Friday, December 14, 2012

If I Had A Dollar...

By JccKeith

If I had a dollar for every time I posted something on Facebook and it went without any comments, I might not be a millionaire but I’d have a few thousand in the bank.  Well, who am I kidding, the stores would have a few thousand more dollars in their banks.

If I had a dollar for every brilliant thing I’ve ever said on Facebook… I might have a nickel.  That may seem impossible but seriously, I’m not solving the world’s problems or reinventing the wheel or expounding on the merits of quantum mechanics.  It’s mostly a bunch of nonsense or random silliness.

That probably explains why so much of my posting goes uncommented upon.  But you see, that is misleading because one of these days I might make some marvelous discovery.  I will post it on Facebook and it will be largely ignored and mankind will suffer for lack of my wondrous insight. 

I hold the secret belief that somebody somewhere is taking notes.  They are keeping track of my every post, my every move as it were.  They are preparing to write my biography some day.  I try to liven up their lives with the occasional note about my eating habits.  “Thursday: Julie made Chicken Carbonara for dinner.  Julie said it was delicious.”

In all seriousness, that’s ridiculous, no one particularly cares about my life or what I eat for dinner.  The only one who cares is my dog as she sits at my feet hoping I might accidentally drop some on the floor.  My cat is usually sleeping and too busy doing so to care.

In addition to their lack of concern for my dietary preferences, most people couldn’t care less about my Facebook account.  Even the executives of the stores I frequent don’t care about the measly few thousand dollars I spend on food and clothing every year.  I am one of billions of customers.

Where my lifestyle choices and my behaviors do matter are to people a lot closer to home.  I am not talking about my friends and family either.  They have their own Facebook posts and daily dramas to worry about.  

No, the people I am talking about are the less fortunate people I don’t know.  The homeless guy that sits on the exit ramp begging for change from exiting cars, the families without food, the kids without coats and gloves, the women and children at the Center for Women and Families fleeing abuse, and every other person down on their luck in my community are those to whom I am referring.

It is true that ‘Need Knows No Season.’  There are always people in need but during this season is when most people suddenly pay attention.  Almost every store has a person standing in front with a red kettle labeled Salvation Army.  They stand there day after day ringing that bell to get you to notice.  Grocery stores have boxes near the check-out filled with pre-prepared bags of food you can buy for a needy family.  They also have gift cards that will be given to needy families.  Schools run food drives and clothing drives.  Toys for tots run their campaigns.

There is no end to the ways you can donate to help others.  The problem is, in these tough times, too many people don’t because they feel they need every cent they have for their own families.  For some, this is true.  But for those people who say such things and then go on Facebook to complain about their house being too dirty, their job being too stressful, lines at the shopping malls being too long or the burger they got at McDonald’s today wasn’t made correctly – I call bull@#*%.

Whenever I look back through my Facebook posts about what I ate for dinner, what I watched on Netflix or where I went out last weekend – I remind myself that

  • When I have a dollar… on my way into that store, that dollar won’t mean much to me but it will mean a lot to whoever is on the receiving end when I toss it in the red kettle.

  • When I have five dollars… on my way through the drive thru at McDonald’s, that value meal won’t mean anything to me other than increasing my cholesterol level and adding to the thousands of calories I consume every day – but to that homeless guy on the exit ramp begging for change, a gift card to the McDonald’s at the end of the street will mean a meal.

  • When I have ten dollars…  on my way to the check out at the local superstore, the expensive shampoo and conditioner or candy and junk food or six pack of beer or whatever aren’t anything I couldn’t do without – but to some kid freezing every morning on their way to school, ten dollars could buy a hat and gloves and scarf.  Ten dollars could buy ten cans of food or a gift card for food.

You get the point. You don’t have to contribute a ton of money, anything helps.  The next time you go to spend a dollar or two on some unnecessary purchase like gum, don’t.  Save that dollar and put it in the red kettle.  Give it to the guy on the exit ramp.  If you don’t have any money to spare, give your time.  There is always a need for volunteers.

In the grand scheme of things, your contribution might go unnoticed.  But in the more immediate area, it will make a big difference.

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