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!


9 thoughts on “What’s the Point?

  1. First of all, I love glitter!!! 😉

    Secondly, one of my coworkers just asked us to buy Little Caesar’s pizza kits for one of her kids’ fundraisers. Ummmm, no. If I’m going to eat Little Caesar’s pizza I don’t want to put it together myself. That’s why I order pizza. If I wanted to make pizza, I would go to the grocery store and buy a shell and the toppings.

    I will share with you the best school fundraiser idea EVER! In my old apartment I voted at this elementary school across the street. They made baked goods and bought Dunkin Donuts coffee for people in line. There weren’t even prices – it was just donations. Freaking brilliant. The line was long, the weather was freezing and here come the kids pushing a cart with warm coffee. Here’s my $10, kids. Enjoy your trip to Colonial Williamsburg. 😉

  2. Too funny! I know just what you mean about the pizza kits. Recently I was offered four free meals from Plated to be delivered right to my door. How awesome was that!? Except…they bring you the raw ingredients and you put it together. At first I was like, “Hmmm?” But it’s free, so, okay, I can get behind that. But then they tell you it’s $20 for delivery. So I say, “Thanks, but no thanks. I can take that $20 and buy my own chicken and spices and rice.” For $20, I’d rather order some Chinese and have it come to my door all hot and prepared.
    We do the same type of fundraising with the baked goods. My only issue personally with this is that the money I end up spending making the cookies and brownies, I would rather just hand them over $20 and make everyone happy. Lol. Everything seems to be a total timesuck anymore. Or maybe I’m getting super lazy and crotchety in my older age. 🙂

  3. I have no rants but I loved this, “And if you want your stories to be read and appreciated by others, maybe you shouldn’t wait for that to happen.” Don’t get stuck in the Waiting Game! Hugs to you Kim. xoxoxoxox

  4. Love it! Hubby got so sick of the CCD candy fundraiser, he bought all the candy himself and handed it out to friends at work. Brilliant, imho.

    Another friend has the charge of selling candy for her daughter’s cheer camp each summer. So I take two boxes, print a picture of her and the words “Help Send Shannon to Cheer Camp.” I also allow the students, ONLY WHEN THEY BUY THE CANDY, to eat in the library. Win, win!

    Rants, though? Cold calls that trigger my answering machine. I’m sick of my own voice and wish I could a machine that didn’t play an audible (to me) message. On the other hand, I have a butler: my answering machine. “Madam is not at home.”

    1. Love the “Madam is not at home.” I’m totally using that!
      When my girls were in Girl Scouts, I would buy 24 boxes of cookies so that could each get their patches (had to sell 12). Then I would give them to teachers (or eat them.) I hated selling those cookies! So glad those days are done.

  5. Hi, Kim! I agree with you on the stick figure stickers on car windows. What am I supposed to do with that distracting information about random strangers?

    Charity merchandise… Yeah, I’m torn about this one. I donate monthly to a few charities close to my heart. There are some very worthy causes that receive little publicity, so T-shirts, etc, can be a way of raising awareness and attracting donations. But it does concern me when charities send me unsolicited teddy bears, pens, address labels, even 5-cent coins, and ask for a donation in return. How many people just chuck these packages away without giving a donation? Isn’t that a waste of the charities’ funds?

    Thanks for letting me get that rant off my chest!

  6. I agree 100%, Diana. Things are way too complicated and not very effective. Great way to word it. I also agree about Brenda Novak’s auction. Love it!

  7. I agree with some types of charity merchandise, but the homeless? Who doesn’t know that it’s a problem? And if you don’t, I’m not sure a t-shirt is going to hammer the point home. 🙂 I give plenty to charity without requiring little token gifts. I don’t need them! Just let me give. I don’t need anything in return. Isn’t that what giving is about? Loved the episode on FRIENDS when Joey is doing the telethon and Phoebe is trying to give money without getting anything in return….so funny.

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