austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Take his hand, you’ll be surprised

Along with this week's bazaar was a herd of students raising money for charity. They were pretty well-positioned, blocking one major route between the canteen, a lecture hall, and a bus stop, with a circle of people positioned so somebody was sure to get you. Not that I'm reluctant to donate, mind you, it's just from afar they looked like they were handing out flyers to sell something, and I don't like the interaction of getting or evading flyers.

But it was fundraising for a make-a-wish charity, which they made too complicated for me to understand. They had a picnic table covered with the sorts of small items you get on low-rent The Price is Right pricing games like ``It's In The Bag'', for example a rice cooker, or set of artist's crayons. On each fabulous prize was a Post-it star with a dollar amount, with stars atop that decreasing the amount to zero. My fundraiser said the items were donations, and if I donated money to a specific prize they could have enough money to give needy children the items whose price was paid down to zero.

I know that doesn't make sense, but that's as clear as I could get it. After the third time through the system and with the scheme becoming less understandable all the time I asked if I could just donate something and not worry about what it was for. This was rather irregular, and more than the student had expected -- she was talking about donations of one or two dollars, indicating that I still look so much like a graduate student as to give off impoverished vibes -- but she looked over the table and picked out a few things and asked if I could donate to those donations. That's fine by me, and I just hope whatever kid was wishing for orange tea and multivitamin supplements enjoys them. I still don't think I got it right.

Trivia: Charles Babbage made a systematic survey of the beggars he saw in London. Source: London: The Biography, Peter Ackroyd.

Currently Reading: Alexander Hamilton: A Biography, Forrest McDonald.


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