"What a wonder life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." Colette

Dec 17, 2017

Dead Santas

This morning I half-watched a program about renewable energy and urban conversion.  A  good looking young family putters around their newly-fashioned, old-style farmhouse: grade schooler raking muck; toddlers playing with chickens; Mother sniffing her compost pile. Ugh. I scoffed at the show’s premise.

“Why waste my time watching their efforts? Even the Dad on the show wastes energy, so why should I care?”

Because I finally acknowledged that while I have no stake in what happens to future generations on the planet, I nevertheless contributed to the environmental mess they are increasingly forced to clean up.

I apologize.  It was wrong to have tossed that broken generator over the side, but I like to think it’s a new coral reef, just like the old luxury liner I watched dragged out to sea and dropped to the bottom, ala Titanic, for the very same purpose. But two wrongs don’t make a right, you say?

Let's flip the Environment/Societal coin for a moment. Brick-and-mortar shops are continuing to disappear, thanks to online retail giants. In the name of Time-Saving we're putting vast numbers of our friends and neighbors out of work, not to mention hurting the Salvation Army's traditional campaign. As it is, they're short of bell-ringers this season.

I know you don't want to, but consider the vast number of people starving and homeless in our country. The United States has an estimated 2.5 million children living on the streets. There's no excuse for that. We're not living in the Dark Ages.

By closing stores we're also depriving children of the joy of holiday window displays. Imagine all those little businesses tucked between mall-anchors like Macy's and J.C. Penny's. They can't just start up internet businesses overnight.

Abandoned malls are becoming trendy venues for Tesla, Tiffany and the like, driving up surrounding real estate values and forcing many out of their once-affordable homes. Do we really NEED to add to the rolls of our homeless?

Please don’t ignore people begging just because you have adopted the cynical view that they’ll walk around the corner at the end of their panhandling day and head to a home nicer than yours in a new Cadillac.

For all you know some philanthropist might have given a vehicle to someone living under a bridge.  My next-door neighbors gave me their 1986 Ford F150 (laugh, but they were the original owners and kept it in mint condition), and I spent more than one night sleeping in the back while crossing the country to visit Mom. So far I've met two other people on the road who've had similar experiences.
Even if the cynical story is true, why penalize everyone for those rotten apples? Lots of people move back and forth between local campgrounds and homeless encampments searching for food, work and opportunities.
Please give selflessly. You never know if you'll wind up in similar shoes and need help yourself one day. Please give a tax-deductible donation before year's end to your favorite charity.  

So rather than purchasing gaudy decorations from China which require electricity and annoy your neighbors, why not create your own and save some money? It only takes imagination, and we wouldn't have to look at all these Dead Santas scattered throughout our neighborhoods. 

Even if you cut out only ONE $5 coffee per week, that comes to $20 a month. Find a charity which touches your heart in a special way and sign up for a simple monthly pledge taken automatically out of your account. For a New Year's resolution, how about the old-fashioned notion of tithing...but to your community?


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