We have passed through the looking glass to the real-life place where the cliche "no good deed goes unpunished" has become a way of life.
Meet Carson King, an Iowa State fan, who like thousands of others across the country this fall crafted what he thought was a clever sign to stand out among the crowd Sept. 14 during ESPN's College GameDay broadcast in Ames, Iowa.
King's sign read: "Busch Light Supply Needs Replenished" and included a Venmo account for online donations.
Clever, sure, but it's not exactly Shakespearean. Well, because we never know what is going to go viral until it goes viral, King became the king of the interwebs.
Donations poured in to help keep the Busch Light pouring. Heck, Anheuser-Busch, the parent company of Busch Light, got involved.
It hit a nerve. Donations flowed in to keep King's beer of choice flowing.
Hundreds. Thousands. Tens of Thousands.
King realized this was bigger than beer, which is a very enlightened position for any American male in his early 20s.
So he pulled away enough cash to buy a single case of cold ones and decided to give the rest to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital.
Anheuser-Busch and Venmo loved the idea and pitched in, too. The total raised topped more than $1.1 million and became the feel-good story du jour.
Then the Des Moines Register interviewed King, and in the reporting of his human interest story found that he had two insensitive tweets eight years ago when he was barely old enough to drive.
And because we are so obsessed with the gotcha nature of pinning a racist label on any and everything, King's tweets became the story. Sadly.
Not the funny sign, not the extraordinary fundraising, not the goodness of helping sick kids.
Asked about it, King apologized to the reporter and accepted responsibility. He even called a news conference to address it.
"I am so embarrassed and stunned to reflect on what I thought was funny when I was 16 years old. I want to sincerely apologize," he said. "Thankfully, high school kids grow up and hopefully become responsible and caring adults."
No doubt, Carson, and here's hoping that to be forever true.
In fact, parents need to remind their kids of two sure-bet Twitter lessons (and for all social media, for that matter): 1) nothing is ever forgotten and 2) never forget rule 1.
Gone are the days of youthful mistakes and lame attempts of humor, and that makes the gotcha world filled with even more pain and pitfalls.
So it goes, sadly. But as we opened with the cliche that "no good deed goes unpunished," what goes around comes around is this:
The Des Moines Register reporter who did the story on King this week has several offensive tweets in his past, too. The paper is investigating.
Excuse me while I go cleanse my Twitter timeline.
I suggest you do the same.
Contact Jay Greeson at firstname.lastname@example.org.