Fier Thy Words

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Spare a Buck: If you Don’t Give to Another Charity, Give to Mine


by Scott Spinelli

Guilt is a part of my life. There’s really no way around it.

Italian guilt, from my dad’s side, tends to be angrier. Jewish guilt, from my mom’s side, tends to be more subtle, with the intent of solely making you feel bad about yourself.

“Listen, if you don’t want to call your aunt for her birthday, I guess it’s not really a huge deal, but it’s ultimately up to you.”

One of the worst forms of guilt comes from when people ask you for donations. I could be a billionaire, it still wouldn’t matter, I feel like I’m always inventing excuses to not give to these people.

Is that horrible? Does that make me a terrible person? Likely, but, in fairness, if you’re reading this and you’re human, there’s a more than strong chance you’ve been in the situation I’m describing.

“Sir, excuse me, sir, could you spare a dollar for Ronald McDonald House?”

I even could have just come from the strip club, pockets filled with singles.

“Mmmmm…wow…You really did catch me at a bad time, I’m sorry.”

How about the people who ask for change – the “do you have any spare change?” people. First of all, let’s give them credit. They’re not stupid, they know that every single person they’re asking has some form of change because they just came from some place where change is given.

So when you say: “I’m sorry man, I don’t have any change.” Is this person to actually believe I just bought something with exact change? My grocery bill, for the first time ever in the history of groceries or money came out to a whole number. Sorry, too bad.

The awful part about this is the people asking for the money and spare change generally do need it, and the people being asked for it generally do have it. Meeting the two in the middle – not so easy.

The worst kind of person is the person openly trying to fool you. The kind of person who asks for money outside of Chuck’s and is way too upfront about why they need the money.

“Can you spare a few bucks…Just whatever you could…I could use it…I have three kids on the way, two hospital bills to pay, two car payments…”

Something about that last one usually tips me off, and the old brain buzzer goes off.

This all being said, I’m about to pull the move I’ve been railing against the last 400-plus words.

“Excuse me, public of Syracuse, could you spare three dollars?”

Not bad, huh? My pitch is pretty similar to those other guys, but the difference is I’m offering something tangible in return for your money. Normally, all you get for your change donation is a good feeling that fades as soon as you remember you haven’t called your mom in a week.

Here’s what I’m offering in exchange for three dollar bills: A comedy show, with me, Alex Adelson, and Max Meisel. Yes, that Max Meisel.

The tickets are available at the Schine Box Office. You can also show up and any donations taken at the door (tickets aren’t mandatory), and all proceeds will go to Cystic Fibrosis, a condition that’s affected a cousin of mine.

Actually, correction, the donations will go to fighting Cystic Fibrosis, not just to Cystic Fibrosis.

Not to make a sob story of it – she’s doing all right, we’ve talked about putting her face all over the campus on fliers. Surprisingly she didn’t go for it.

Honestly, we didn’t talk about that, but I’ve had reservations about letting people know why I’m doing the show, as I’ve feared that it might make it seem like a charity case.

All of this said, I’d be lying if I said arrogance had nothing to do with it. I’m puffing my ego to an absolutely unmanageable size. Truth be told, I’m having trouble sleeping at night, my bed won’t support the new weight.

There are fliers all over campus with my ugly mug on it. In Schine, I actually convinced people to not only photograph me, but also to print out a larger-than-life poster with me on it. You want to talk about a freak out moment, I had one when I went to pick it up.

“Uhhh, I’m here to pick up the poster with…my own giant face on it.”

Arrogance mixed with a bit of desire to do something good for someone else. Now that’s not the worst combination in the world.

Scott Spinelli’s humor column appears every Thursday in the Daily Orange. He’s only got one more left, and he used his second to last one as a part promo. What an arrogant schmuck. He can be reached at


April 17, 2008 - Posted by | Spinelli

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