Hey Santa, Got Change For A Dollar?

Too many times I’m in line at the supermarket (they still call it that?) shoulder tapping a case of Bud Dry and listening to the ding of the cash register, wondering which mixed tape I’m going to jam on my new auto-reverse walkman. Too many times.

On the checkout counter there is a box with Jerry Lewis’s face on it giving a look of comic yet perpetual guilt asking me to give money for MS research. Or the March of Dimes. Or a Christian adoption agency or some other charity that props up a cute but unfortunate child to beg for my spare change saying that it only takes a little to make a lot of difference.

Winter seasons are rife with doorways where a bell-ringing santa is waiting for a little cash donation. Let’s not forget that religious organizations (Army of Salvation) are exempt from filing with the Internal Revenue Service. That means my quarter goes into the little metal thing and is quite possibly GONE FOREVER, and whether it makes it into the grubby hands of a hungry homeless child or becomes another drop in the bucket for some leathery rich guy and his thousand-dollar prostitutes, I’ll never know.

I used to give to charities. No more. CEOs for the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association make a combined 130 million dollars a year. That’s making Ma and Pa Lunchbox all over the country run 5K’s until the end of natural time. Makes me want to smoke cigarettes because at least Big Tobacco practically advertises that your pants may be plundered with every box. The former president of UNICEF received over $400,000 a year and I went “Trick or Treating” for UNICEF and ran laps for that sonuvabitch. This guy probably has 3 houses paid for with 3 different denominations and I struggle with my looming mortgage while children starve across the globe. Oh, I’m sure some of the kids get fed but what about the droves of fly-eyed little ones or even the gap-toothed hungry mouths in America? Don’t they deserve something more than just a “My pay is merely a fraction of the cost of operations,” or “What’s money when giving life?” Oh no, you pious holiday bastards, if you say you’re helping children then, by god, you’d better do just that. He knows when you’re good or bad so you better be good.

They have these young ladies in Saigon that walk around and sell chewing gum to pedestrians and tourists. They also carry a baby in one arm and push the sleeping toddler into my face as if to evoke some charitable response. Little do they know that by posing as a callous jerk who thinks that anyone with two legs, two hands and a complete sentence can do something besides beg, I’m actually wishing that there was a better way for the less fortunate. Hear that, Jerry?

I have this discussion with a few people in my life and I always seem to lose. I’m told that most people who adamantly refuse donating to others will lead unhappy and stressful lives. I say they may be right. Moving on to the point:

If you’re going to give, give your time. It’s something no one can take and blow at The Bellagio or use to bankroll ski trips to Aspen with mistresses. That’s what I do. The “give your time,” part. Because you never know what your dollar may change but when you’re physically helping, you know that’s for real and that it makes a difference. It then lets us concentrate on what Christmas is really all about.

4 responses to “Hey Santa, Got Change For A Dollar?

  1. That’s a good point. I gave a neighborhood canvaser from the ACLU a 20 dollar bill the other day and watched him slip the money into his pocket. The corners of his mouth twitched into a half-smile and at that moment he knew that I knew the money wouldn’t be given to the ACLU. That is just a small example, and I feel more comfortable giving money to that underpaid kid than buying a twenty dollar pair of pants at Goodwill. Those guys are the worse; they make all that money and exploit their workers by advertising the fact that they will occasionally hire a retarded person. And their stores smell funny.

  2. I had a friend who worked at Goodwill and told me horror stories about how they treat their handicapped employees. I forgot all about that, hmm, next time. And there definitely is a distinct “goodwill odor” that sets it apart from other thrift stores, it’s probably a fume they use to control the help. Or the customers. Thank you for your ponderings, good sir.

  3. If you pay 20 bucks for pants at goodwill then you haven’t been shopping at goodwill.

    I hear flouride is used to pasivate the general population by putting it in the drinking water. Maybe those goodwill guys use something stronger in aerosol form?

    Just to point out something here, you will find crooks when it comes to making money in every aspect and level. From panhandlers to CEO of billion dollar corporations. You just have to look and you will see. It just bothers us more when we get swindled by someone we think of as lower class. People start thinking they should make a law against panhandling cause they feel screwed by someone they thought was dirt.

  4. I like your point of being screwed by someone we think is lower class. Not only is our pocket emptied but our pride and sense of class is subject to violation, too. I don’t know what that says about our character. All I know is getting ripped off sucks no matter who it’s by.

    Thanks for reading, Mr. Angel

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