Philanthropic Stupidity

An article in a magazine catering to upscale readers advised its audience “to be philanthropic in these times.”  It suggested recruiting friends to join with you in giving and meeting with financial advisers to see how and where to best make a gift (i.e. $30,000,000 to build build a new residential college or two at Yale or $1.2 billion to the first scientist who can find a cure for stupidity – you know which one I’d be pushing for). I want to remind my dear readers, there are abundant, surefire ways to be charitable in these times and any time, without monetary expenditure.

Last week, our postal service sent postcards requesting the donation of cans which workers would pick up and distribute to the needy. My neighbor stated that, regrettably, she could only afford to donate four cans this year because of the times we live in. I explained to her that philanthropy means, literally, ‘the love of humankind.’ Throwing money around is certainly a delightful way to show some love (if any of my dear readers care to toss some of that kind of lovin’ in my direction, e-mail me for my home address), but there are other, pro bono ways to demonstrate charity.

There are organizations (animal shelters, hospitals, schools, to name a few) that could use volunteer help. And, if you don’t have the time to volunteer, there are even simpler ways.

I waited in line at Costco (I discovered they now carry organic ground beef at a fraction of the cost of my health food store), when I noticed the forlorn, sullen cashier. He barely looked up at customers, nor did they acknowledge him when he muttered some sort of unintelligible greeting (at least I think it was a greeting).

I, myself, was self-absorbed in a killer mood, as it was my first outing in five days. I’d been home-ridden with some kind of alien virus that you never read about in the news. However, watching the cashier snapped me out of my funk.

I greeted him like a long lost friend, and the next thing I knew he told me about two barbecues he was invited to that weekend and invited me to join his family at either one or both. He also made sure I had assistance with carrying my goods to the car (my alien virus left me with lower back pain so I couldn’t do my usual lifting and carrying of all my purchases with my finely toned, subtly muscular, yet still feminine arms).

My point is that kindness is a strong form of philanthropy, and one that can be easily and readily practiced with little effort, unless you are a stuper (short for an unsympathetically stupid person), in which case, the effort could be mind-altering, which is a good thing, for the most part.

It’s all in the mind.


6 Responses to “Philanthropic Stupidity”

  1. MC says:

    Sometimes it takes seeing someone worse off before we snap to. I want to contribute to the stupidity fund.

  2. rebecca says:

    I think I know the magazine you’re talking about because I read it too and thought, what about those of us who don’t have a spare million or so to donate? They forget to mention the simpler ways that can also be more beneficial sometimes.
    It is all in the mind, isn’t it?

  3. Ferd says:

    I have three comments:
    1. This was a great example of how kindness can be contagious. I am particularly impressed that you could muster the energy to be so nice when you weren’t feeling well. I hope you are feeling better with each passing day.
    2. I LOVED the description of your arms! Wow!
    3. But you scare me when you say, “pro bono.” I know it’s a good thing, but it sounds so lawyerly.
    ; )

  4. Elaine says:


    Sorry to hear about your miserable virus. This winter and spring has been one of the worst I can recall in years for viruses! Like Ferd I am impressed at your act of kindness shown to the cashier. I honestly doubt I would have gone out of my way to be so kind when I wasn’t feeling well.

  5. Keli says:

    It certainly helps to see some one behave badly to know not to do the same yourself. I’ll let you know when I set up the fund!
    That is so true! It is all in the mind. That’s why the empty mind is so useless!
    Thank you! Believe me, it wasn’t easy to be nice. I almost flipped some one off in the parking lot before I made it inside. I too was frightened when I typed the words “pro bono.” Latin does that to me.
    Thank you. I’ve never felt this way before. Most peculiar. I’m learning as I go along, that I feel much better when I am kind. Of course, I do have lapses now and then…

  6. onedia says:

    really good point and one I too often forget. thanks for the reminder.

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