#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
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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