I made light of his recent travails on this blog about five weeks ago, but I am a Robin Williams fan. Yet while reading of the outpouring of grief, it occurs to me what a shame it is that there are not more comedians in Iraq. Or Afghanistan. Or the Ukraine. Or Burma (Myanmar). Or…
Within several minutes of each other recently, I saw an odd pair of TV commercials. The first one was one of those “Look at these poor starving children; for 50 cents a day…” ones. The second one followed the same format but the subjects of our heartstrings were animals. And this one set the price at 60 cents a day.
I’m an animal liker and all, but two thoughts occurred to me:
1) How does it cost more to care for an animal in America than a human in the Third World?
2) Why don’t we send the animals to these starving people? I had a cat that lived to be about 17 years and obviously had affection for him. But I sure as hell would have eaten him if I had to.
Obamas want daughters to get taste of life on minimum wage
By Roberta Rampton; Reuters; June 20, 2014
While not as bad as many may think, staying at a mission is surely no picnic. It is not just less than ideal, but it has dissuaded me from pursuing any social work or homeless-oriented charitable endeavors in the future. I could see myself going to some disaster area to provide relief, but if/when I get back on my feet, I want minimal encounters with this type of people, e. g., me.
At the mission where I stay, we have an approximately hour-long chapel service virtually every night. I am not a Christian, but I obviously respect people of faith and seek dialogue with them. As a good Unitarian Universalist, I focus on our common ground. But it still takes me out of my comfort zone to hear, night after night, that I’m going to hell for believing the wrong thing. “Thanks for the reminder, Preacher. I’ll tell Gandhi and the Dali Lamas you said “Hey” when I get there.”
If you can get past the annoyance factor, some of the guys’ enthusiastic responses to the message can be quite entertaining. A number of the guys that clap, yell “Amen” and “Yeah,” and evince enthusiasm in general are doing so for show. How else to explain their behavior and words apart from that 1/24th of the day?
“Anyone wanna’ buy a loose [cigarette]/pair of socks/soda…?” (Some try to sell stuff they were charitably given.) “Yo faggot, call me a bitch one more time and I’ll knock you the fuck out! Fucking nigger! I don’t give a fuck!”
“Soon as I get my check I’m gettin’ me a whore and a room.”
If I get along with the people making these utterances, I may try to point out their inconsistency and hypocrisy. But, in most cases, what’s the point?
In the highly unlikely event that I don’t become rich from writing and stand-up comedy, I also see money-making potential in these zealous mission denizens. I can envision creating an employment agency that would harness their ebullience. They would become, not life coaches, but life cheerleaders.
Imagine a businessman having to give a sales pitch. In the background, one of these excitable boys could be yelling, “Yeah! You ‘da man! Sell, brother man, sell!”
Constipated? Would it help if one of these guys were exhorting you to “Show that shit who’s boss, main man! In the name of Jesus, I command thine turd to depart from this man’s sphincter!”?
This might overstep some boundaries, but I could see this customer being exhorted as he makes love to a woman. “Go, man, go! Yeah! Tear it up! God is good! All the time!”
The client wouldn’t need to worry if he fronts the employee some pay or ends up in a fight. They will always get his back. “I gotch you” could be our company’s slogan.
Depending on what you’re doing, God may not necessarily be on your side. Our life cheerleaders would be.
I can understand going apeshit over saving money on toys like the Xbox,
These people are lucky they don’t have to worry about the horrors of obesity.
And thank Jesus I can shop at
And I love that I can buy these products:
About three and a half years ago, a friend mentioned a group called “Food Not Bombs.” I had never heard of the national group and have only seen their presence or a flier by them twice in the time since. Their main objective is feeding the poor, but I don’t know if they have broader objectives.
The name still strikes me as odd, as if there were some cabal to blow up the poor and homeless. (I’m sure some people would sign on to that idea, but there’s always a believer in whatever cause one could conceive of.) To me, the false dilemma is akin to saying, “Save the whales; don’t shop at Wal-Mart,” or founding a group called “Veganism Not Tattoos.”