Then I realized I never got a vasectomy, and that the bunny had peed on me.

This just goes to show you, my friends, that sometimes karma punishes good people for doing good deeds, for no reason. The bunny is just a metaphor for all the times good people get screwed. Today, for example, I spent two hours trying to plead with a heartless social security bureaucrat to waive a $4,000 fine for my 85-year old administrative assistant.

Mr. Nguyen is a really great man. He just got his Master’s in French Literature two years ago, when he was 83. He takes the bus to work, volunteers in the community, and sends back the little bit of money he saves to his family in Vietnam. Sometimes he leaves a tangerine on my desk. “Huy,” he would say, in his soft French-accented English, “Vitamin C is necessaire keep you alert. You must utilize your leisurely breaks, perhaps to do exercise.” He talks like that. He’s like a grandfather. We love him at the office. He was volunteering at our organization, so when we had some extra funding at the end of the fiscal year, he was ecstatic when I could hire him part-time. He was really happy to be an official part of the team.

Then the paperwork came in. His Medicare was dropped. Then his housing subsidy was decreased. Then he lost SSI. By working with us, he loses nearly $750 dollars each month, not to mention hundreds of hours filing waiver forms and taking buses to appeal sessions. I was horrified. For weeks I’ve been calling and sending in letters, trying to beg on Mr. Nguyen’s behalf, to no avail. Today, we faced Mr. Arugula (that’s not his real name, but it sounded like it), a pompous young paper pusher who refused to budge and showed very little sympathy. “Please,” I said, “Mr. Nguyen is 85 years old. He had no idea he had to report his workstudy and other miscellaneous income. He can’t pay back the $4,000 he owes you in overpayment.”

“It says in his waiver request form that he ‘tightened [his] belt’ and saved up $300 dollars to send back to his family in Vietnam for over a year. SSI is welfare; it cannot pay for relatives. All that money needs to be paid back.”

After a few minutes, Mr. Nguyen was nearly in tears. “I humbly beg for your benevolent consideration,” he said, to which Arugula responded “Huh? I don’t understand what he said.” We left with the agreement that his social security payments would be lowered by a small amount every month until his 4K debt is paid off. He was very concerned. “I am afraid that I will not be able to live long enough to pay this debt completely.”

“Sir,” I said, “considering that you do yoga and walk for 5 miles every day, I’m sure that you will outlive me. This debt guarantees you’ll be alive for 20 years, since I know how much you hate owing people money.”

That cheered him up. He flashed a smile, missing four upper front teeth.

So what’s the point? The point is that sometimes karma screws with people when they don’t deserve it! Sometimes we are punished when we try to do good things. Sometimes society is like a bunny that pees on you for no good reason. Sometimes the snow falls down in June. Sometimes the sun goes round the moon. OK, I got carried away. Those last two are actually lyrics from “Save the Best for Last.”

Point is, it’s really unfair for Mr. Nguyen. He should not be punished for trying to work, help his family, and be a productive part of society. Ugh, I’ll find a way to help him. Like my grandmother used to say, “You don’t have to buy the lumber, but you can always draft up the blue print.” I never really understood her sayings.

All right, back to packing. The next one of these will be from Vietnam. Let me know how you are, and any advice to help Mr. Nguyen would be appreciated. He’s a good man.


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