Ever since the fire took my home back in November, almost everybody I meet, be they friend or total stranger, greets me with pretty much the identical refrain: “Is there anything I can do?” Often, the following is added: “If there is just anything, please let me know.”
Now, I have to admit that such an offer of help is moving indeed, but it also presents a tempting challenge. Rather than simply acknowledging the generosity of all these kind souls, am I depriving them of an outlet for their kindness? Perhaps it is time I take them literally.
I have been giving more thought to how I should respond and have come up with a number of appropriate requests, such as, “I would really appreciate it if you could rebuild my home exactly the way it was, do it yesterday, and not charge me for it.” If that request seems a bit over the top, I could always go back to, “I really like chocolate.”
Perhaps I could register at a department store like when I first got married, and people could buy me everything from a set of knives to a colander.
People have actually offered me specific gifts rather than a more open-ended offer of largesse. A dear friend of mine offered me either his home in Massachusetts or his home on Long Island. I was sorely tempted to ask why in the wintertime he did not offer me his home in Palm Beach with his yacht, but I do have some sense of manners (not really).
An acquaintance of mine has seen me a couple of times since the fire, and on each occasion, he gives me a strong hug and assures me that if there is anything (and he repeats the word “anything”) he can do, I can count on him. This man is carved out of stone. Rarely have I encountered anybody in better shape.
People tell me that he used to work for a spy agency from another country. I can readily believe it. When he gives me that strong hug, I can feel my breath being squeezed right out of me. The more I think about his offer, the more intrigued I am by it.
Finally, I asked my bride if there were anybody I found annoying enough that I actually wanted to have the person bumped off. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity, but I am sorry to say I couldn’t come up with a single name. But do be nice to me, and whatever you do, don’t annoy me, because I have a friend “who will do anything.”