A Worthy Cause
A long time ago, when I was young and impressionable (I think I was 20 at the time), I read a newspaper headline and then the article below. I don’t remember the article, because I was so disappointed in it. You see, I was very tired, and misread the headline. What it was, was two headlines, separated by a thin vertical line, the first headline reading, “Refugees sail on a leaking boat,” and the second, next to it, “Learning to scuba dive off of the coast of Bora Bora.”
So, imagine my genuine puzzlement and dissatisfaction when I did not read about refugees learning to scuba dive. I thought, here was a charity worthy of the attention and support of the very, very rich (the 1 percent of the 1 percent) — a charity that has no actual point to it.
That was a very uncharitable thought of me. Plenty of super rich folks not only give to great charities, they create their own fantastic charities. I was actually thinking this scuba diving class for refugees was something out of a dark comedy — where the rich could be scammed by some clever, lovable con artist, and they’re so stupid they’ll think it’s a real and worthy cause. You know, because we all know the rich got rich because they’re always so stupid … and they always part with their money so easily. Sometimes, I think that Hollywood writers are all 17-year-olds who get high and toss around ideas and then pitch them to their uncles who are studio bosses.
And yet this vision, this absurd image of scuba diving refugees (in a leaky boat) would not leave me. I’ve created a whole campaign around it, with a slogan — “Don’t let them perish!” It made its own sense, I mean, who needs scuba diving more than refugees on leaky boats? Besides, everything was possible, once the logistics could be figured out: like, where the refugees could get training from professional instructors, quality equipment, pool time, and depending on which country they were coming from … well, you can see how obsessed I have become with this, especially over the last few years.
I think this occurred because of my job. I’m a jingle writer for an advertising firm. The pay is wonderful, but in helping sell deodorant, beer, and cars, I feel like I’m not contributing much to the world. Ever. Of course, I donate to charity, both in volunteer time and in funds, but it just feels to me that my life doesn’t have that higher purpose that makes other people’s lives so much more rewarding.
And these charities out there, even the ones I contribute to, while absolutely worthy, don’t call to my soul. So, I figured that while I’m 30, still unmarried, I could talk to my financial advisor, and see if I can make this foolish dream of mine a reality — maybe get a few backers.
Even if one refugee gets to touch a sea turtle, it would all be worth it.