Graham Hoerner looked at sadness as a competition, an investment, a badge of pride, and a vindication for all his worrying ways. For example, on Father’s Day while driving to his in-laws with his wife and sixteen-month twin girls, he saw a homeless man pushing a shopping cart across the street and said to his wife, “I wonder if the poor man was once a viable member of the community, a businessman, a lawyer, or a doctor. I wonder if he has children anywhere and if they are thinking about him today. I wonder why God allows such unfathomable suffering."
Graham’s wife Lara said to him, “Did you remember to bring the brownies?”
Graham said, “We should give our brownies to this poor homeless man.”
“Are you joking?” Lara said. “I’m in charge of dessert. Are you trying to get me killed?”
“Brownies might be the only token of love and affection this forsaken man has felt in months, years, perhaps decades.”
"Perhaps centuries," Lara said. She then turned around and foraged under blankets and gift boxes in the back seat and to her dismay said the brownies weren’t there.
“You forgot them, Graham. Now what are we going to do?”
“We’re going to stop the car and take this homeless man to your mother’s.”
“We’re not taking him anywhere.”
“The limits of human kindness and compassion cut me with such deep sorrow, it's a miracle I can get out of bed every morning.”
“Nothing like the sorrow I’m going to feel because YOU forgot to bring the brownies.”
“I hope your mother lets me sleep in the guestroom. I’ve been overcome with overwhelming melancholy. A nap might prove useful.”
“What am I going to tell my parents? You’ve been overcome with melancholy? Sheesh!”
Graham thought to himself, “I am the saddest man in the world, and no one understands how hard it is for me. This is my fate, my yoke I must wear around my neck forever and ever.”