Recent events have reminded me to tell you about my very pleasing and successful concept of Spite Charity. The idea is this: when someone (or a group of someones) pisses you off on the subject of a cause you care about, donate money to the side of the cause you prefer. Did your grandma spend the entire holiday grousing about how in her day no one did any of this ridiculous recycling, and she for one was going to continue stuffing her milk cartons into the non-see-through trash bags? Did you have to listen to your nutcase uncle talk about how a certain ethnic group is none too bright but they ARE good-looking, he'll give them that much? Did a Facebook friend post a completely untrue and unfair political remark about a candidate you support? There's a non-profit organization for that---and it can be a real thrill, writing that check.
Furthermore, it can lead to increased peace of mind: instead of feeling like you're flailing futilely/weakly against a relentless tide of unpleasant and unshakable opinions, you can feel like you are funding the armies of goodness and righteousness. It's like sneaking a box of guns across enemy lines, behind the back of the person talking to you, while appearing attentive and respectful to what they're saying.
Now, it is possible that you have so many friends and Facebook friends and relatives and acquaintances and co-workers and Twitter friends who are, shall we say, outspoken about things, that right now you are thinking you really like this idea except that it will bankrupt you. In that case, I recommend the tally-mark system. Put up a piece of paper up in a convenient place (or tuck it in a drawer or keep it in your purse if seeing it all the time will rile you, or if other people will make things awkward for you by asking about it), and divide it into sections, one section for each topic that makes repeated appearances. Choose a corresponding charity to represent each topic. Each time you clench your teeth over a remark, add a little tally mark to the appropriate category.
Each mark can be worth whatever fits your budget; for example, perhaps each mark can be worth a dollar, and when you hit twenty marks you send a check for $20 to that category's charity. Or each mark can be worth 25 cents, or five dollars, or whatever comes out right for how many remarks you hear and how much money you'd like to give. You could also copy the swear-jar system, and mark up a group of jars. Each time a remark bugs you, put a quarter in the corresponding jar.
Not only will either of these systems keep track of your spite charity donations for you, you will have refreshed appreciation for how much crap you maturely listen to without clawing at anyone's face.
Gift ideas for an 8-year-old, part 1 of 2 - I have TWO 8-year-olds to buy for, so I’m going to split it up into two posts. Today will be the things we’re getting for Edward. I dislike saying “Gift id...