Tuesday, January 7, 2020


Knowing this one won’t make me look good, I shall keep it brief to diminish the vitriol.

During the holidays, we received solicitations in the mail, asking for money to fight terrible diseases.  And I mean lots of them.  Both terrible diseases, and solicitations for money.

Unable to contribute to all of them – or maybe able, but come on – we have to decide which of these vital charities to support, and which to slip into the recycling bin.

How do we decide?

This is disgusting, but here goes.

First, I think, 

“Which terrible diseases do I have?”

And I contribute to those. 

Who wants to be in the situation where it’s

“You can’t help me?”


“Why not?”

“Charitable contributions fell short.”

Next, you think,

“Which terrible diseases do the people who are near and dear to me have?”

And I contribute to those.

Partly because it’s the right thing to do.  And partly because you do not want to have loved ones read in your eyes

“He did nothing to help me.”

Last, involves the “Regret Calculation” which goes,

“Which charity can I ignore and feel the least amount of regret when I do so?”

Which means nothing for “Psoriasis.”  Although, judging from television, this a bigger problem than I imagined.

Speaking of television, ardent solicitations for help invade mindless entertainment on a regular basis.

Sad dogs.

Sick children.

Sick children from Africa. 

We respond to mailed requests for money.  The ones on TV, I would have to say, never.

I sit before my TV, body tensed on “Precautionary Alert.”  The moment I see a big-eyed dog with snow on its lashes…

I’m gone.

“Have you no heart, Earlo?”

I know how that sounds.  It’s a worthy cause.

But all these causes are worthy.

There are no “Help the Wealthy” requests.

“We need eight hundred dollars to get to a billion.  Please help us ‘over the top’.”

We do not get those.  Though I imagine they would come in beautiful envelopes.

No excuses – because there are no excuses – but maybe if they weren’t so painfully manipulative, trying to make me feel guilty.

Fundraisers must think that these heart-wringing appeals make us reach for our checkbooks.  I can’t believe I am alone in my coldhearted reaction.

I grab the remote.

1 comment:

JED said...

Earl said, "There are no 'Help the Wealthy' requests."

Yes there are. How many rich people are running for office and still request help to beat the other rich people? And while we are not solicited to help the fossil fuel companies directly, we're asked, through taxes, to subsidize those companies. According to the Environmental and Energy Studies Institute, "Conservative estimates put U.S. direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industry at roughly $20 billion per year; with 20 percent currently allocated to coal and 80 percent to natural gas and crude oil." Yet some people are fussing about subsidizing clean energy. Sorry, that's off topic.

Our church had a reverse offering just before Christmas. Instead of collecting money during the service, $10, $20 and $50 bills were passed out to everyone. We were free to do what we wanted with it but were asked to write a note about what we did and bring it into the church later. Wonderful things happened but I was stumped. I couldn't decide what to do. Then Pete Frates died who, with his family's help, started the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise funds for research into finding the causes and possible treatments for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease). My cousin had also died of that disease and I had done nothing. It moved me to double the money I got that Sunday and donate it to that cause. It also opened my eyes to helping more in that area.

You're right, Earl. We can't cover them all but we can do more than we're doing now. We need less research into creating the softest toilet paper and which national treasure to ruin to find yet more oil and more research into things that we could have solved decades ago if we hadn't allowed ourselves to be distracted by Psoriasis and Bad Breath cures.