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Karma Cleanser: Will it come back to bite you?


Dear Karma Cleanser:

I am not someone who believes drugs are evil or anything, but I was recently faced with a hard situation and I don't know if I did the right thing.

It was 10 a.m. on a weekday and I was leaving a Wal-Mart in a part of town that's still "transitioning." In the parking lot, I saw a man sitting in the passenger's seat of a beat-up car with the windows rolled down and he was smoking a blunt – right there, in full daylight.

There was a child in the backseat, maybe 9 years old, and the man was scolding him loudly for playing with the window.

I drove past the car again to verify and, sure enough, he was smoking pot, and now he was screaming at the child. I decided to go back inside the store to report the man to the security guard. I don't know what happened after I left, but I wouldn't have said anything had there not been a child involved.

When I told my fiance about it, he was appalled that I would report the guy for smoking pot – because we've both toyed with substances.

– Am I a Hypocrite?

Must've been some harsh or worthless weed if the guy was still yelling while toking. You did the right thing. If someone wants to wake-and-bake and hang out in the parking lot of a Sprawl-Mart, that's his prerogative, but you were right to speak up on behalf of the hapless minor. Had your fiance seen the same thing himself, let's hope he would have responded in kind.

Dear Karma Cleanser:

I don't want to say my co-worker Rene is dumb, but she's definitely not the brightest person I've ever worked alongside.

A few weeks back we got backed up on a project and things in the office became intense. I sent a long e-mail to Rene asking for her help on a few assignments. She then forwarded that e-mail to our boss, with a long note that called me an "asshole" and said a few other rude things not suitable for print. Except Rene screwed up the e-mail and sent it to me as well. She then tried to "recall" the message, but by then I'd already read it.

How do I respond without royally screwing up my own career karma? Do I tell her she's now lost the only ally she had in this office?

– Slippery Keys

How easy life would be if we all had a "recall" option, if we could just hit Control-Z and erase our most recent mistake. But the universe doesn't work like Windows, and that's not a bad thing. Use her snafu as your opportunity for clearing the air between you. Even if she is an airhead, she might've sent you the offending e-mail on purpose – on some level. That doesn't make it right, nor does it make you an asshole. You're only an ass if you escalate the tension.

Been bad?

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