Thursday, November 5, 2009


While many people believe charities are organizations dedicated to the betterment of mankind (or dogkind, or hedgehogkind), this is only part of the truth. In what many have suspected but few have dared say, charities exist to spread guilt around the globe.

As children around the world grew up, and mothers lost offspring to meddle with via guilt trips1, they found a new vehicle for their guilt spreading in charitable organizations. While the goals of said organizations are certainly laudable, it's common knowledge by now that solving poverty is as impossible as creating a black hole underneath Switzerland2. Therefore, they decided to widen their scope into guilting. The world will feel the pangs of remorse!

When I walk by people asking for money for charities, I know those dudes aren't chumps. They're not out there pandering for their cause. They got up, put on their Wednesday best, stumbled through crowded chilly streets, just to be able to look at me as I walk out of the store, and stare me down for not donating my change for sick children3. There's no self righteousness like the self righteousness of the dude yelling at passersby "BUT IT'S FOR SICK CHILDREN"4.

This I can deal with. After years of inflating5 the amount I practiced piano, I've developed a thick candy shell around my heart, impervious to the guilt trips of strangers. What's much worse is when you get a personal invite from an acquaintance to donate to a good cause.

A dude at work sent around an email this morning, saying he was growing out his beard for the month of November, and was looking for sponsors6 for his chosen cause, liver cancer research, as his grandfather was just, ahem, diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.

Even knowing his granddad's days were numbered, my cynical sel laughed at his innocence, as he thought he would get me, ME, the PARAGON of guilt-avoidance rationalization, to part with a single pound just by a mass email solicitation. Imagine my shock when he started coming around the office, asking for donations.

I don't think I'm comfortable relating the entire interaction, but here's a taste:

Him: (smiling, chuckling awkwardly) Hey, do you have any English money?
Me: (please oh please oh please oh please let that piece of paper not be a signup sheet to donate) Ha ha!
Him: (mumbles something)
Me: (mumbling) I'll, ummm, stop by later. (looks at the ground)

I think it's safe to say that was the most awkward moment I have experienced since bowling in excessively tight and, I might add, very poorly stitched jeans7.

However, note how I promised a nebulous future donation. This is the mark of a master guilt avoider. If you're ever trapped up against that wall o' shame, slip in a promise like, "I'll stop by later", which doesn't really offer any specifics, any timeframe, or any chance of a donation8.

And mom, I'm sorry about the practicing bit.

1. I'm preemptively feeling guilt over writing that, based on her future phone call this week. It's a joke mom!
2. Though I, like all males, believe smashing atoms is worthwhile, it's not clear to me what finding the Higgs Boson will do for me, personally. And that's really what life is all about. Me.
3. It's sort of hard to claim not having money when walking away with a pair of Skechers. But, um, these Skechers are necessary so I can eat...or get food...or something?
4. I'm not joking. I don't know what it is about the UK, but I honestly pass people who harass me for donations.
5. So, inflating is possibly an inflation in itself. It's a sad day when you need to lie in your confession about your lying.
6. I am so not kidding about the sponsorship request for beard growing. And they apparently call this Movember? As he states in the email: Movember is an event whereby the person taking part agrees to not shave/grow a beard/moustache throughout November.
7. If you insist on making such a gaffe, might I suggest not wearing white underwear in a bowling alley lit by black lights? There's nothing quite like a glowing gash south of your navel.
8. I am, of course, joking. Please donate to charitable causes, especially the charitable causes that don't encourage their money seekers to pester me. And co-worker, should you ever read this, I promise, I'll think about stopping by.


Jerkolas said...

Movember is basically the only Men's Health awareness event I know of. And anything to promote the growing of moustaches is A-OK with me. It just happens to coincide with No Shave November. I am growing my beard out, but I am doing it totally for me and my hate of shaving. No donations required.

jeremiah said...

Megan wants me to not shave in November as well, but only because mom is coming out and we think it would be a good joke.

Does mom read your blog anyway? Oh hey there mom, just talking you up to the fans. I'm shaving away oh so diligently, just like always.

chris said...

ummm, well, she keeps threatening to start reading it. given my latest confessions, I may not provide her with the address for some time.