My Good Deeds, Ranked
Every nice thing I did in the past year, ruthlessly quantified.
Year-end book lists rub me the wrong way. By all means, tell me your favorite books of 2022. But don’t rank them. And especially don’t tell me how many books you read. When did the consumption of art turn into some sort of race?
So I won’t be indulging in any sort of ranking or reporting about what I read in 2022.
Instead, here is a complete list of good deeds I performed in the last calendar year.
Subscribe for free, it’s the right thing to do.
As a kid I was what you might call “morally voracious.” I used to drive my parents crazy—always had my head in the middle of a good deed. But between family and work, I’ve been in a bit of an ethical rut of late. I’ve barely been able to focus on anything altruistic, even little stuff like nodding when a friend goes on and on about their supposedly sick aunt.
So last year I kicked off what I called “the Pershan Challenge”: perform ten ethical actions in 2022.
It was quite a mountain to climb, but not only did I meet my goals, I actually exceeded them! Here are my ELEVEN ethical moments from 2022, in order of goodness:
Tipped barista 10% (though she didn’t deserve it).
Recycled plastics, even takeout containers (once).
Took kids to the park (once).
Took kids to the park (second time!).
Cried during sad parts of Dark Knight Rises.
Donated kidney (not my own).
Cooked meal for a sick neighbor. Though was she really too sick to cook??
Didn’t yell at kids, though they totally deserved it.
Felt pangs of guilt after telling street person that I had nothing to give while clutching a dollar bill in my pocket.
Was angry at Republicans.
Read 52 books. (That’s one a week!)
Next year I’m setting myself a challenge for TWELVE moments of ethical achievement. It’ll be tough, but if anyone can do it, it’s me, the guy that just set a new personal best in ethics.
LAST WEEK ON TWOFIFTYONE.NET
Speaking of personal bests, here’s what was published last week on the internet’s finest site for cartoons and comedy of modest length, twofiftyone.net:
Tim Cahill with a thrilling advertisement for “Jon Bon Jovi, Live! Like You’ve Never Seen Him Before!”
And, finally, Lee Blevins provided us with “The Layman’s Guide to Trees,” a guide to trees for the layman, and it starts like this:
Eastern White Pine
It is quite possible to make a bed out of pine needles. It will be much harder to convince someone to lay on it while you rail them.
It has been literal decades since the last time anyone felt horny around a Hazel.
The bark of the American Beech is easy to carve your name into. For example: Layman Was Here, Laidwoman Was Disappointed.
You should not grind up the beans of the Kentucky Coffeetree because they are slightly poisonous. But nothing is stopping you from grinding up against the beans of the Kentucky Coffeedrinker.
Go read the whole thing on the site.
That’s it for me! Say hi to Gerber for me on Friday. And if you do have favorite books from the past year—even ones you wrote yourself, a lot of you do that—please do share them in the comments. We’re eager to help spread the word.
(Good deed #1 down already!)