Pork Roll and Purpose
Pork roll. Man, I hate that stuff. I’ve tried it a few times, but I just can’t get it down. Does it bother me that I can’t find an appreciation for it? Being a true-blue foodie, sure. Can I live with my anti-pork-roll predilection? Yes. I still manage to sleep pretty well at night knowing that lips that touch pork roll will never touch mine. (That’s not necessarily true, but it did have a nice little lilt to it, no?)
But not so for the author of a magazine article I read recently. No, her life was turned upside down by the fact that she had no stomach for tomatoes. Granted, tomatoes are more worthy — and ubiquitous, thankfully — than pork roll, but it still seemed like much ado about nothing.
I don’t really care about this woman’s aversion to tomatoes. But I do care about what the article eventually came to be focused on. Instead of just steering clear of the fruit and getting her lycopene from a pill, the author pumped a lot of time and, I assume, money into overcoming her tomatophobia. After an undisclosed expenditure of both those precious resources, the best she could do was to not run screaming from the room whenever one of the culinary culprits might be spotted peeking from under a lettuce leaf or be bold enough to come to the table draped in nothing more than a cloak of mozzarella and a jaunty little cap of fresh basil.
I couldn’t help but wonder when we became such a bunch of whiny, solipsistic navel-gazers. (I know what you’re thinking, so I’ll say it for you — “much like you when you write this column, Ms. Editor?” Yes … just like that. But no one ever really calls me Ms. Editor.)
Seriously, how much of an impact might our tomato-terrified author had if she had funneled that cash into a nonprofit organization that works to eradicate hunger in developing countries, rather than into some hypno-therapist’s pocket? Or if she spent that time delivering meals to shut-ins in her hometown rather than recounting the great tomato tragedies of her life to a stranger? I’m no psychologist, but I suspect she would feel a whole lot more, well, whole if she could crawl out of herself for a while and devote a little time, talent and treasure to help someone else. Not only would it just make her feel wonderful and more connected, but she might recognize 1) that she has it pretty damn good and 2) “Wow! I can make a difference in this world! How cool is that?!”
Maybe this all sounds harsh. I really don’t begrudge people their issues. God knows, I have my own. But this just irked me. I guess this little rant doesn’t have a whole lot of strategic advice to offer you all. But before I climb off my soapbox (and out of my navel), I’ll try to redeem myself by stressing the importance of letting donors know how awesome it is to look beyond themselves and help others. Former Domain Group honcho Tim Burgess (who now is a Seattle city council member) was the first person to put it that way to me years ago. It changed the way I thought about fundraising, and I never forgot it. If you haven’t already realized it, give it some thought.
Yeah … right? You’re welcome. OK, rant over. Thanks for reading!