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What Can You Get for a Dollar? August 27, 2011

Posted by J. in Genius.
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It’s been one of those weeks.   I know what you’re thinking, and you’re not wrong; usually when I say that I mean it’s been one of those shit weeks, but not this one.

I've read this article so many time I actually have parts of it memorized, and I still laugh out loud at this. Every. Single. Time.

It started a few days back when I read an article at Cracked.com.  I go to Cracked because the articles there, while factually questionable, are invariably funny.   I mean, if you haven’t been there and read the article “The Nine Most Badass Bible Verses” please click the photo to the left and do it now.  You will see the kind of delightful fuckery I’ve come to expect from the good people at Cracked.

If you are like me and are still guffawing over “Gaze upon our dick tower and despair,” you’ll see why, when I clicked the link to read “Eight Tiny Things That Stopped Suicides,” I figured it was going to be the usual delicious serving of the ridiculous bordering on the sublime that I’ve come to expect.

I was wrong.

It was eight instances of one little thing standing between a person and death, and in most of those cases, that little thing was something another person did.  By the time I got to number one–the one where the soldier decides not to kill himself because his puppy looked at him with that ‘if you die who’s going to take care of me’ look on his face, I was all weepy and shit.

After all, it’s the little things that matter.  Things you don’t even think that people notice, or because they’re really not much, you feel don’t really matter.  But they do.  Sometimes in very big ways.   I mean, you never really know what little thing is going to make a difference to someone else.  This is not news.  I know you know this.  There’s a reason I’m attracting your attention to an anomalyously touching Cracked article.  Bear with me.

One of the blogs I follow is Ask Sister Mary Martha.  She’s a nun (I think–who knows on the Internet?) and she’s mostly in the business of saint matching.  Who is the patron saint of people who are irritated by the annoying habits of others?  Saint Terese, of course!   I read it because she’s my kind of funny.

You may be starting to sense a theme here.  Poops reads things that amuse her.  Go figure.

Anyway, the other day she posted this bit about these people who think they are superheroes.  As in First Order Nerds who are so into comic books and role-playing that they put on ‘stumes and masks and the whole nine yards.  But yeah, this time there’s more, isn’t there?  Of course there is.

Superheroes” by Sister Mary Martha.  Go read it.  I’ll wait.  It’s short.

This resonated with me, especially.  “Today, we call these types nerds. But from the time of Christ on, we have called them saints. Oddly dressed people with funny ideas about doing what they can to help humanity in need, wherever need exists. People who really don’t care what other people think about their odd mission in life or their funny hat.”

Okay, I get it.  I see what you’re driving at.  Don’t judge a book by its cover.  Get out there and get your hands dirty.

*sigh*  But I’m not a hands-dirty kind of person, really.  I’m an amuse-myself-on-the-web kind of person.  It’s not that I don’t want to give toiletries to hobos, but…no, that’s pretty much it.  God help me, I don’t want to.

Anyone who really knows me knows that I’m a snarky bitch by my very nature.  I can’t help it.  I try to be good.  I try to see the good in people and I swear that I try to be patient and generous.  But man, sometimes you just gotta say What The Fuck.  I’ve embraced that particular shortcoming of mine.  I expect I will pay for it eventually.

To that end, love the site Cake Wrecks for the same reason I like Cracked and Sister Mary Martha and Regretsy.  It’s funny.  Smart-funny, which is the only kind of funny I like.  For the uninitiated, Cake Wrecks is dedicated to making fun of professionally decorated cakes that go horribly wrong. So I click on, expecting to laugh at the day’s findings, and I read an article about an African village that got four new wells and how that has impacted their lives.

What the fuck, Cake Wrecks?  First Cracked plucks at my heartstrings for no good reason, then Sister Mary Martha makes me feel bad for making fun of guys in Spiderman masks and tights.  Just what do four new wells have to do with badly decorated cakes anyway?

Well, back over the winter, the wickedly funny writer of Cake Wrecks had a “Give a Dollar” challenge. Every day she put up a different charity on the site and urged the readers to each donate one dollar. You could give every day, or one day, or just to the charities you wanted, whatever. Just one dollar.

The money Cake Wrecks raised from the readers who donated one dollar on one day to the one charity that digs wells in areas that need them made enough money to dig not one but four wells and provide clean, safe water for a village.

The heartwarming story of how one dollar can make a difference is here: “Water Works“.  Go read it.  I’ll wait.  It’s short.

I’m one of those people who is tempted all the time to feel like that because I can’t do a lot, there’s no point in doing anything.  Sometimes it does feel very much like trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon.

I know I shouldn’t feel this way.  I mean, any idiot can figure out that one dollar isn’t much, but if you put it together with a bunch of other dollars it starts to add up.

Or one act of kindness, for that matter.

I like to curate Etsy treasuries, but I have trouble making them on this computer because for some reason it likes to crash my browser.  I’ve tried everything I can think of it make it stop, but to no avail.  Still, sometimes it works okay and when it does, I work like a mad man to put one together.  I made one last week.  Long story short, it’s free advertising for the shops that are featured.

My awesomeballs treasury that spend Friday on the top of the hotness list. Click the pic to see the actual treasury. You can read the comments and you can click on each item and visit the seller's shops. There's some nice shit here.

Anyone with an Etsy account can make one and it’s a great way to show some love for your favorite shops or sellers or items.  You choose 16 different items from 16 different shops on Etsy, and you arrange them in an aesthetically pleasing way and hope they get chosen for the front page.  I, of course, filled it with my team members from April’s Army and made it as pretty as I know how.

My team is made of equal parts snark and whimsicle fuckery, but they’ll give you the shirts off their backs.  It is, in fact, the main reason our team exists at all.  I believe I’ve mentioned that we have a charity shop on Etsy that opens the last week of every month.  Every item in it is donated by an April’s Army member and all the proceeds each month go to help another Etsy seller in need.  So it’s not surprising that they clicked and favorited and commented and tweeted and liked it on the Facebook and it spent the better part of Friday on the front page of the treasury lists.  Lots of people not on our team got exposed to some great sellers they might not have otherwise seen.  Which is nice.  Yay for pimping.  But I got this email yesterday afternoon from one of the featured sellers:

Her jewelry is gorgeous. Seriously. Go look.

“I wanted to say thank you for including one of my listings in your Teal We Meat Again treasury. It totally made my day. I’ve been having a rough week (got news we needed {some very expensive} house repairs from repair people and I’m on half pay this year). I know a lot of folks are in worse situations, but it’s been super stressful for me dealing with all that this week. Anyway, my shop is getting lots of views from your treasury, and it was so nice to have something good happen this week. THANK YOU.”

Well, you’re welcome, quidditydesigns.  You’re very welcome.

All that love for my treasury went down on Friday while the kids were in school and I was at a funeral.  Joe Holiday died on Monday from a swift, sudden, and unexpected illness.  We thought he was going to get better, and he didn’t.  All week I’ve been hearing from people on my Facebook page about the little ways Joe touched their life.  And as per my theme for the week, it usually wasn’t anything big at all.

He owned a restaurant and played the organ and that’s what most people knew him for.  His daughter told the local paper that his motto was “Keep ’em fed and dancing.”  And I thought about it.  Joe’s driving force was making people happy.   It’s what he did.  His whole business was based on that simple premise, and he did it well.

St. Joseph’s in Laconia was standing room only.  People took the day off on a Friday morning to go to Mass to say goodbye to a man who made them happy.  There were good friends there, people who knew him very well.  But there were also hundreds of people were there in a stuffy, sticky church to be counted among those who he had perhaps only known peripherally.  These are people he welcomed warmly, fed, and serenaded from time to time.  That’s it.  Nothing big.  A smile, a handshake, a dubious rendition of “Ring of Fire” and a kick-ass prime rib.  Simple things, really.

I guess what I’m getting at in my own round-about way is that while grand, sweeping gestures might get all the press, the little ones matter too.  Like the week I just had.  Any one of those things I saw this week might have gone by and been forgotten a few days later, like a dollar that you absent-mindedly shove into the pocket of your jeans and send through the wash.  But taken all together like that?  I think I’m meant to be paying attention.

What can you get for a dollar these days?  More than you think, I bet.

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Comments»

1. Yorkie - August 27, 2011

I read that “Cake Wrecks” entry yesterday and have kept it open on my browser ever since. I was just stunned by it and just thought how a little can go so far for some people.

You might not think you do much to help the cause of mankind, but you’ve helped me a LOT over the last two years…and that’s no small feat. It might just be a few conversations on a computer screen to you, but it was a life line for me. Just thought you should know…

2. sistermarymartha - September 6, 2011

Thank you for the plug. Now go wash your mouth out with soap and watch your language from now on.


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