There is a disturbing trend in our nation (and possibly globally) to air our dirty laundry publicly. We use the internet as a sort of “Cyber Clothesline”, where we hang out information about ourselves that we’d never even consider displaying in real life. I have long suspected that the “Com Box” is going to be the downfall of our civilization. People will say all sorts of mean things in comment boxes that they would never have the courage to say to someone’s face. Ever. I have seen some of the most irrelevant, yet hateful speech in these comment boxes. Don’t believe me? Just check out the Weather Channel. I promise you, no matter what major weather event is happening, someone will mention politics, which will offend someone else, and it will go straight downhill from there. And without fail, it will get UGLY.
And lately I’ve noticed that this trend of “honesty” is bleeding out into other areas of people’s lives. One of the new things that absolutely makes me crazy is “GoFundMe”, and other like sites. Let me explain. I remember, as a child, when a family in our community had a big need but little means, we would see jars all over town with a photograph of perhaps a child who had a serious illness, with a little blurb asking for donations to help defray medical costs, or some such. The community would rally around and raise money to help the needy family. And, when used appropriately, I think sites like “GoFundMe” serve a great purpose. But so often, they are not used appropriately.
But today it just seems that anyone who thinks they’d like a few more bucks can set up a website begging for money! I’ve seen all sorts of stuff that just makes me want to scream! I understand that families need money. I’ve sold off so many of our belongings over the years just to buy groceries. Years ago, our family even made use of WIC. But we never broadcast that sort of stuff. It was private, and even shameful. If you couldn’t afford something when I was growing up, well, you just didn’t get it. Period.
A couple of months ago, I saw a Facebook post by a woman who’d set up an online account and was begging complete strangers to give her money so she could go take a Neonatal Resuscitation Course! She is apparently a student midwife (like me) and we are all required to take an approved NRP course. But this woman wanted to take one of the more expensive courses, and felt like we should all chip in to help her out! Really? If you can’t afford it, perhaps it’s not yet time to go to school. Just a thought. I saved my money and paid my own way. It’s how I was raised.
I also have seen various folks get on Facebook and start whining about how much money they don’t have, and how desperate they are. I’m not talking about a single prayer request, but an ongoing theme of poor-mouthing. Here’s a tip: if you are self-employed, offering some sort of service, folks don’t want to give their business to someone who’s always carrying on about needing more money. People start to feel like you’re not really interested in them, or even in the service you’re providing. It’s all about you, you, you, and the money, money, money. And, since there’s never enough of it, we, the consumers, can only conclude that you are a poor manager of your resources. I, personally, will not do business with someone like that. I want to support people who seem to know what they’re doing and exude some sort of confidence and success. I tend to believe they are better able to provide the services they’re offering than someone who’s so caught up in their own desperation that they can’t see past the end of their own bank account.
My Daddy always said you don’t go airing your dirty laundry. Maybe that’s a Southern thing. Maybe it’s the sin of pride. All I know is that it’s ridiculous how people will prostitute themselves online for practically anything, and call it a worthy “cause”. But then I guess it’s just the logical, modern extension of those ‘beggars’ under the overpasses all over Austin. Dignity is becoming a lost art.