“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”. ~Wayne Dyer
Last weekend when I was visiting my brother, my sister-in-law had a bunch of post-it notes in the kitchen with various affirmations. I like people who are conscientious and strive to remain Buddha-like as it is so easy to get sucked into vortex of petty resentment and super-inflated hate-ons for our fellow humans. This karma quote got me thinking as I rifled through their kitchen looking for cookies and a bottle opener. I think about karma a lot and wonder if certain people in my life have “gotten theirs.” It comforts me to think that the high school bully is rotting in prison, even if I just made up that story. But reading that little kitchen post-it made me think I’ve got the concept all wrong.
Take Bernie Madoff, for example. He scammed thousands of people of all their savings and ruined their lives. His son killed himself. His other son hates him. His wife is in pill popping purgatory. Here he is in jail, lounging on his prison bed, looking ever so slightly bored but without any remorse. His life is like a long, dull, train ride which isn’t all that bad. What up, Karma? What’s your plan here?
And that’s just it, Karma has nothing to do with crime and punishment. That’s a man-made justice system. Karma is not magical either. The Universe is not sending out pigeons to shit on your car because you cut someone off in traffic. If you cheat on your wife and tell your mistress that you are leaving and you never do and then develop testicular cancer, that is poetic justice, not Karma *per se.*
A few years ago, when my marriage went tits down, my husband and I sold our very awesome house to a developer because he bought the rest of the block which was going to be perfect for a series of town homes. Our house aside, the rest of the properties were dodgy so it was like making a sacrifice to the gods of real estate. No one hates new developments more than me, so I knew there was some dealing with the Devil about to take place. But I had no idea how bad this person really was. He kept postponing the closing date because his permits were never in place. We were the only people still living in our house while the rest of them were boarded up and broken into by the crackheads. We had to live in this environment for months, calling the police every night because our house kept getting broken into. When we finally left, we took our the appliances that were kind of new and didn’t clean up because we were told the house would be torn down in a month. Dude ended up suing us for $25,000 for lost income that he could have gotten renting the place out because once again, he didn’t have his demolition permit n on time. We had to go to a judge and settle for giving him $10,000. A couple of months later, the house “caught fire,” and as Serendipity, Karma’s slutty sister, would have it, he could accelerate the demolition.
I knew where he lived. I collected little baggies of my dog’s shit and every so often I would place her little logs underneath a leaf and put it in his path on the way to his car. Serves him right, I thought. I would obsess over it, sometimes waking really early and making Betty poop fresh so he would get a steamie on his shoe first thing in the morning. I never actually saw him step in the load but with or without shit on his shoes, he ended up going bankrupt and the people who bought his town homes wound up getting the shaft. He never paid the construction workers so they went out of business and they had to pay the rest from their own pockets, and when some of the units had faulty plumbing, the warranties were invalid. Through the real estate grapevine, I heard that Dude moved up north and then later fled the country. This summer while interweb trolling, I found him on the Facebook and his profile pic is of him driving a speedboat on what looked like the Caribbean or the Mediterranean. Who’s laughing now, bitch? His smirk seemed to say.
“How people treat you is their karma; How you choose to react, is yours.” It’s an unsettling concept, I think, because Karma doesn’t know right from wrong. The only ones with the judgements are us. Karma is just a mirror of our actions and reactions. And it’s probably best not to waste time worrying about the douchebags that fuck us over. If they are okay with stingray bites and anal fissures from bending over in the prison shower, then Godspeed! Karma might not be a bitch, but I am!
And with that thought, I leave you with Radiohead: