If you didn’t read the last blog, do it.
I’ll wait right here.
I want to expand off an idea that I had worked-over in that entry. How the aspect of a certain time of year seems to alter our behaviours, our expectations and the inorganic nature of how are actions are observed, expected to ameliorate, or at least change, as Christmas approaches.
Much like I previously elucidated on the topic of time, spending it or not spending it, with people around the holidays, made me think of another strange phenomenon that happens around this time of year, gradually building its crescendo, then falling away like it was some ethereal dream tethered by quickly-decayed hope and affected empathy:
Allow me to preface this with, whether you are or aren’t (or consider yourself to be) a charitable person; a person for whom charity, giving and making people’s lives better is a necessity; a year-round volunteer; some kind of baby-angel that sprinkles goodwill and cheer to those less fortunate: it doesn’t matter.
I’m no moral compass, no judge or weathervane to point and decree if someone is charitable or not. I don’t believe in altruism, for instance, not in an entirely selfless form. Any notion that I carry on the subject is moot: Everyone is selfish as fuck. Disregard this miserable stick of coal.
However, there are those that make it part of their routine (weekly, quotidian) to offer help and assistance. In my fucked up head, these are almost always assumed to be done in a way that helps the doer- the undertaker (Gong) of these benevolent pursuits. Whether it be something for the CV or work-related or school or career-advancing. If it’s to feel that warm, syrupy feeling from helping someone. Feeling the accomplishment of doing good. Something that covers up the evil things or nefarious thoughts they commit daily. A ‘thing’ like an object to show as proof to others that they’re loving and caring souls. Keeping up with the Joneses. Boredom. The void-filling of some kind of spiritual emptiness. It don’t matter a lick: you, me, we all get something out of helping.
I don’t believe in any act that is free of self-preservation or gain. Even when we do things against our will, we made the choice. It doesn’t have to be gain, but simply not to lose, to keep or to dissuade further discomfort. I will think more about this and get back to you, maybe in story form. Seems like a cool idea.
Christmas, that happiest time of the year, makes me sit back and sip my coffee, make one of those agreeable grumbling noises in my throat. Soothingly exhale through the nostrils.
Charity and volunteerism around Christmas is like a child doing a bunch of good things to prove to Santa and their parents that they’re really trying, that they deserve to be on the nice list, that they deserve their gifts. Or, after dicking around all year in school, spending the last few weeks to avoid being held back. Or, a husband that fucked up and buys chocolates and roses for his wife. Or… or…
Let me explain, though I realize I may still lose you.
December, the dead of winter and the beginning of the coldest stretch of the year, is a time when those without homes run a greater risk of freezing to death. Christmas, a time when lavish gifts are exchanged between loved ones, make poor children feel left out, potentially destroying their future life from the lack of fulfillment in their formative years.
But, October, November, January and February are cold. People can freeze to death then, too. And kids are intuitive, they watch others year round, they witness the injustice and lop-sided distribution of favour; they also have birthdays that may also yield the same disenchantment with life.
The holiday season makes an advanced plea for people to be better. Understandable. But… why?
Why is it not a process that we can perform all year round? Why can’t we be better for the entire 365 days and not try to jam-up a month, a few weeks or days, with a year’s worth of noble chores? If we even do them?
That same thought a motherfucker has in mid-December when they give their leftovers to a homeless cat, or choose to listen to the derelict or decide not to ignore the mentally ill motherfucker talking wild ass shit on the corner and reciprocate his or her demand for change with politeness instead of ignorance. Why isn’t that something that I, you, we can do when it’s not hinged on a temporal paradigm.
Those that do goodness as a habit (and I am thinking of a couple people in particular) may scoff, or nod. I don’t control your melon or your neck. These cats, these people spend their time, money, resources, minds and spirits on whatever plight that they see fit enough to involve themselves in, all the time. There is no super-charged month or extended periods of languid apathy. I don’t try and read into their motivations, but they are clearly present and important as hell to them.
This reality of giving back at a time when you know you’re stressed, probably extra skint, worried about all the family and travel and keeping pace and new year new you’s and I can’t believe it’s almost 2020’s and resolutions and this and that. It’s much easier to just, you know, not be a piece of shit all the time.
And, that doesn’t mean you have to betray the scumbag that you are, if you are one. It bothers me when motherfuckers become holier than thou around this time and lecture that you to be better, but only now. Be like the Christmas-them. The same cats turn back into cunts January 2.
We got social media now. Old man yells at cloud time, papa? Not quite. But there are always proliferations of societal pleas from people that don’t (or they might and somehow hide it well throughout the rest of the year) otherwise give a fuck about others. The salience of their newfound boner for charity is loathesome, disingenuous, and… positive?
Like anything, social media is something of a snapshot that people proffer to show who they really truly is. It’s often a lie, or a built up façade, or the ideal type; whatever traits are distinguished as ideal by the creator. Charity is virtuous. Who wouldn’t want to look like a white-knight, chivalrous motherfucker? (Me.)
Therein lies something strange, yo. If you are doing right, for the wrong reasons, what does that mean? If you’re committing an act of positivity and choosing the honourable route for reasons of pomposity and self-aggrandizement, is it bad? Especially around the H-days, when cats are cold and hungry.
Circles back to altruism. It may not exist, but does that even matter?
If I document a food drive or the like to wedge my ass into the philanthropic community, to show people that FPF is more than darts and coffee and swear words and critical thinking and god prose, is it gross because I’m making a show of my labour? With a reason behind the charity? Or is it for a greater good, calling attention and lending two mitts and a heart click to something where those are needed? Despise the character maybe, but help is help, no?
That’s for you to decide.
My gripe is that that same need for mitts and coeurs is present all the time. The poor are poor when we’re not eating turkey legs and drinking egg nog lattes. The kids are wearing jeans with holes, not for fashion, when it’s cold and hot outside. Hospitals, animal shelters and food banks don’t just become a thing when the lights get untangled and strung across the awnings of your favourite pandering stretchy pants or flannel shirt boutique.
Speaking of which, corporations are just like those same people with acuter interests at this time. Business and charity is asinine because of profit, which implies shady motivations and duplicitous presentation. I got this idea from looking at a hospital a block from my house; there are stars with lights and the names of the companies that donated. The bigger the star, the bigger the donation. It reeks of write-off and ostentation. But, isn’t that still better than nothing? These companies are guilting us like grandma’s who we never see for our participation. Commercials that point the finger at the public for being sacks of shit that need to help the lesser. For what? Corporate loyalty and some kind of understanding that we’re in this together so use our consulting services? Or, is it another method of ensuring that Christmas is an all hands on scenario for charity. I doubt your motives, sir.
I’m not chucking all companies in the river, it just gave me this idea. There are plenty that make it their duty to help out year round, and many that make sure to have a photographer on hand to make sure we all know.
Hand-in-hand with the last blog, why do we have to cut a vastly different character, just now? If we want to be better, worse, or stay the course, it’s a job that can and should take the length of the annum to accomplish or maintain.
I commend friends of mine like Yvonne for her work with 2 Paycheques Away. James with his Bikers for Autism. Chris and Shoel for their Mind the Bar organization. Check them out and see what these people dedicate themselves to.
And there are more. Apologies to those I forgot, but those sprang to my mind first. I know individuals who dedicate a day or several through the week, quietly, to help those with disabilities and the less fortunate with things like swimming lessons, bags of food and clothes, or tending to wounded animals. Dude, there are nurses and social workers who do the shit for a living.
Me? Yeah, I don’t do shit. If called, I’ll help, but I’ll help for my friend, not the cause. I don’t do much otherwise, but I also don’t feel a need or the guilt to ramp up my welfare muscle at this time of year. I support my friends and their passions and their projects. I’m selfish and those are my friends, and I believe in them. They have my support and whatever else they need.
If you want to do something nice or are compelled to actively pursue a charitable act at this time of year, go for it. If you’re doing it for the gram or because you have so much empathy a whale could drown, either way, that’s cool, do it. I am not trying to stop someone from going out and trying to make the world a better place, I’m only asking why is it just now, and not all the time.
Sips coffee and exhales, nasally, with satisfaction.
Sorry for cussin,
9 more sleeps,