Then I got a little closer and realized the man was upset because someone had beaten him to a parking spot.
A few steps away, I spied a woman talking on a cell phone—looking rather glum. Her face was a mask of distress. I stopped and contemplated the source of her sorrow and assumed it was the war in Iraq. Clearly, this woman was overcome with angst when contemplating the countless dead, the 50-60% employment rate, the 4.7 million refugees, the depleted uranium, and the fact that much of the country was still without electricity.
Then I got a little closer and overheard her phone conversation. I realized the woman was upset because she thought her jeans made her look fat.
On the next block, I passed another woman who appeared to be consumed with frustration. I stopped and contemplated the source of her exasperation and assumed it was the meat-based diet. Clearly, this woman was overcome with irritation when contemplating the factory farms, the veal calves, the battery hens, the human health holocaust, and the fact that rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars.
Then I got a little closer and she looked at me sheepishly. I realized the woman was upset because she had forgotten to charge her iPod.
I was almost home when I saw a man who appeared to be overwhelmed with melancholy. I stopped and contemplated the source of his despondency and assumed it was, well, everything. Clearly, this man was overcome with depression when contemplating global poverty, mass animal and plant extinctions, widespread slavery, gender inequality, and the fact that somewhere on planet Earth a human being starves to death every two seconds.
Then I got a little closer and saw he was reading the sports pages. I realized the man was bummed because his favorite football team had lost the day before.
As Gandhi sez: “Action expresses priorities.”
Mickey Z. is the author of two new books, CPR for Dummies and No Innocent Bystanders, and can be found on the Web here