Another day, another heartwarming Internet meme. This time, it’s the story of over 300 Starbucks customers “paying it forward” and picking up the tab of the next person in line. Nice thing to do? Sure. But it also feels like a distraction. Yes, we can get all mushy about regular people buying each other a coffee. What about some bigger ways of paying it forward?

In the past few years, corporations in this country have made stunning, record-breaking profits. They have made those profits thanks to our very hard work. And they are not paying any of that forward–if anything, they’re doing the opposite. Worker wages, during that same time, have gone down. Likewise, our government representatives are not paying us forward for the votes and loyalty they have received from us. But I suppose that when it comes to the politicians, they have much bigger financial favors to pay back, and those business transactions have nothing to do with us, their constituents.

Americans are truly some of the most generous people I’ve ever met. We also come off looking like chumps sometimes, getting fleeced on every side by powerful interests, and not standing up and speaking out about it like we should. We work harder than any other nation in the world, and are working ever harder all the time, yet getting less and less in return.

Perhaps this serves to reveal the true “Secret” of the Universe, which is that it has a dark sense of humor, and that it does not, in fact, reward kindness with kindness. Good deeds are more likely to be punished, and assholes will always thrive. I guess one answer is to do as most spiritual traditions of the world tell us to do–don’t expect to be compensated for the love you give to others–give it anyway. Unfortunately, I have a handicap–I’m not capable of being a heartless asshole–so I don’t have much choice in the matter.

For once, there’s a gun controversy I don’t have strong opinions about.  I mean the Starbucks vs guns brouhaha, caused by the Starbucks CEO politely asking firearms owners to refrain from bringing their weapons into his coffeeshops, so that they don’t scare away the customers.

Thing is, I’m already terrified of Starbucks, because everything there is so overpriced.  On the rare occasion that I run in there to get a snack, it’s always a moment of hair-raising shock, guns or no guns.  I’ve been told that I’m being charged so much because I’m getting the Starbucks “experience”.  I don’t know what that means.  The Starbucks experience feels very generic, and there’s nothing there that I can’t buy somewhere else, either for less money or with more ambiance.

Now, if I walked into a Starbucks and saw a rally of Second Amendment supporters armed to the teeth, would that be frightening?  Well, sure.  But only slightly more frightening than how much I have to pay for one of those tiny packets of sliced fruit.

So, Starbucks Appreciation Days?  Starbucks boycotts?  Meh.  And if I want to splurge, I’ll stick to my Steven Smith Tea.