I usually count myself as a fairly generous person. I have my slumps, but I usually give when I can. So, I figure I’m entitled to a small complaint. A few years ago, I joined the World Wildlife Fund, Audubon, The Nature Conservancy, a Great Lakes club, a Boating Safety club, The Smithsonian, The Metropolitan Museum, and adopted a Bison and a Florida Panther. Then I gave contributions to Kiwanis, VFW, and a couple other locals that I can’t remember. It was a good year for feeling good. I’ve paid for it, just as no other good deed goes unpunished. Since then, I’ve averaged about 10 phone calls each week from just about every conceivable charity organization. The WWF is the Tiger Woods of charities. I’m collecting all the mail I’ve gotten from them to build a Polynesian sailing boat. I’ve heard that they explored the Hawaiian Islands long before anyone else. I don’t really care much if they did, but there’s no place for a phone on a Polynesian sailing boat.
After about a year, I stopped giving money to everyone. I decided that the only way to keep the mailman from getting a herniated disk was to cut them all off cold turkey. Needless to say, they were not pleased. The friendly letters reminding me about upcoming votes in Congress became scathing letters about seal pup clubbing and otters drowning in crude oil.
I waited them out, though. After two years, they must have figured that it was time to try the carrot again. Now I get birthday cards, Christmas calendars, and adopt-a-whooping crane letters. I just can’t avoid the feeling that the first dime I give them is going to come back as an angry penny.

In a moment of weakness yesterday, I pledged $30 to The Rochester Kiwanis Club. Buying bicycles for under-privileged kids in January was just too good to pass up. Now… he said that they only call me once a year. It’s hard to remember with all the volume I get, but I’m pretty sure he’s using a different calendar than I am. Anyway, He calls me last night at 9:00PM. The pledge card was in my mailbox TODAY at 12:00PM. My credit card company doesn’t send me bills that quickly. I’ve been looking out my window all evening trying to spot the unmarked van, because, unless they have a time machine… they’re watching.

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