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Karma Points


I'd like to tell you all about a little thing I call Karma Points.

I believe most of you probably already know what Karma is and the thought behind it. However, it might be a new concept to some of you who aren't so enlightened in nutty-crunchy-fruity-granola-new-age-shit.

Dictionary.com has a good definition of the term Karma here. The basic principle is the idea that the effects of a person's actions determine his or her destiny after reincarnation or the next phase of life. It's rooted in Buddhism and Hinduism.

A lot of the new-agers that have adopted the idea of Karma tend to believe that your karma impacts your fate in the here and now. It's generally the nuttier-crunchier-fruitier version of "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."

Ok, ok. I hear you asking, "Thanks for the pointless info, now what are Karma Points?!!?!" Geeze you guys are pushy.

In the 1980s, Marvel Comics had a roleplaying game based on their superheroes. Instead of the 'experience point' type system that games like AD&D use, they used a system called Karma Points. Whenever your hero did something good or heroic (like defeating a villain or merging correctly in rush-hour traffic) you got Karma Points. When your character did something bad or evil (like failing to save an innocent from harm or not using your turn signal whilst using your cellphone to describe how you just cut-off another driver because you didn't see him since you were putting on your makeup and you were afraid you were going to spill your coffee if you looked back) you lost Karma Points.

"So, what good are Karma Points besides keeping track of how bad of a good guy I am?!?1!" Would you just knock it off with all that extraneous punctuation?! Geeze that's annoying.

Your Karma Point tally was a lot more than a just a score card. Karma Points could be used to bail you out of a tough position. Suppose you were trying to lift an SUV off the driver who flew out when she took the clover-leaf too fast and rolled her Isuzu... (why you would do such a thing is beyond me) ...and the dice just aren't with you. You could spend Karma Points to increase your efforts to superheroic proportions!

I think Karma Points may actually exist IRL (that's "In Real Life") and we earn, lose and spend them during everyday actions without ever actually knowing.

Stop to help that poor old lady with the broken down car? Earn 5 Karma Points! Save the last donut for your significant other? Earn 10 Karma Points! I think you get the idea. To the right is a help little table with some examples of how the reward system might work.

For example, the other day I was bit late for work and was driving well in excess of the speed limits on the freeway. I'm flying down the left lane and come up behind a white car. It's not till I'm just behind the vehicle do I notice the extra antennae on top of the car. There were four or five antennae, not counting a regular radio antenna which I didn't see. I didn't even have to slow down, though, the car just eased into the #2 lane to let me pass. As it did so, I could clearly make out the symbol I was dreading. CHP. Eep!

So I cruised past the Highway Patrol officer and let my speed drop naturally to about five over the speed limit. No lights, no pissed off blue-meanie... nothing. The CHiPs dude just moved over to let me pass and that was it. I figger that cost me a good 30-40 Karma Points.

I wish I could check my Karmic Balance, somehow, so I could know when to deposit more Karma Points in the pool by doing more good deeds. Maybe if Quicken tracked Karma Points...

It's very important to keep a positive Karma Point balance. Bad shit happens when you've got a negative Karma level. You've seen all those yahoos getting arrested on COPS, right? Those are the people with negative Karma levels.