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Shrewsbury, Massachusetts – My wife and I are obviously on ever sucker list in creation since we constantly get phone calls and mailings seeking money from every charity known to humankind. It’s bad enough when they bother us at dinnertime or fill our mailbox with junk (causing heaven knows how many trees to be killed), but what I really resent is when their mailings contain a nickel in the hopes that we’ll feel guilty and send them something back. That strategy worked initially but now I just tear open the envelope, put the coin in my pocket, and throw the letter away. I hope they read this so they’ll stop.
Another annoyance is when telemarketers call and say they don’t want a donation but rather want us to send 10 envelopes to our neighbors on their charity’s behalf. We did that a few times and got zero responses so now we just beg off. Of course there are the weekly calls we get saying that a truck will be in our neighborhood next Tuesday hoping we have some old clothes to give them. We always save apparel that’s no longer wanted but how much can we accumulate in one week, and constantly tell them that. Regardless, each week we inevitably get another call.
The other day we received a letter from Planned Parenthood saying that our annual membership renewal was enclosed. I didn’t even know we were members, but since my wife often sends them a donation we’ve obviously become members for life. Who needs it?
Now I don’t know about others but personally I am not a joiner. Sure, when I was a kid growing up in Brooklyn I joined the Police Athletic League (PAL) and belonged to a club with other neighborhood boys, but it was merely a group of guys who played ball together or hung around for fun and camaraderie, surely nothing formal that contained set rules or specific times to meet. Whether or not you showed up didn’t really matter for there were no penalties, and no one cared about or even noticed an absence.
When in my 30s after being married for a while my brother-in-law asked me to join his lodge, a group similar to the Masons, and since I didn’t want to insult him I became a member and actually attended a few meetings. To me, being obligated to show up at weekly get-togethers with a bunch of older men who I didn’t know and didn’t particularly care for, having to sit through boring discussions just to be able to play cards afterwards was not only a waste of time but a big imposition. Not being a masochist, I soon stopped attending and never went back. What was the point?
After reaching the age of 72 when the company for which I worked no longer wanted my services I began thinking of things that I’d possibly like to do with my new-found free time, and one of the ideas that crossed my mind was building and flying a radio-controlled airplane. In the past I had worked with someone who was an airplane hobbyist so knew that I’d have to belong to a club since participation in that activity requires having a permit and insurance which only such a group can provide.
Doing some research I found an organization that met and flew their craft near the town where I lived, so after contacting them I went to one of their meets to see if it was my cup of tea. Unfortunately, hanging around with a bunch of retirees who spent most of their time tweaking their planes or waiting their turn to fly just didn’t light my fire so I gave up that notion before even getting started. Thanks, but if I can’t do something according to my own time and rules I’m just not interested.
So, to that charity that gave me an unrequested lifetime membership, all I can say is don’t expect me to attend any of your meetings or even contribute money to your cause on a regular basis since if I do, unlike the guys I hung around with in my youth, you’ll be sadly disappointed.