I'm something of an Antiques Roadshow freak. I love it. I'm sure I'll get that priceless prize at the garage sale, thrift store, trash pile on the side of the road. Whatever. I've always loved digging through attics, basements, boxes, just for the thrill of discovering what's in there.
The same thrill of discovery is achieved weekly on my favorite PBS show. The sweet old lady who spent twenty-five cents at a yard sale has an original Picasso. Too good to be true, but there it is. What's not to love?
Last night I watched in horror. A sweet little old lady proudly claimed an original artwork from a famous watercolorist. She found it at a silent auction. A school was raising money for scholarships to give to students who didn't have the money to attend the highly regarded private school. Mrs. Sweet Little Old Lady PROUDLY recalled how she bid seventy-five cents for the priceless work and the hovered around to make sure nobody outbid her!
WTF??? Am I the only one appalled? Is this behavior we want to encourage? I certainly hope not. I've been to numerous charitable auctions, silent and rowdy, and felt the point was to get the money to the charity, rather than expect a windfall take away. I've even applauded when raffle winners turned over the proceeds won to the charity involved. I've never won said raffle, so I can't vouch for what exactly I would do if I did win the color tv (or whatever). I'd like to think I'd be magnanimous.
I know I'm not the best person I would like to be, or even could be. I dance a fine line some days, knowing what's right, just not being fully committed to the personal wisdom of it (like the above paragraph - I did delete the series of nasty names I called the old bitch). But, there I go again.
It's not up to me to judge. But, when I see Gilbert Godfried celebrated in spite of spiteful anti Japanese 'jokes', or Mel Gibson praised in spite of just plain stupid meanness, or Charlie Sheen selling tickets and getting good reviews even though he beats women and isn't even allowed unsupervised around his own children, or old ladies cheaping out on a charity I just can't help but thing that maybe we are sending the wrong message about really matters. And in case you wondered, it isn't money.