Every single day, of every single week, I get a ton of requests for money from a ton of different organizations …
They want me to help Save the Country… Save the Whales… Save the Children… Save the Rainforests… Save the Polar Bears… Save the Oceans… Save the Homeless… Save the Manatees… the pleas are endless.
I wish I was rich so I could contribute to every one of these worthy causes, but I’m not and times are tough, so I have a brand new charity that I contribute to now.
It’s called ‘Save Some Money.’
Up until now, it seems like it’s the only thing I’m not saving.
But how can I possibly reconcile making that selfish choice and not be racked with tremendous guilt about my decision?
I have it all figured out.
This is what I do…
I use my cell phone to call my home phone with the objective of asking myself for money.
Sometimes I’m not at home when I make the call… and, even when I am home, I won’t pick-up the phone because I know it’s just me on the other line asking for cash.
In either case I let the answering-machine pick-up and I’ll leave a heart-rending message for myself, begging for a hand-out.
This is a waste of time because I have no intention of returning my own calls… after all, I just can’t give money to everybody who wants it!… but I keep leaving messages anyway.
If I’m persistent, I’ll eventually get myself on the phone because I have both 3-way calling and call waiting and I’ll often get so confused, between putting myself on hold and managing the phone lines, that I’ll somehow cut into my own conversation and end up talking to myself on the other line.
“Hey Paul… Whew! It took a while, but finally got through to you… It’s me.”
And I’ll say to myself, “What do you mean ‘It’s me’?… Of course I know it’s you! I recognize my own voice!”
Then I’ll implore… “Paul, I really could use a little cash. Do you think you might be able to make a donation to my cause?”
And I’ll offer some sorry excuse like, “I’d like to help you out, but money’s real tight right now”… or… “I’m sorry, you got me at a bad time”… which I know is bullshit because, as you know, you can’t lie to yourself.
But I’ll stay determined, refuse to take no for an answer, and will try to make myself feel guilty.
“Come on, you cheap bastard! Do it for me… Anything you can give would be greatly appreciated. Besides, you waste too much of your hard earned money on useless crap, like rent and groceries and health insurance! You need to do something nice for yourself every once in a while.”
And I’ll reflect on that thought and admit, “Hmmmmm… That is true.”
Finally, I become such an annoying pain-in-my-own-ass that I will reluctantly give-in, write myself a check, and mail it back to myself.
I have to admit, just writing out that check makes me feel good inside… knowing that I’m making a small sacrifice and giving back.
I realize that it’s me giving back to myself, but that’s not what’s important… it’s the fact that I sucked it up, did the right thing, and cleared my conscience of all guilt.
A couple days later I’ll go out to the mailbox, only to find the envelope that I addressed to myself.
“Hey, what’s this?… Wow, it’s a check!… and there’s a note with it…
“Here, Paul, buy yourself a little something on me. From Paul.”
“Awwww! That’s awesome! What a great guy I am! I am so charitable and generous!”
Now BOTH of my-selves feel good.
My charity is truly a non-profit organization because I break-even, so I’m pretty sure my contributions are not tax-deductible… but I’m having my accountant look into it.
After all, you know what they say… “The Lord helps those who help themselves.”