I watched back-to-back episodes of “Cops”, and extended news coverage of Occupy Wall Street late into the night, so it’s hardly surprising I was in the middle of some weird dreams when my brain decided to get me up at 4am this morning. (For an explanation of why my brain would do something like that to me, check out Looking for Mr. Morpheus.)
I couldn’t get the theme song from “Cops” out of my head. You know,
Bad boyz, bad boyz, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
It wasn’t the police I was thinking about, though. I don’t expect them to show up at my door anytime soon, unless it’s to collect for the Policemen’s Benevolent Society (sorry, I gave at the office). No, I’m thinking about a different “they”. An immortal “they”. Cosmic cops. Angels of death.
What am I gonna have to show for it when it’s time to shuffle off this mortal coil? What am I gonna do about it? Whatcha gonna do, boyz?
That message got mixed up in my sleepy mind with the 99% vs 1% metric that the Occupy Wall Street folks have been tossing around. I admit to having little sympathy for them, as most strike me as rather self-indulgent, vague and whiny. But I couldn’t shake that statistic. It resonated with me like this:
Just 1% of the population is doing something about the “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” rule. The rest of us 99%, are sitting around on our asses, waiting for somebody to do something unto us.
(I have no idea if this statistic has any validity but I don’t have to prove it. It’s catchy.)
Sometimes life can be pretty lousy. The good news is, there’s usually somebody nearby who has it even worse than we do. (That’s also the bad news, by the way.) Don’t you think it’s time for us, the 99%, to do something about this? Just a little something. Almost anything, really. Something to help.
Here are some things I’ve been thinking of. When I say “you”, I really mean “us”:
Got Money? If you’ve got some to spare, why not put your money where your heart is? Find a cause that’s dear to you. Do a little research, pick a charity that will use your hard earned $$ right, and send some of it to them.
The Salvation Army kettle guys are already out, shivering and shaking their bells. How about this Christmas season, we don’t pass one by without emptying our pockets? Every single time. With no cheating like skipping a store you were headed to just because you heard the bells outside it. Let’s get weighted down with lots of jingly, jangly coins, just to remind ourselves to be generous.
Only the lonely. Spend some time with somebody who is alone. Especially the elderly. Visit a shut-in you know, or ask a local church for a referral. Go to a nursing home and just talk and listen. Call your grandma.
It’s raining cats and dogs. Animal shelters need help. Drop off kibble and litter. Offer to walk the dogs and pet the cats. Invest in a heavy-duty clothespin for your nose, and clean out the cages.
Give us this day. Collect for the local food pantry. Offer to pick up, or distribute food. When you go grocery shopping, buy two of the stock-up specials: one for you, and one for the food pantry. Work at a soup kitchen more often than just on Thanksgiving Day.
Home is where the heart is. Volunteer for a shift at a homeless shelter. Drop off food, clothes and bedding. Get a group together and offer to bring dinner; just one night per month is all you need to do. Ask what’s on their wish list, and try to make it come true.
Go clubbing. Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions, Jaycees. We’ve all heard the jokes about middle-aged white men in funny hats. But these are real people, doing real good to improve their communities, and often the wider world community. Get to know them and see what you can do.
Read the handwriting on the wall. Become an Adult Literacy tutor, and help other adults learn to read or get their GED. Mentor a determined immigrant struggling to master English As a Second Language. Reading really IS fundamental to succeed in life.
Chain, chain, chain. Make it personal. Start a Helping Hands, Neighborhood Angels or whatever you want to call it at your school/church/community. Establish a phone chain of people who can be called to provide one night’s meal for families going through a rough patch due to illness, death or a new baby.
Pedal to the metal. Are you the local Mario Andretti? Use your car to bring Meals on Wheels to the elderly. Take those who are homebound, alone or sick to doctor appointments. Check with your local hospitals and churches for those in need.
Bust in the double doors… and hit your knees. Get to know God. Make a commitment and join a church, synagogue, or mosque. Meet up with people of faith. Pray.
Play nice. Be more patient, softer, kinder to people you deal with every day. Even the annoying people. Even your family. Especially your family. Let’s be aware that, even if we curb our words, our anger, frustration and impatience often come through in our voices, especially to children (and pets. Sorry, Beeby Cat.)
This is probably the hardest thing on this list. We often treat those nearest and dearest to us with the least care, and save our smiling politeness for strangers.
There you have it – the 99% Solution. Most of these suggestions pertain to the USA, but there are sure to be equivalents in other countries. I know you have lots of better ideas up your sleeves.
Maybe if 99% of us decided to take a little time, and do a little something to help somebody else, we could make the world a little better.
And that wouldn’t be too bad, boyz and girlz.