"I Dream of Genie"
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8 December 2005
I used to feel really good about donating to causes which I thought were worthy. I learned about helping people less fortunate than ourselves in grammar school, bringing in dimes to buy "pagan baby stamps," filling a book and then getting to name our pagan babies, while sending the money collected off to the missionaries.As I got older, it was one cause after another--helping poor kids in other countries, families in Appalachia, animal rights organizations, AIDS research and assistance groups, etc. Recently I joined Women for Women, where women in the States are paired with women in great need in other countries. I wrote about that last month. I immediately wrote to Mirsada, my new friend in Bosnia. There hasn't been enough time for my letter to be translated, but I've already had two appeals from Women for Women for additional funds in this season of giving. Koko the Gorilla is worried about me because she hasn't heard from me (because I ran out of money). The elephants at the Sanctuary in Tennessee are receiving nine elephants they have been negotiating to give a good home to and they need my immediate contribution. Every AIDS organization in the country wants my money. They saw a sucker coming here, I guess. I even had a request for money from some AIDS organization somewhere on the east coast--Connecticut or someplace. We just got an e-mail from Charlie McCormack from Save the Children who sent a picture of a little waif and urges us to either adopt another child or send them money. The Fistula foundation thanks me for the contribution I made earlier this year, but can't I please send more in this season of giving?
PBS calls us every year, though we always renew by mail, asking us to renew by phone. The next day the mail arrives with the renewal materials.
It just gets to a point where you want to throw up your hands and lock your mail box and scream GO AWAY AND LEAVE ME ALONE!!! YOU'VE BLED ME DRY!!! I HAVE NO MORE TO GIVE YOU!!! The feeling, I think, comes mostly out of guilt that I can't donate to every worthy cause--but also to really feeling hounded by some of the groups.
Our worst experience was with the Special Olympics. One of the kids' good friends has Downs Syndrome and we began supporting the Special Olympics.Only they started contacting us literally every week asking for more money. I finally asked them to please stop calling all the time and just put us on a "call once a year" or even twice a year list. In addition to weekly calls, we would also get soliticiations by mail. I started getting very angry. I called them. I politely explained that they were hounding me and could they please stop bombarding me with requests for money. The calls did not stop. The mail requests did not stop and I finally got angry with some poor telephone solicitor, yelled at her and told her never ever to call me again. I would love to support Special Olympics, but I don't dare send them a dime for fear of starting the harassment again. I really want to be a good guy and support all these good causes, but there just reaches a point where the deluge has to stop. I wonder how many people, like me, have stopped donating to a cause they believe in simply because the organization hounds them to death for money.
In addition to the request for more money from Women for Women, I also received a parking ticket in the mail. Now THAT was a huge surprise. It was November 28th and it was pouring rain. Walt had taken the bus to work and was coming home. He changes buses on the UC Davis campus and his bus was late, so he missed the bus and was going to have to stand there for 30 minutes. I said I'd come to pick him up. So I drove through the rain, pulled up at the deserted shelter, he got in the car and we drove off. I have now been cited for "parking" in a prohibited area and the officer's comment is that it was posted as no passenger loading or unloading. Well, may the fleas of 1,000 camels infest your Santa suit, Officer Tidd. Pouring rain. Not a soul around. No sign of a bus anywhere. 30 seconds. They want to charge me $1 a second for my misdemeanor ($30 ticket).
I have, of course, Written A Letter.But knowing what trying to fight City Hall is like, I am not optimistic about having the citation overturned. But how can I not Write A Letter. So I'm feeling like the Grinch at the moment. It's only the first week in December and I'm already sick of the deluge of requests for money from charitable organizations. The University wants my money for being a good guy and saving my husband from standing in the rain.
And to top it off, the
morning began with Latte chewing through the power cord that connects the DSL box. I
was on my way to San Francisco, so have been without internet connection since morning.
It was not a pretty sight.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Pigeon I "shot" in Old Sacramento..