Friday, February 18, 2011
Slap Your Face Friday. It's a trilogy now!
Happy Friday peeps! You know the drill...get over here for a dose of tough love.
Today I’d like to talk to you about the state of the Union, over lunch at The Golden Corral. Don’t worry, I’ll pick up the tab. We can stuff our gullets till we’re burping bacon bits on my dime.
After that, let’s head over to the grocery store and walk down the cereal aisle. Followed by the pet food aisle. We’ll look right and left and see all the choices we have not only in our own breakfast meal, but in the meals we serve our pets.
Did you know there are actual places on earth where they don’t have pet food aisles? Their cats do NOT eat things made of organic compounds using cold-press technology, or tins of things called Fancy Feast...because any feasting that’s going on is damn well going to be among the PEOPLE, not the kitties. And get this, there are places on the planet that do NOT offer 125 different formulations of wheat and sugar for a person’s morning meal.
Welcome to America. We entertain ourselves with reality shows dedicated to making our morbidly obese citizens skinny by restricting them to double the caloric intake of millions of people on the globe.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m on board with cat food aisles and cereal galore. I’m certainly no slim-jim, and I have absolutely no interest in living anywhere that my cat doesn’t have 30 or 40 different things to eat. Quite frankly I don’t even want to VISIT the place that doesn't. But here’s my thought: in a country where we spend $36.3 billion dollars annually on pet food...
IT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED TREASON THAT WE HAVE A HOMELESS POPULATION.
...or children who go to school hungry or poorly clothed. Or a mentally handicapped population slipping through the cracks. Or a veteran needing ANYTHING.
I don’t profess to know the answers that will solve the world’s issues, or how to make it fair among the hard workers of our society to eradicate the plight of those without such luck, ability, or access. But I think we can all do better. I think we can donate $5 a month to our local food bank, or $10 if we already donate $5. The World Food Program is itself starving for funding. And soup kitchens and homeless shelters need our help more often than Thanksgiving and Christmas. A random Tuesday is just as needy and important as Christmas if you're ten years old and hungry.
Some nights, when I find myself staring at my full cupboard of food, internally wailing that, “None of this is what I WANT!” it occurs to me that somewhere in the world a mother is holding a child who will draw their last breath...because they’ve starved. Dramatic? Yes. But you know, suddenly my great tragedy of chips vs. pretzels vs. cookies is a little less hand wringingly sad.
I have so many choices that I can’t choose.
In my own city someone’s belly is grumbling and I can’t decide which snack to eat. Therefore, my resolve has been to give more than I am. For now, that means going through my family’s closets with a razor sharp eye and sending to the homeless shelter and free store every piece of clothing my family simply chooses to not wear.
Consider how many children in your town might have gone without a warm coat this winter, which has been brutal in most of the lower forty-eight. In any so-called “First World” country children shouldn’t suffer cold or hunger.
Hey Canada, UK, I see your visits here; I know you’re reading...you have a bit of poverty too. It’s not just the pork-bellied Americans who can do more, and I like International Face Slapping as much as anyone else.
So. I leave it to you now, the Internet privileged masses. Oprah references Maya Angelou all the time, and I’m practically the same as Oprah:
“When you know better, you do better.”