a runner asks for money to run marathon in crowdfunding parody

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#141 "Click To Provide"

Having fully recovered from a bout of "GivingTreeitis" that I suffered through for many years, I’m pleased to say I’ve regrown my cyber-limbs, trunk, and sense of inner peace.

Over the years, I’ve received hundreds of requests from cyber-friends asking me to fund anything from replacing a stolen microwave to helping them move their mother out of storage (yes, she was living in an environmentally controlled self-storage unit on a crappy, old state highway). Someone even asked for help covering the deductible on the removal of a rather large sebaceous cyst from their bottom.

I would go to their funding pages and see that our shared cyber-friends had already given. How could I not donate? Everyone would surely see that my name wasn’t on the list, because they'd surely be checking everyday to see who else gave to the cause—and who didn't. If I ever met the needy cyber-friend in real life, I most certainly could not look him or her in the eye. Seemingly, I only had two choices in response to these constant pleas for help:

1) Give and live guilt-free in my cyber-haunts

2) Be a tightwad and have to “die” from the internet: cancel all accounts on all shared social media, forums, and message boards

So, I gave.

And I gave.

And I gave again.

Then after intimate talks with my accountant, a convenience store clerk, and some guy who follows me on Twitter, I came to the realization that I wasn't always giving because it was a worthy cause, but because of the tyranny of the cyber-social guilt I felt. I feared being ostracized.

There was a time before the internet when we rarely asked anyone outside of our families for financial help, unless it was a bank or loan shark. Now, nobody is afraid to tap anybody. It’s done in a way that’s akin to being at a party and someone asks for funding and then passes a hat. If you don’t give, you look like a miser.

One day, I noticed something that freed me: the crowd-funding websites began to provide the choice to donate anonymously. I decided then I would only give to worthy causes. If I'm ever cornered and asked if I gave, I would say “Yes, anonymously.” I would assume the anonymity that someone else paid for. When I give, I do so mostly anonymously—pay it forward (as they say in the movie Pay It Forward).

I began to heal. I began to save. And soon I could afford the tongue augmentation that I’d wanted for so long (I suffered from tiny-tongue, which made French kissing a humiliating experience. Nothing worse than your date breaking a kiss and saying “You can’t reach, dude!”)

“Anonymous” is the most beautiful word ever.

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