Daisy Jane/Dirty Harry pushed my compassion buttons this morning, and I went out into the world to do good. I was going to post not about what I did, but about a small thing perhaps some OSers might like to do that would be meaningful to a few of the overwhelming number of desperados here in america.
Before today, I had driven around with a lot of cheese crackers with peanut butter in my glove compartment to give to people on street corners holding signs asking for help. (I'm routinely at one particular intersection that's frequented by the homeless because of the long light.) On a teacher's salary (in the historically el cheapo commonwealth of Virginia), I can't afford to give money. But Smithee inspired me to make "gift bags" with more than p.b. crackers inside. Setting aside my efforts to not buy products from China (meaning I didn't even look), I went to Target and here's what I got:
Little toothbrush and toothpaste, Ensure chocolate shake, pull-on hat, gloves, 4 anti-bacterial wipes, a foilpack of tuna, two slim jims, lotion, kleenex, white chocolate covered pretzels, cinnamon applesauce, raspberry juice box, some kind of protein bar, gum, raisins, some whole-grain frosted mini-wheats, and two of the ever-popular cheese-p.b. crackers. Tried to go for protein. I got enough for six bags, for around $75.00. I was thinking perhaps I should divvy things up to make twelve bags instead. Then...
Then I remembered the Golden Globes awards that I saw briefly as my host last night flipped through channels during football game commercials. I licked my lips as the camera panned over the bottles of chilled Moet champagne. But then the magnificence on display made me angry. The jewels, the gowns, the opulence at any other time might have been fun to see, but the idea that these overpaid and self-insulated millionaires didn't have the sensitivity to tone things down a bit at this annual "We'refuckingawesome-fest" when so many of their fellow citizens have lost everything, are out on the streets, living in cars or boxes or tents in the woods. I'm not even talking about the people on the edge of the abyss, people going without needed medicine so their children can eat, people with the wolf at the door, and so much more I can't start listing because I'll implode. Fucking liberal Hollywood, my ass. Yes, yes, I know that many "celebrities" and "media personalities" (WTF is that and who needs them?) do good things and donate time and money to causes, but there is much to be said for sending an unspoken message when everyone's watching.
And THEN I remembered the seriously tacky practice of giving gift bags to these people who have every material need more than taken care of. I was able to attach this video, but I don't know how to make the ad go away. It's worth it if you can get through that.
"Stars have everything....We want them to have a little break, because after all, being a star can be pretty stressful." That $50,000.00 gift bag represents more than my net pay for the year. That $50,000.00 gift bag could have gone a very long way (especially multiplied by the number of them) toward helping people who DON'T have everything, who truly need a HUGE break, because after all, being homeless can be pretty stressful.