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Everyone Has Their Hand In My Pocket

At some point, it has to stop.

· Social Change,Thinking Different,Philosophy

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as I strive to save enough to travel. Colombia first and specifically, India (Mumbai) and Italy (Florence, Venice, inevitably Rome) to follow.

To further clarify, I’m not wealthy. I subsist on a disability pension, which is enough to put a roof over my head, feed me and provide my Internet connection, supplemented by royalty cheques which vary wildly month by month.

Yet I make a point of helping people when I can, be it with spare cash or by giving away my devices when I upgrade. I could sell these MacBooks, iPads and iPhones for a good sum, but I prefer to find them homes among friends and acquaintances who couldn’t otherwise afford them and who will treasure them, rather than anonymous purchasers.

I am not referring to these people. The ones I look to help, to whom I volunteer my resources and assistance.

I’m thinking of those people who meet me and see in me a solution to whatever wants or needs they have. Whether this be the homeless guy outside my local gas station, who I do help when I can with a pack of cigarettes or the money in my pocket, but who has begun to act entitled and seems not to grasp the concept of ‘I don’t have any cash tonight,’ or people I meet online as I investigate my travel destinations who quickly present me with requests for anything from apparently work-related needs to straight requests for money without even taking the time to get to know me…

If I’m honest, these people get me down.

If I could help the world I would. I’m not Jeff Bezos though. I’m nothing like a billionaire, even if my standard of life in Canada seems wealthy by comparison.

On the other hand, it sickens me to see some yuppie climb out of their BMW or Mercedes and determinedly ignore a guy asking for some spare change, pretending not to hear them and avoiding eye contact, not even able to summon up an ‘I’m sorry, not today’ when confronted by another human being in need.

There has to be a middle ground, where need and means coincide.

I’ve been on the other side as well. I tried a GoFundMe plea when really hurting and was thoroughly ignored by acquaintances and strangers alike.

It sucked and was disheartening to say the least. And if I’m still being honest, it kind of hit me in a less than cheerful manner, having me thinking ‘I go out of my way to help people, but when I’m the one in need I suddenly become (even more) invisible.’

I’m fairly certain that I learned my charitable inklings from my mother, who supports everyone and anything who asks, if she can. Yet even in her case, telling someone (truthfully) that she gave at the office or whatever gets met with more wheedling attempts at getting more money from her infuriates me when I see it.

Other than a poppy in season, there aren’t many visual cues one can offer announcing that they have already participated, mind.

Guilt is an effective fund-raising tool, I’m certain, and some people representing truly good causes can employ it in ways I don’t consider particularly ethical to achieve their goal…

Which is to, once again, put their hand in my pocket.

Enough.

I’m not going to stop giving when I can, but I am going to stop letting these kinds of premeditated guilt trips get under my skin.

You can consider this forewarning, or just the appeal that it is to stop trying to twist my arm while rifling my wallet.

The well may have just run dry.

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