Mark Hartley, Editor
Acts of compassion are accompanied by spiritually arousing music in films made for television, especially in movies sponsored by manufacturers of greeting cards. Since good deeds are pretty nifty in real life too, I`d like to suggest that it`s not worth fretting about the place of the National Endowment of the Arts in the federal budget. Don`t cut anything from the NEA budget; just devote a good chunk of it to musicians who wait on street corners for compassionate acts to occur.
Compassionate acts occur everywhere and are made by just darned near everyone. Under this new NEA program, the violinist would tug on the sleeve of the tuba player, "Did you see that? That elderly fellow in the drug store there dropped all the change that the clerk handed him and that little boy behind him scooped it all up and gave it back ... What was that theme music from the Hallmark movie about the lady who teaches all those poor kids in the Appalachians how to read? ... You know it? Let`s play it for the kid!" They dash across the street, swerving around oncoming traffic, before the Good Samaritan can leave with the pack of baseball cards that he went into the store to buy. They strike up a rendition of the movie`s theme music as best as a violin and tuba can.
Sounds like a good investment of federal tax dollars to me, even though the kid might be a little startled by the attention. The NEA probably can think of things for mimes, jugglers, actors, etc. to spontaneously perform whenever acts of compassion are witnessed in the community.
No, artists wouldn`t have to look far. A good thing about our society is that we perform random acts of kindness every day. Acts of compassion do not require blood or tears to be shed. Acts of compassion are usually the simplest gestures anyone could think of. In fact, when we think about being compassionate, we usually screw it up. There`s a reason for the acronym, KISS (Keep it simple, stupid). It ought to be part of the definition for compassion.
Compassion requires no talent, skills, or intelligence to perform. In fact, I often marvel that the most talented and smartest people I know are usually the least compassionate. Is it because there is no mental challenge to being compassionate? Is it because there`s a perceived minimum requirement that must be met in order to qualify as being compassionate - a certain amount of dollars or time donated? Is it because an act of compassion needs to be clever or original enough so that it will have enough human interest appeal to be written up in the newspaper? Really, a KISS will do!
I also think the best thing about the dental hygiene profession is that there is a dizzying number of ways that a hygienist can be compassionate. At Ground Zero in dental hygiene, it`s still just asking what`s the matter, being sincerely interested in the patient`s welfare, and letting the swell of compassion breathe through your pores as you perform the best kind of work: Helping another human in need. Don`t ever lose your natural ability to be compassionate; it`s part of what makes you an outstanding member of our community. If I could, I`d ask those NEA musicians to stand poised to play in your operatory.