Favors: The Currency of Saints and Hypocrites by
(65 Stories)

Prompted By Favors

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Aristotle? Bible? “Ideal man”? Mit-what-zah? Sounds like a fancy way of saying “make your own bed” to me. But apparently, doing stuff for other people is supposed to be some grand declaration of inner beauty. Let’s be honest, though, favors are a minefield. A social tightrope where good intentions trip over awkward silences and unspoken expectations. Or as my Irish grandmother used to say: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Me? I’ve been asked to fetch everything from a stray sock in a still revolving tumble dryer to the last-minute request for a kidney from a distant cousin I met once at a baptism gone wrong. Favors Large? Favors Small? It’s all relative, isn’t it? Holding the door for a granny is a breeze, but explaining Bitcoin to your dad feels a lot like pushing a boulder uphill with a sprained ankle.

Spontaneous? Well, I wouldn’t call stopping to help a stranded motorist “spontaneous” exactly. It’s more like that primal fear of being stuck myself that starts kicking in. Besides, the hero worship from the grateful “stuckee” driver it usually comes with free coffee – post action bribery, basically.

Now for me begrudging favors is where the real theater starts. Like the time a friend asked me to be his “wingman” at a club. Me, the social chameleon who blends in with furniture. That night ended with me explaining existentialism to a drunk bouncer while my Casanova friend snuck off with a girl who could bench press me. You call that a favor? I call it a prolonged emotional mugging.

And me asking for favors? Don’t even get me started. I’d rather wrestle a badger for its comb than admit I need help (or directions). Unless, of course, the reward is free pizza. Then all bets are off. I would tap-dance on broken glass for a slice of pepperoni heaven.

But here’s the thing Aristotle and Bible guy: maybe, just maybe, doing things for others isn’t about some cosmic karma balance sheet. Maybe it’s about the fleeting dopamine rush of seeing someone smile. Maybe it’s about proving to myself that I am not a complete jerk. Or maybe it’s just about avoiding the awkwardness of saying no?

Who knows? The human psyche is a tangled knot of neuroses and half-eaten biscuits. All I know is, next time someone asks me for a favor, I’ll weigh the awkwardness against the potential pizza payoff. And who knows, maybe, just maybe, I’ll surprise myself and do it out of the sheer, inexplicable joy of being slightly less than a nitwit. But don’t hold your breath.


Profile photo of Kevin Driscoll Kevin Driscoll
(Mostly) Vegetarian, Politically Progressive, Daily Runner, Spiritual, Helpful, Friendly, Kind, Warm Hearted and Forgiving. Resident of Braintree MA.

Characterizations: funny, well written


  1. Thanx Kevin for your always clever take on the Retro prompt!

    And please my friend, let that poor badger keep his comb!

  2. Khati Hendry says:

    It occurs to me that there is a fine line between doing favors and acts of kindness. The former seems imply there could be a “favor bank” and some payback is expected. The latter is given freely. Where we choose to draw that line is something else. Pizza is always an incentive though.

  3. Betsy Pfau says:

    I truly love your take on this one, Kevin. Made me smile, even laugh out loud. I confess, the first thing I thought of was Orange A-hole’s quid pro quo “perfect” phone call to the newly installed Zelensky that led to his first impeachment…”Would you do me a favor?” I don’t think he was asking for a slice of pepperoni…

  4. Jim Willis says:

    Kevin, your observations and questions about the motivations for doing favors are provocative. They remind me of a story/fable you may have heard about Abraham Lincoln. While traveling across a wooden bridge in a rural swampy area, Lincoln heard the loud squealing of a pig down below. He called to the coachman to halt the coach, jumped out, and saw a pig below who was visibly distraught because one of her piglets was stuck in the mud and sinking. Abe jumped in and pulled the piglet out, saving its life. Back in the coach, he turned to his traveling companion, Sen. Edward Baker, and said, “What I did was the height of selfishness. I couldn’t have had a moment’s peace tonight if I had let that piglet die.”

  5. Dave Ventre says:

    There is a theory that all good deeds are, at their core, self-serving. Making us all, at our cores, selfish gits. I hate thinking that, as it gnaws at my deep inner worry that I am actaully a complete monster who is too chicken, and lazy, to be myself.

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