Going without to give to others

Note: This is not a criticism of the actual ‘Going without to give others’ movement. This is my own hollow, facetious introspection. The same introspection that often lands me in trouble with the ‘good nouns’ in this world. 

I read in a recent post by blogger Tami Etherton (thanks for the heads up Tami) that there is a movement being pushed to the blogosphere and throughout the Internet to ‘Go Without to Give Back’. I don’t know where the concept originated by it’s really quite simple.

First, you pick a cause or a charitable organization that you are passionate about. In my case it would be something that has to do with cancer research or the Red Cross or perhaps even something locally to assist underprivileged or abused youths.

Second, you identify something that you do on a regular basis such as a daily cup ‘o Joe, a trip to the bakery for a croissant or a donut to forego for a self-imposed amount of time. It might be your daily visit to your favorite burger joint to inject some grease into your arteries. Whatever it is, you identify it as something you are going to go without for the next week or so.

Third, you go without as best as you can. At the end of your designated timeframe of denying yourself the pleasure of eating, drinking or doing whatever it is you do, you gather up the funds that you have saved during that period, head down to the pre-determined charitable organization of your choice and hand them a check with a smile.

It’s a great way to serve others and bring a smile to someone else’s face, right? But from my perspective I see a fundamental flaw in the program; an error that may automatically disqualify me from participating in a great idea. Here’s my dilemma – What if I’ve already been going without all these years?

Think about it – I have five sons. They are growing and in the process, they are eating me out of a house and all of the necessities in life. So that hamburger I thought about saving money on every day doesn’t really make sense because I can’t afford a hamburger so I cannot save any money there.

A donut? Yeah right, I’m the guy who stands outside the bakery at closing time and dumpster dives to find yesterday’s maple bars. Who cares if the sprinkles from another donut have tainted the maple frosting? It’s still a good donut.

Save money on a mani-pedi? Not my style. I don’t even own nail clippers so I use my sons’ art scissors or my wife’s crafts or sewing scissors to clip my nails. It’s dangerous, but it’s less dangerous than walking around with claws and it’s impossible to pick your nose or rub your eyes.

Stow away cash from a visit to the barber? No brainer – I can’t afford shampoo for my hair so I shave all my hair off. No need for gel or other hair products either.

I thought I could save a little cash by not putting gas in my car but then quickly realized that I haven’t been driving my car around lately because I ran out of gas five miles from the gas station and decided to just leave it there until I can put more gas in it. That was three months ago! And all the money I save on gas is now going to pay for the natural gas we use in our home. There are trade off’s here.

We could forget about observing Halloween this year and save a ton of cash on candy, decorations and Halloween costumes. Hmmm, not gonna work either. We haven’t celebrated Halloween for ten years now and neighborhood kids expect us to be the jerks that don’t put out candy so that they can trash our house with eggs, toilet paper and shaving cream. Last year we even had some creative youngsters spray paint our house with swastika’s. I am now known as the only Polynesian who promotes White Power.

Maybe I can shut off the cable and Internet for a month and donate that money to a cause? But that’s just silly. Who would do that and risk the chance of missing the Emergency Broadcast System test messages between college and NFL football games? Besides, how would I ever post this stupid piece on my blog if I cut my cable bill today?

At the very bottom of my list of ‘things to consider going without so that I can be more miserable while someone else enjoys the fruits of my labors’ is my medication. ‘Tis not the season to go without my gout medicine because there’s a lot of pork and seafood to eat over the next few months. I probably want to keep taking my high blood pressure pills, my diabetes stuff, my asthma puffs, that cream for the fungus that I’ve been nursing for three years; and it’s probably a given that I shouldn’t give up my anti-depression and bi-polar pills. Everyone around me insists that I can’t go a day without the stuff.

That leaves me with one thing – Time. I may not have any money to give to the poor (the charity that I would give my money to at this point would be my wife and sons), but I’d be happy to donate my time to rake leaves, haul trash or read a book at the senior center.

So if you’re like me and you don’t have the money to give to a worthy cause, put some grease in your elbows, get out there and do something good for someone. I’ve found that it does a whole lot of good for my soul when I do. Serving someone else would be a whole lot better than sitting in front of the TV, Tweeting or updating my status on Facebook. But then again, that’s why I have my iPhone.

P.S. Some of this information is fictitious (and facetious) for the purpose of writing this post. You decide what is true.

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