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Stand Up or Shut Up

November 5, 2016

There’s nothing I can write that hasn’t been written already, no word that hasn’t been said, no image that can’t be pulled up in an instant on Google.
I can’t change a Trump supporters mind any more than they can change mine, and that’s fine.
You undecided or unsure folks, you’re my problem.
You seem to recall some fictional era where we had excellent candidates with spotless records whose platform perfectly matched your sensibilities.  You seem to think we should have an endless buffet of options, when you know in the end it’s just going to come down to burgers or pizza.  But you’re wrong, you get two choices.  Is it fair?  No, but if you’ll remember back to kindergarten, when your classmate robbed you of your favorite toy for the first time, life is not fair.  And there will never be a perfect candidate for everyone, it’s statistically impossible. It will always be a choice between the lesser of two evils, because we all see evil in a different way.
My best advice is this:  pick three topics that are important to you.  For me it’s affordable and accessible healthcare, equal rights, and affordable college.  Then, go lookup where the candidates stand on those issues.  If every issue is supported by one candidate, there you go: that’s your vote.  Obviously, I am team Hillary.  If you don’t get a complete match, then pick the best two out of three and vote for them.  The point is, you need to vote.  It is your right and your duty as an American, and the most important thing you can do to affect change in your country.
Now, you may think that a 3rd party candidate aligns with your values.  Go ahead and vote for them.  Know that they will not win.   Also know that if you really hate who does win, then that is partly your fault.
Want to write in a candidate? Do it!  Again, it makes no fucking difference except to show how disgusted Americans are by the process, which everyone already knows so why are you wasting your vote on this?  But I digress.  Go vote for your dog, or whatever.
Now, my Bernie brethren:  If you write that man’s name on your ballot you obviously are not paying attention.  If you’ve learned enough about how this county works to be this die-hard for a politician, then you know already that your vote is needed in another camp, and that the man himself has asked you join him there.  If not, then you’re just trying to be contrary, and this is no time for temper tantrums.  Go vote blue.
Lastly, the Trumpets.  (I don’t know if anyone has been calling them that, but I don’t see why we’re not, honestly.)  You know, those folks that are all about the Donald and think Clinton is the devil incarnate, and will loudly let you know about it even though you never asked.  It’s hard to encourage this particular group to hoof it to the polls, but I do believe that everyone should exercise their right to vote, even if I also cannot fathom why anyone who isn’t a wealthy, white, straight man would ever vote for this totally incapable human Cheeto.  I mean, I went hard against Bush Jr, but I would vote for that clueless bastard in a second if the choice was between him and Trump.  In a goddamn second.
I think of the people I know who are voting for Trump, and they’re all fine people.  Well, they’re mostly fine people.  And before the election, I assumed the best of them.  Now, I assume they’re closet racists and misogynists who don’t believe in science and want poor people to die.  These people whom I love choose to vote for a man that spews hatred and ignorance, and now that love is clouded by the fact that they see nothing wrong.  Even after the election is over, even if it all plays out the way I want, how will I look at these people the way I used to?
The answer is, I won’t.  I’ll forgive, but I won’t forget.
In short, Trumpets, I’m not going to try to understand why you’re doing it, but vote, if you must.  I suppose.
Just…everybody needs to vote, ok?  If for no other reason than if you don’t vote, you don’t get to have an opinion about the outcome.  Also, should the Apocalypse come down upon us, know that I will e using you’re indecisive ass as a human shield.

Here are some helpful links:
http://www.canivote.org
yourfuckingpollingplace.com
2016.candidate-comparison.org

And PS: Please vote for your legislature. In the end, the President can’t do anything without them anyways.
 

 

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Bile

July 13, 2016

There’s been a lot of rage lately, the kind that makes me want to spew bile from my fingertips, but I couldn’t because the bile was coming from elsewhere.  I had no idea who Alton Sterling was, because as he was being shot to death I was in the back of an ambulance vomiting blood for the second time in 24 hours.  I heard the name Philandro Castile sometime the next day, as a nurse momentarily roused me to check my vitals.  The news story became a faded background track to my day, and nothing more.  When I heard about Dallas, I had just returned from the hospital, unaware the next visit was just two days away.  So you see, I had no time to rage.  And I won’t now.

I spent 8 of 10 days in the hospital, with three admittance.  I still can’t quite tell you what was wrong.  When I had my gallbladder out in April I thought it was the worst possible thing, but I was mistaken.  To feel well, then not, over and over again; it was horror.  Bodily fluids aside, I was in tachycardia twice, and had blood pressures so high that my mother (a lifelong nurse,) was terrified.  So in the brief moments of calm and clarity where I would be able to watch a few minutes of the news or skim though a facebook feed, I hoped to find stories and articles that lifted me out of the hell I was in.  But no.  All I saw was hate.  Often not even real hate, presumed hate.  Such as “If you think all lives matter you’re not focusing on the black ones,” and “If you think black lives matter you must not mean blue ones.”  Um, how about nobody likes getting killed, guys?  It’s a pretty universal survival instinct we’ve got going here.

I don’t care if you are black, white, yellow, green, or purple.

I don’t care if you’re a cop, military, corrections officer, or a friggin’ crossing guard.

You don’t deserve to die.  I don’t deserve to die.  Hell, none of us even deserves to almost die, like I did this weekend!  Stop dividing yourselves, notice when a particular neighbor is having a problem, and step the hell up!

Tomorrow, if I can get out of bed, I’m going to the beach.  It’s probably against all logic and doctors’ orders but damnit I am not wasting another day of my life worrying about some crap with no name.  I will not give into that fear, and I will not let that fear change me.

Your life is the most precious thing in the world to you.  This applies to EVERYONE, ergo EACH life is equally precious.  I mean, c’mon, they told us in Kindergarten not to kill things.  Knock it off and go to the beach.

beach

 

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The Circus is Coming to Town

June 25, 2016

Every four years, there comes an event that brings excitement to my bones.  Not leap day, which throws off my whole sense of time, or either Olympics, which is essentially just sports, and therefore of absolutely no interest to me.  It is Election year, and consequently, Election Day.  It is my favorite of all the holidays.  I look forward to it with gleeful anticipation, ever since I was 17 and disappointed my birthday fell short of the election.  I was raised in a Democratic household, but at the time had no real understanding of party lines.  I had just learned how elections worked, and wrote an article on the Electoral College for the school newspaper.  That article was my first real moment of understanding that maybe, just maybe, this might be bullshit.  Then the election came and the popular vote did not resonate with the Electoral College result, and we ended up letting the village idiot run things for a while.  That election got me invested in the electoral process, and politics in general.  It became an interest and a hobby of mine to keep abreast of what was going on in the nation.

As soon as I turned 18, I registered to vote, and urged all my friends who hadn’t to do so.  And guess what?  It was super hard.  First of all, your average 18 year old can’t see life past next Tuesday.  Secondly, they still feel like the adults are in control, and will take care of them.  One night, while sitting in a friend’s garage, I went on my usual spiel about registering, and it sparked a political discussion amongst the group.  I listened to these people who had told me they didn’t want to vote and I realized something:  I didn’t want them to vote.  They had no business voting.  They barely knew what they were talking about.  In this particular situation, I happened to be the most educated person in the room, but I was wholly outnumbered by people who believed incorrect information.  They’d all heard such-and-such from so-and-so, so obviously I must be wrong.  It reminded me of a social studies class from childhood, where we were learning about the Holocaust.  We were taught that the Nazis had made a bunch of films and such for propaganda, and we were told that other countries controlled their radios and televisions so that the people in them only heard what the government told them.  Then we were told that we didn’t do that here in the goof old US of A.  I looked around the room at people arguing and quoting bogus news stories and thought maybe, just maybe…this is bullshit.

I celebrated my first presidential election at my best friend Jaime’s house, armed with a map of the United States and my red and blue crayons.  As each state was called I would color it in appropriately, and then do the electoral math.  I was disappointed that night, as Cokey McOilmoney won again, and I kept my map as a sad reminder of what could have been.

The next time around, I felt a renewed sense of hope, now that Bush was on his way out of office.  It looked like Hillary was a possibility, which I was totally for.  And yes, it was because she was a woman.  Like 95% why, I won’t lie.  See, I could not understand why we hadn’t had a woman president.  I mean I still can’t.  I was literally in my 20’s before I recognized sexism.  No one had ever told me I was different from a man in any respect except anatomy, and I was absolutely furious to discover otherwise.  I loved Hillary, and I was prepared to vote for her…and then this Obama guy came up out of nowhere and that was that.

This one left me scratching my head, though.  I liked John McCain.  I didn’t agree with his every policy, but I thought he was a respectable candidate with some good thoughts.  I would call myself a party Democrat, but there were some Republican values I identified with.  However, John McCain made a huge, huge mistake, and her name was Sarah Palin.

Yes, I want a woman in the White House, but you have got to be fucking kidding me.

I pretty much knew I would vote Obama anyways, but now there was fire.  She was an idiot.  She had no idea how to do the job or what was going on in the world.  The Republican Party was obviously losing its marbles.  This brought on another realization, one that reminded me how stupid I myself was 8 years earlier at that party:  the adults ARE in control, and they WILL NOT take care of us.  And yes…no maybes…this is bullshit.

But out of that bullshit came President Barack Obama, easily my favorite yet.  A lot of people argue me on that, but I’m proud to say that every argument either ends with an “oh my god, you’re right, I was mistaken,” or the other person storming off because fact-supported truth is scary.  No president is perfect, but neither are you so stop acting like it.  And if you were, then you would be aware of how the government actually works, and maybe understand the role of Congress in this whole charade.  But I digress…

To me, Mitt Romney was no threat.  You can’t go out there and say you’re going to screw over women and win an election.  That’s half your voters.  You can’t do it.  Also, people get freaked out by any religion that hasn’t had its 200th birthday yet, and gets a bad rap from its fundamentalists.    I mean, plates in a hat ain’t nothing compared to talking snakes and magic apples, but people love the classics.  I was not at all surprised as I colored in my blue states on the map, and practiced the only math I enjoy, watching Obama’s numbers grow before me.  I smiled at Tom Brokaw, feeling hopeful about the democratic system, and where our country was headed.

It was spring of 2015 when Hillary announced, and I immediately sent for a bumper sticker.  However, by the time I received it…there was Bernie.  I was conflicted in a way I did not expect.  Here was this old white man, the exact opposite of what I was looking for, and he was talking about things that mattered to me.  Things that would have mattered to that garage full of 19 year olds.  Things that would have riled us up and gotten out the vote and improved our lives.  Bernie was a whole new kind of politics, the kind that could affect real change.  So naturally, he was slammed as a crazy old man and the media pushed his campaign down in favor of big spender Hillary.  Which only further upset me, because money does not impress me, unless it’s being used to provide free college.

Which brings me to Donald Trump.

As said, I am a Democrat, but party politics does not even play into this.  If Donald Trump were running his campaign as a Democrat, spouting Democratic values, I would not want to vote for him.  He could get up there and legalize weed, ban assault rifles, give equal rights to everybody, and provide universal healthcare and I would still be on the fence.  Why?  Because he’s incompetent, guys.  Like, even worse than Bush, who had at least a basic understanding of world policy.  Also, he’s a psychopath.  I’m not calling names here…look up the criteria for a psychopath.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.

See?

And once again, AGAIN, I find myself in that garage, except now they’re not teenagers, they’re half the nation, and it’s not a garage, it’s an entire county.   And apparently, I am still the most educated person in the room.  So here’s a cheat sheet, just a couple facts to remember, since it seems a lot of people have forgotten these truths:

America is not a Christian nation.  This is why we have separation of church and state.  That means that the Muslim family has every right to be here as the Jewish family, as the Hindu family, as the Baptist family.

If you are not a Native American, you are born of immigrants, and have no right saying we need to close our borders to people in the same, if not worse, positions than our ancestors.

Your television is a liar, propaganda is real.  Go turn on any news channel right now, and see how long it takes to hear a REAL piece of news presented with absolutely no bias.  Again…I’ll wait.

Finally, Donald Trump only cares about Donald Trump.  So if you’re Donald Trump, you should probably vote for him.  If you’re not, but still feel like you have a reason to, feel free to contact me and tell me your reasons so I can explain why he will not live up to them.  (Note:  as always, my blog is not a democracy, so if you feel like commenting, great, but hateful racist asshats will be either mercilessly teased or deleted.)

I don’t know what instilled my love of government and politics…I assume a combination of my love of history, talent for righteous indignation, and a healthy dose of episodes of The West Wing.  This election, though, leaves me at a loss.  I cannot believe how ridiculous it’s become (on both sides,) like a bad reality show we can’t stop watching.  I know that come November I will be staring at my television with my map, likely accompanied by a bottle of Xanax as I will need to be immediately tranquilized in the event of a Trump presidency, lest my television be smashed in rage.  There remains a hope in me, however, that the world will remove its head from its collective ass and somehow manage to put this weirdo back where he belongs.

Except…I know how the Electoral College works.  So it’s not that easy.  My friends that are voting for Trump and reside in New York?  Probably doesn’t matter.  New York typically goes blue.

Those who would vote for Hillary in West Virginia?  Same problem, different color.

Because it’s bullshit.  And it’s bullshit that affects all of our lives whether we recognize it or not, so what are you going to do about it?  When are we going to stop believing bullshit?  When are we going to learn to compromise for the betterment of our people?

My Christmas is coming soon, and as I am about to move into a nice new apartment, I’m thinking of having a real Election Night party.  I’d like to get a whiteboard map with erasable markers, and serve patriotically themed food and drink.  Other people don’t understand my fondness for the political system, particularly in spite of all the holes I have discovered over the years.  Still, every four years, I look for hope in the hopeless, and pray for a better tomorrow, a time when it’s not just me who can see through all the bullshit, but everybody.

Your political affiliation is meaningless.  Your humanity is not.

 

TOBY

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Dear America

June 15, 2016

Dear America,

I would ask how you’ve been, but I have a television set and a smartphone, so I’m aware. It must be a hard time for you, what with so many of your people divided. This is nothing new, of course, as people have been dividing themselves for ages. Indian vs. pilgrim, north vs. south, black vs. white…division is sadly in your fabric, much like your state lines. Remember the good old days, when we all united to fight the British, and claim this land as our own? Though, even then, those lines divided. Who fought in that war? Slaves forced to battle. And whose country was this to claim in victory? Not us European defectors; we weren’t here first. Still, in this move-your-feet-lose-your-seat country of ours, there is always a possibility that things could change on a dime, like the day the Constitution was signed, or the day the towers fell. We roll on with the punches though, don’t we, because we are the land of the free and the home of the brave, and we will take no shit.

We are a country founded on religious freedom, mostly by Christians who knew how important it was not to persecute someone for their beliefs, as they had been persecuted in England. We were defended by men who bore arms: muskets and rifles to protect their home and provide their supper. We accepted all peoples…Asian, African, Latino, and plenty more Europeans, and we were all FREE.
Oh, America, where did it all go wrong?
When did we get so ugly? Our Christians are less Christ-like, our weapons are putting innocent people in peril, and we’re closing our doors. We’re stripping our freedoms, so like animals in cages, like inmates of the world’s largest prison, we are getting angry. We are rattling the bars, America. Of course I hate my neighbor; my neighbor hates me.

We fight like children. We tell people with brown skin that they should leave our country, despite having stolen it from people with brown skin. We mourn the loss of thousands from gun violence, and then make excuses why we need our Sig Sauer MCX for target practice. We use thousand year old stories to make our laws, despite the fact that humanity has long outgrown them. We are 14th in education, but act like we know everything. Half the time, we flat our ignore science, but we’re all about the technology. Even those of us who don’t identify with this profile have no real answers; you can’t make everyone happy. There will always be someone willing to fight you about something. There will always be someone stupider, someone angrier, someone more naïve.
Maybe if we all just thought about what’s really bothering us.
Why are we afraid of tougher screening on guns? Do we think we won’t pass the test?
Why do we care what other people are doing in their bedrooms? Are we jealous?
Why are people of another color so easy to blame? Are we afraid to blame ourselves?
Why do we claim we are losing our freedoms, but have no qualms about stealing it from others?

Oh, America…how do you live with us? You are beautiful and unique. You are our home, and you have provided for us for over half a century. We are terrible, and ruining your good name. We are also far too stubborn to admit it. So please, I beg you to bear with us through these troublesome times. In our heart of hearts, we know that none of it matters. We know that the teenage girl getting the abortion has no bearing on the life of the old man with the picket sign across the street. We know that it doesn’t matter if you call the big guy upstairs Allah or Elohim, because on judgement day we’re going to meet who we’re expecting. We know that seeing a couple of guys kiss isn’t going to make us gay if we weren’t already. We just really hate admitting when we’re wrong. Our pride is our downfall.

Maybe someday we’ll get so sick of hating one another, we’ll try loving one another instead. Something new, for a change. Perhaps we can finally do right by you, and be the shining beacon of hope that we once were. Forgive us, America, and bear with us, until we can finally erase all these lines that divide us.

Sincerely,
A Nation Divided

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Feed me, Seymour: Why Ignorance Hurts the Needy.

April 2, 2016

I haven’t written here in a while, mainly because I’ve been trying this zen thing where I don’t let myself get too worked up about the world, but given the way 2016 has gone so far, I can’t guarantee that I will be able to keep it up much longer.

Yesterday, this happened:  More than 500000 will lose SNAP benefits in 2016

To me, it was a final straw.

See, I can take the daily facebook memes friends of mine post that refer to people receiving public benefits as scumbags, losers, and scammers.  I can take the total ridiculousness of this Trump revolution that is essentially reinforcing the assumption that anyone receving assistance is unworthy of it.  I can take the public ignorance, and I can ignore it even when my own friends and family make absurd statements that they would never make if they knew that I RECEIVE PUBLIC ASSISTANCE.

I receive food stamps, and Medicaid, and have received temporary assistance before.  So you see, when people, random and known, make these assumptions, I forgive them, because I know they are assumptions.  I know that these people have never been in my situation.

They have never had to spend the whole day at HEAP only to be told they only way you can get help is to come back tomorrow, with all members of your household.  Meaning, the one employed person has to take off work and LOSE MONEY so that we can receive help.

They do not know what it’s like to sit through a 45 minute assistance interview in which you are essentially called a liar, because the whole system is such a mess that everyone assumes if you apply for help, you must be scamming them.  I have had a major panic attack during one of these, and was treated as though it was an act.  That is the mentality of the people who work for welfare.

They don’t know that the amount of assistance one single person gets is equal to roughly 150$ a week, and that you are expected to pay all rent, bills, food, etc. with it.  They don’t know that you don’t receive rental assistance unless your rent is under 300 bucks a month.  If you are adult living in Buffalo, you know that that apartment does not exist.

They don’t know that no one on food stamps can fucking afford steak and lobster.  Do you know what my food stamps buy?  Mac and cheese and tuna fish.  Milk, eggs, and bread.  From Aldis.

When they bitch about people receiving Medicaid, they don’t know that I have more than one disease that will absolutely KILL ME if left untreated.  They don’t know that I had to work less hours simply because I couldn’t afford health insurance, and that prior to Obamacare, me working was a literal death sentence as I could not receive Medicaid, nor afford private insurance.

And the worst of it?  The one really bullshit thing that I have to deal with everyday?  Social Security Insurance.  I have been trying to get SSI for over a year.  I was told last spring that I would receive a call about my case in March, 2016.  Well, that’s come and gone folks, and I still can’t work, I still can’t pay my bills, and I still have to put up with ignorant people who assume anyone who isn’t working is just taking up space.

I don’t work a 9-5 job because I am not capable of it.  If work comes my way that I can do, I will gladly do it.  You see, this is a classic case of the grass being greener on the other side: people with jobs don’t like people without them because they don’t want to work every day and are jealous of those that don’t.  Let me assure you:  not the case.  We hate it.  You would hate it too, after a while.  We feel unproductive and unsure of our futures.  We live in day to day existences, where the rent is never on time and there’s never enough for extra groceries.  We live a life where having to buy someone a birthday gift means no gas next week.   We hope for the light at the tunnel, but then shit like the above happens and it just gets harder.

So here’s my point:  You know someone who receives assistance, and needs it.  Seriously, you do.  Me, should you know me, a friend, a family member, a coworker, the cashier at the grocery store.   It is the people who believe that everyone on assistance is scamming it that lead laws like this to come into existence.  I am begging you, pleading with you:  stop making assumptions.  Stop assuming everyone who needs help is a liar, because trust me, the government is already calling them such.  To their faces.  Seriously, this is not a joke.  The interview to get assistance is like a police interrogation.

(Side note:  Also, can we please stop thinking people just walk in and get free money?  First of all, in NY, we have a welfare to work program, which means that if you are physically able, you have to attend job class every day until you get a job.  You also have to provide tons and tons of paperwork, occasionally have a physical and mental health screening, sit through the “you’re a liar” meeting, and then wait 42 days until you see a dime.)

So I can take it when the general populace is ignorant of how it works.  I can take it when they post mildly offensive shit on facebook without thinking about the friends they have that might be receiving benefits.  I can handle this crap.

What I cannot handle is ignorance becoming law.  What I cannot understand is anyone, ANYONE thinking that another human being doesn’t deserve to eat.

Because that’s what this is saying.  They don’t deserve to eat.  And technically, until my SSI application is finally approved, I am one of those people.

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Just sayin’.

 

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“All your mountains turn to rocks. All your oceans turn to drops.”

September 16, 2014

When I was eight years old I wrote a story called “Milly and Tilly: Twin Detectives.” I don’t completely recall it but the gist was that the two girls were trying to spy on someone and they hid inside an ornate vase in their mother’s dining room. I cannot tell you where this idea came from. My mother had no ornate vases and the only twins I’d ever met were named Mary and Nicole. I do remember my mother being quite impressed by it, though. It was followed by a sequel, which I recall having something to do with peanut butter sandwiches.

I haven’t stopped writing since.

There have been gaps, of course, like the time I got nearly 100 pages into a novel about a futuristic war-torn America led by the religious right, and then Obama got elected and I lost my inspiration. Or the time I became so immersed in the daily grind that I forgot to write a poem for a year and a half.

But mostly, I’m either writing, reading, or thinking about writing and reading.

Currently I have finished eight plays, and have 4 in progress. I have 385 poems stored on my computer. I have kept 9 different blogs. I have finished 6 short stories, and have about 32 in progress, located on my computer under a folder marked “Failures.” This folder also contains 4 outlines and first chapters of failed novels. I have three that have made it past the second chapter, and one that is completely outlined and planned in my head, but of which I am saving for a rainy day far in the future. And then I have this little bugger…

I didn’t even mean to start anything new and now I’ve just begun chapter four. It is the second time I have made it this far on a novel, but the best part is that it is the first time I have known how it ends. This has always been tricky for me. I change endings constantly. I changed the end to Long December ELEVEN times and I still think I chose the wrong one. (Scratch that, I KNOW it.) It’s a pretty good bet that I won’t know how a thing will end until it comes flowing out of my fingertips, which works well for poetry, and even playwriting, but not so much for a novel. This one, though…this one is different. It feels different. If feels like it could be finished, like maybe I could even LIKE it, which would really be saying something since I’m my harshest critic. (Not even trying to be modest, I really do believe everything I write is crap.)
For some reason, I feel like I’m back in school, with a term paper deadline. Though I’ve given myself no deadline, I am trying to write everyday, and am shooting for at least 1000 words. (My real goal is 2000, because that’s what the venerable Mr. King writes on the daily, but I think I need to exercise the muscle a little before I get too lofty.) I haven’t gotten discouraged once so far, and that is delightful.

All I ever wanted to do was write a book.
I’ve been trying since I was eight.
Maybe this will be the one.

Frankie Tried to Fly

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Just put the bucket back.

August 27, 2014

I may get some flack for this, but here me out, folks.
And remember that this is my opinion.
People tend to forget blogs are opinions.

I hate the stupid ice bucket challenge. Do not confuse that with me hating charity, or people with ALS, because if that’s what you think, you’re as stupid as the ice bucket challenge.
Here is an activity where you basically challenge the people you know to film themselves being drenched with water so that they CAN AVOID A DONATION. I know some people have donated anyway, and kudos to you. My issue is with those that did not. My issue is with those who are supposedly “raising awareness.” Now, I believe in raising awareness, but I think we’ve accomplished that, folks. Every person living in America who owns an electronic device knows what ALS is, and it’s thanks to this challenge. And this is a very good thing, as ALS is a crippling, painful, and deadly disease that I would not wish on my worst enemy. It kills 7,000 people a year. Of course there should be research and advocacy.
But will dumping a bucket of water on my head really accomplish that?

Here is my fear: that we now live in a world where people do not give to charity unless there is some sort of fun activity to go along with it. Think of all the walks we have: breast cancer, AIDS, MS…we have galas and benefits and ice buckets and sharing what color bra we’re wearing on Facebook, but unless there’s some sort of upside for us, there’s not a lot of money changing hands or volunteering going on. And don’t think I’m all holier than thou, because I, too, suck at all that. I don’t donate on a whim unless it’s the Salvation Army bucket at Christmastime and even that I have issue with because of their stance on gays and lesbians. Also, I participate in at least one walk a year, the Out of Darkness Walk held by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which is a perfect example of doing an activity and giving other peoples money to charity.

Which brings me to my personal gripe with this whole thing.

See, while all my Facebook buddies were dumping water over their heads and maybe/maybe not donating to a disease that kills 7,000 people a year, I was trying to raise 300 bucks for something that kills nearly 40,000 people a year. By the law of averages, few, if any, of those who donated to ALS have personally known someone affected by ALS. Meanwhile, every single person on my friends list knows someone who has been affected by suicide. Maybe they don’t realize it, but they do. And even if they think that no one they’ve ever met has ever had a suicidal thought in their brain, they would be wrong. Because I know everyone on my friends list, and they know me.

Now, I’m all for giving. I don’t care for what. If you’ve got something to share, do it. I wish I could. The best I can do right now is things like taking a walk around the park in remembrance of those gone and those who’ve survived. The best I can do is try to raise a little money for a cause I am very close to, which has affected my life in a multitude of ways. If you want to donate your time or money to cancer, or heart disease, or ALS, do it! Just don’t think that dumping ice water on your head makes up for not actually doing anything. Awareness is all well and good, but it doesn’t change anything. I am aware that there are children starving in Africa. I am aware that heart disease is one of the leading killers in the US. But if I’m not working for it or donating to it, I’m not doing anything about it.
And I’m not.
Seriously, I’m not a fucking saint, and chances are neither are you.

But I’m not going to dump ice water on my head because someone threatened me with a 100$ fine. I’d much rather write the check, except I have exactly $2.19 in my bank account. And if I could write a big fat one to Out of Darkness, I surely would. I’m also open to volunteering. I would be donating, were it in my means to do so. I would donate to several charities, in fact, and someday when I win the lottery I hope to make good on that.
But the day anybody asks me to drench myself for no reason, I’m out.

icebucket

PS:
If you don’t hate me after this rant, please consider donating to my walk: Clickety-Click