If you know me, you know I like to have a drink every now and then — now being the evening and then being that night. I also give up drinking from time to time. And what strikes me the most isn’t that I feel any better — I mean I’m not a drunk who spends my days curled up on the couch swearing I’ll never drink again while checking the clock to see if it’s late enough in the day to have a drink without anyone judging me.
What strikes me most is the amount of money saved. Granted, I live in New York and even at my age I frequent bars, so the tab is a little higher than the average bears. But it’s probably lower than many other big-city folk as I’m a fan of lower end bars and straightforward drinks. You usually won’t find me in a “lounge” sipping fancy-pants cocktails. A fancy-pants cocktail, if you’re wondering, is anything that has more than the two following ingredients: whiskey, ice.
Hell, even if you’re just a few beers after work drinker, it starts to add up pretty quick.
What’s my point? As you may know I’m running the Hamptons Half Marathon to raise money for Team in Training/Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This is my third year and every year I’m heartened by the generosity of friends and family who donate. I’m off to a good start this year, too, so thanks to those who’ve donated already. In a tight economy, it’s not always easy — and if you’re like me and hang out with really decent people who give a shit about things, a lot of your other friends have hit you up for donations recently and you really want to give, but damn that adds up fast, too, and then you start to feel guilty maybe and no one wants that.
That said, one thing that’s surprised me is the lack of small donations. I figured what with all my whoring on Twitter and Facebook, the quick, easy thing to do would be to have all of those people just donate five bucks each. (GO ON, DO IT)
One obvious thing — and something many advertisers and marketers should know by now — is that Twitter and Facebook friend counts are complete horseshit. Of the 3800 people who “follow” me on Twitter, maybe 20 to 50 of them are really paying attention — and they’ve got a few hundred other people they’re paying attention to. Some of them may have never met me. Many of them are probably thinking, “I gave at the office, jackass” or “I RUN for TNT in my hometown” or “QUIT JUNKING UP MY TWITTER STREAM WITH CANCER, I’M TRYING TO GET KICKSTARTER FUNDS FOR MY INDIE FILM!”
Another thing, I wonder, is if people think small amounts don’t help. What’s the point, they might think, What’s five bucks going to do? Well, as any kid saving up for a bike (do kids still ride those?) or a video game one penny at a time, cash is cash. Get enough of any denomination together and it makes a difference. Once, while I working at a pizza parlor out in the Hamptons and I went to move a coworker’s purse and almost threw my back out trying to lift it. It literally weighed over 20 pounds. Turns out she’d just been throwing the change from her tip jar in there for months. After mocking her, we counted the change in the bottom of her purse — over $200. That’s a lot of scratch.
Finally, if some folks are like me, they care too much what other people think (oh, I do. Really!). And if they donate less than, say, $20, someone’s going to judge them for being cheap, for not really wanting to fight cancer or save little Jimmy or what have you. I’ve certainly thought that when donating to other friends. And it doesn’t help that the donation amount shows up on the website for the whole world to see. “Oh, look that guy donated $200 and that woman donate $50 and you want me to donate $5?” In previous years, I figured the publicized donation amounts might spur competition, but I think that might be wrong. So I’ve taken the donation amounts down. Now no one will know how much you donate!
And I’m sure as hell not going to judge you. If you donate one dollar, you’re a hero in my book.
Which brings me back around to the start of this rambling post. People of a certain age will remember those old commercials for the starving children in Ethiopia, Guatemala, West Virginia or someplace. “For the price of a newspaper,” they’d say. Or: “For the price of a cup of coffee.” And you know what? They were right.
But I know no one actually pays for newspapers anymore. And for some of you, the price of a cup of “coffee” — your venti steaming soy goat poop machomanrandysavage latte or whatever — is probably approaching $10.
So, let me put it this way. For the price of one drink — whether it’s a $2 can of Pabst, a $5 Jack on the rocks or a $10 elderflower martini (seriously, try one of those, that shit is awesome for a fancy-pants cocktail) — you can help fight cancer. You can help save adults and children and teens and tweens.
You can help save someone like Eva. Remember, a kid diagnosed with blood cancer in the 1960s had a 4% chance of survival. A kid today has a 90% chance. But that 10% remaining is a heartbreaking number if you’re in it. DONATE NOW.