What’s the Point?

Our actions should have points to them. Characters in books generally have a point—an arc that shows where they’ve been and where they’re going. But sometimes I feel like nothing has a real point, or we’ve covered the real thing with glitter to hide the underlying problem.
Here are things that I can’t quite understand. What’s the point?

Giving free t-shirts to participants in walks for the homeless. Ummm. Not sure I get this one. I have five kids who have participated for years at their school. They get free shirts and walk around the school to help the homeless. First of all let me say quite clearly that our family volunteers and gives plenty to our local community action center. I’m not being insensitive here. I’m just wondering if we couldn’t serve the homeless a little better by actually giving them plain t-shirts or the money that it costs the companies to make them. Wouldn’t that serve the homeless a little better? I get that it’s publicity, but do the people who actually care about the homeless need the visual reminder?

Putting flyers under the windshield of cars. First of all, I WILL NEVER BUY ANYTHING THAT IRRITATES ME. And pulling random pieces of paper out from under my windshield irritates me. I’m wondering what the point of this is? I think that should be illegal. Generally the outcome is hundreds of pointless flyers littering the parking lot and lots of irritated people driving and trying to get the annoying flyer off their windshields.

Breast cancer awareness walks. I know I’m going to get people screaming in outrage for this one, but just hear me out. I’m not a great lover of breast cancer. Almost everyone has been affected by breast cancer in some way or another. We are either a survivor, know a survivor or have attended a funeral of one who didn’t survive. I just don’t understand the solidarity thing of the walk. Where are the pancreatic or prostrate walkers? Where are the walks for brain tumors? And just because someone is walking for a cure for breast cancer doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to be excited to give you money. I can give my own money in my own way for whatever charity or research I want. I don’t really care how many miles you walk for whatever reason. Just go out walk, and I’ll donate where I think best.

Bumper stickers. Who cares where your kid goes to school or if they’re on the freaking honor roll? Who cares if you’re pro-life or pro-choice? Who cares if you’re a vegetarian or a marathon runner or whatever else you think is important? Are you going to have a long-term relationship with the person behind you at a stoplight? No! And don’t get me started with the stick-figure families on the back of minivans. I have a family. That’s not what they look like at all.

Wrapping paper fundraisers. I hate you! I hate the package that comes home from school. I hate the order form and the little prizes the kids can win from making our friends and loved ones buy crappy wrapping paper. Who thought this was EVER a good fundraiser? It’s a waste of paper all around. The amount of trees that this stupid fundraiser kills is just plain awful. Trees for the order sheets and magazines showcasing overpriced wrapping paper. Then the wrapping paper itself. Then the boxes that transport the overpriced products. And then the kids get their fabulous plastic lead-filled toys from China. Woo hoo!  A winning situation all the way around!

Which brings me to my last rant of the day. Writing and publication. Why do people write stories? If we’re in the business as a business and plan to make an easy six-figure deal and glide through the whole process stress-free, then my hats go off to you if you succeed. I always said I couldn’t understand self-publishing. Why do people self-publish if they aren’t good enough for a traditional publisher? Well, I’ve changed my tune on that. It gets back to the point. What’s the point of writing? If it’s so that you can share your stories with others and make them love your characters like you love them, then what’s wrong with getting those books out there so others can enjoy them?

There should be a point to what we do. We shouldn’t get caught up in the glittery wrapping paper of life. Uncover the real points. If you want to get involved with helping the homeless, organize a food drive. If you want to help those with breast cancer, make some meals for the family or offer to help on a personal level in some other way. If you want to support your kids in school, support them with a monetary donation or give your time instead of clogging up landfills with crappy, overpriced and glittery wrapping paper. And if you want your stories to be read and appreciated by others, maybe you shouldn’t wait for that to happen.

What’s the point? Ask yourself.

Is there anything that bothers you or you think is pointless?  Here’s your chance to rant!