Ugh, Dane Cook . . .
So earlier this week Gordon showed me this video:
How much I actually enjoy Dane Cook [I typically do not] aside, he really hits on something with this bit. People do get sad when they see these commercials, so they either change the channel as quickly as they can or they watch through the whole thing because “it’s the least they can do” before trying to bury the bad feelings in whatever regularly scheduled programming was taking a commercial break.
He makes the point that people don’t give because they’re being asked too nicely, which probably has some validity to it. I think two main points that people will give in their defence are: 1) I can’t afford it, and 2) it’s too much of a hassle, it’s too much effort.
Money Money Money [It’s A Rich Man’s World]
If you’re reading this right now it means you’re probably online, unless someone printed this out and gave it to you, and then you’d be seriously missing out on some context because last time I checked you cannot print YouTube videos. Having regular access to the internet typically puts you above a certain economic line.
I mean, I’m not saying you’re anything like Brad and Jane, here [man, I miss Happy Endings], but if you live in a first world country you’re already richer than most of the world. Chances are that you probably have something called “spending money.” That is to say, funds that can be used to buy anything from a movie ticket to a pack of gum, as opposed to solely food and water and basic living necessities.
So I’m going to cross “it’s too much” off of the list. As someone who once had the soul-crushing job of doing door-to-door fundraising I know of a simple way to put this: “Do you drink coffee?” If you buy coffee just on weekdays that’s $20 or so a month. As much as you think you do you do not need caffeine. That is money that could go to an impoverished child in a third world nation.
It’s Too Hard [inb4 “That’s What She Said”]
Look, I understand as much as anyone that sometimes life is difficult. Honestly there are times at work when this is all that I want to do:
We all want our lives to be easier, and [at least we tell ourselves this] to be free of complications. For some reason picking up a phone while we’re watching TV feels like scaling Mount Everest. Wouldn’t it be easier if we had someone to talk to in person, someone who could answer all of our questions without any effort on our own parts?
Living in the fairly large city of Toronto I have had my share of run-ins with street canvassers. They stand on opposite sides of the same street and they try to catch your attention and see if you’d be willing to donate to SickKids, or I am a Girl, or Red Cross. They have all the paperwork ready for you to sign, they know their stuff forward and backward. But hey, maybe you don’t have the time, maybe you’re in a hurry.
As I mentioned earlier, I once did door-to-door fundraising. I was let go after two weeks, but that does not negate the fact that I once held a job where I rang on people’s doorbells and asked them if they would like to sign up to make monthly donations to CAMH, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. I honestly don’t think it gets much easier than that. People will literally come to your door and ask you to give.
But then there’s yours truly-
Yeah, I’m Probably Going To Keep Using Memes To Make My Points
This is what I used to tell street canvassers, who I would always stop and talk to due to my having been [sort of] in their shoes, once upon a time. And yes, I now work full-time. I do have expenses [student loan payments, rent to my granddad], but they’re not much. In fact, I buy myself a comic book every single Friday after work, and that’s at least $17-18. I can afford it.
Thursday afternoon, as I was walking to the hospital to visit my granddad, I was stopped by a guy who was canvassing for World Vision. He rang off his spiel and he showed me this adorable little boy in India who needed my $1.25 a day. I found out how I would not only be saving a child’s life, but supporting a community as well. I could go to my grandfather’s hospital room and tell him that I did a heroic thing; this was an action I could [and should] brag about to others.
Man, this guy was persistent. He was amicable and in my face and he said all the right things. Eventually, since he could see that I was leaning towards outright refusing, he straight-up asked me why not.
All I could come up with is that I needed to do more research on charities to determine which one was most deserving of my money. I backed that up with my past assertion that I would one day become a monthly supporter of some foundation or another.
Ultimately the gif on the left is what happened, except that he was the black guy shaking his head and I was the one walking away. He actually told me that he honestly couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t give, and that was that.
I know what some of you might be saying: “It’s your money so it’s your prerogative,” and “If you don’t want to that’s all you should have to say.” Really, though, his question was a valid one, and one that can be answered in three words: I am selfish.
I didn’t want to spend the time writing down my financial information or talking to him any longer and I didn’t want to spend the money on this cherub-faced Indian child. What I wanted to do was spend my money on me, because I earned it. I chose not to help another person because I cared about myself more.
That’s the truth, and I like to think that that’s where most of us are coming from. I’m not proud of it, and I do plan on giving one day, but when? I had the opportunity and most of the information that I could have needed and I still didn’t. I guess I’m going to have to think about that for a while, and hopefully you do too.