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I'm not flying into icing conditions for charity

August 20, 2014 - Paul Giannamore
Maybe I'm old fashioned, but seems to me I gave every year to Jerry Lewis because after an hour or so, the tug at the heartstrings was too damned much. I'd feel guilty. Got worse when my kids were little and healthy.

And I know ALS is awful -- I fear it. But one more social media post of a bucket of ice water on one more person's head does nothing for me

Please, go back to the old fashioned method of making me feel guilty, or responding out of simple fear in that "There but for the grace of God goes I" way.

Why is it that we live in an age where everything, from fitness to charity, now has to be carried out in some attention-getting way?

Prove your fitness by going for 7-mile run in blazing heat up a mud-covered mountainside where death-defying stunts must be performed with your “tribe” or “team.”

Don’t get me wrong, people who do that stuff obviously are marching to a drummer whose beat is different from mine. I like working out, but I am not subjecting myself to mud and potential death. God bless those folks, though. They generally don’t look down on those of us who struggle for one more rep of an exercise. They’re inspiring in that “I’ll never understand why you do that but you’re amazing” sort of way.

But with this ice-bucket thing, it’s different. Seems that if you’re challenged, you either do it, record it and put it on YouTube where you join the viral minions, or you donate more than you can afford because someone dared you. Lest you be publicly shamed on social media, of course. Called a welcher or whatever. And, it’s not a choice, by the way. You donate even if you dump 10 gallons of ice over your head, assuming your heart still works after that.

Charity isn’t supposed to be a playground-style double-dog dare thing. I thought it was motivated out of our hearts, not out of showing off or being pushed. My family always taught that you give quietly and privately and from your ability to give, and that you never bragged about it. It was supposed to be about giving from what you have to help those less fortunate.

Again, please, don’t touch me with ALS, ever. I pray it touches no one I know.

But don’t dare me to ice myself down, either. What’s next? Touch your tongue to the flagpole in subzero weather to show your hate heart disease? How about picking up a charcoal briquette from the grille for cancer?

Give me good, old guilty shame any day. It’s worked for church support, the fight against cancer, heart disease, the Red Cross, the United Way, the Salvation Army, Jerry’s Kids, animal charities and about a thousand other charities I could name if I think about it.

I”ll give. Just make me feel my cash is needed, or make me feel guilty and tell me where to send the check.


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