No good deed


I am sure that most of you have heard the old phrase, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

You also know by now that Ol’ Dutch likes to include some background of the origin of such phrases here so that you, my readers, will have some intellectual-sounding fodder to bring up at the next social meeting you attend. So, I went to the source for everything, aka The Internet, and there seems to be some schism about who came up with such wisdom.

One source swears up and down it was first attributed to old Walter Map's 12th-century De nugis curialium where a character is said to have, "left no good deed unpunished, no bad one unrewarded". But another search engine attests the phrase to one Oscar Wilde, a famous Irish poet and playwright born way back in 1854. Miss Trixie upon hearing his birthdate thought it pertinent to ask Ol’ Dutch if he knew old Oscar since she thinks I may be older than dirt after my last birthday.

Moving on, O.W. did say "no good deed goes unpunished" in its purest form so we will chalk one up for the Irish and let him have the credit this time.

What it means is whenever a person does a good deed for someone just out of the abundance of their heart let us say, somehow the doer many times gets the short end of the deal. Take for instance one of your friends gets stranded in a broken-down car. You put on your Good Samaritan shirt and shoes, rush out there, spend all day helping them tow them to town. And that is all well and good but what can happen is while you are out there a truck goes by and dumps a whole passel of nails on the road and you end up ruining four tires.

Now this does not mean you should curtail your good deeds as they may help you get in the Pearly Gates, if you are short on good conduct credits.

So, Ol’ Dutch found himself in the perfect spot – so I thought — to help some poor soul along life's highway last Sunday. Having shuttled some fishermen up the river, I decided that it was time for me to wet a line and went up to an area lake to fly fish the stream coming into it. I was doing good just minding my own business – which I should have kept doing – when two young boys began trying to fly fish beside me. It was a pathetic display of whipping and pounding the water and Ol’ Dutch decided to teach them a few things about casting a fly.

They were overjoyed to learn how to throw and soon I had them tossing loop after loop across the stream. And Ol’ Dutch was feeling prouder than a peacock in Spring until I stepped back and fell into a hidden beaver den. Down I went sloshing and thrashing into the cold morass and looking to the boys for a hand up, but all I saw were four eyes staring back at this old man in total disbelief at what they were seeing. I did finally extract myself from the watery grave but not before filling both boots, all my pockets and my wallet with ice cold rocky mountain spring water.

I do have to admit I laughed all the way back to the truck at the sight I must have been as I went down like a trap door had been pulled out from underneath me. It was the first time I have fallen in probably in 10 years, so I still feel pretty good about that, albeit a tad soggy.

Last week was not all bad, as I was able to assist in the rescue of a woman from the river as my good deed and that deed had no bad payback. So, I guess I will keep trying to help others.

My mother always told us that when you do a good turn for someone that God will repay you and so far, she has been right. And when you take that attitude then you never have to feel as though you got shorted in any situation. So, get out there this week and help a friend, neighbor, and if you are Godly enough, help an enemy. God keeps score, you can bet on that and who better to reward you for your deeds than Him. 


Kevin Kirkpatrick and his Yorkie, Cooper, fish, hunt, ATV, or hike daily. His email is Additional news can be found at