Monday, December 04, 2006

What Burns My Ass

My Dad loves to say, "You know what burns my ass? A flame about 3 feet high." Yeah... I know... its not so surprising that the South lost the war, is it?

I would like to begin a formal list of Things That Burn My Ass in response to something that happened to me today. My list starts with Fundraising Bullies Who Stop You In The Middle Of The Block.

Picture it: Downtown, Chicago, Illinois. December 4, 2006. (How Sophia from THE GOLDEN GIRLS can I get?!?!?)

Around 5:00 p.m., I leave Season of Concern and walk over to the Goodman to drop off more collection cans and AIDS Awareness red ribbons because not only are they collecting for us after every performance of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, but now they will also be collecting after performances of the other show running at the same time, FRANK'S HOME. Thank you, Goodman Theatre!!!

I leave the Goodman and walk over to State Street to catch the 145 or 146 bus home and I get stopped by one of "those people"...

...the aforementioned Fundraising Bullies Who Stop You In The Middle Of The Block.

Those sly fuckers who all wear the same colorful t-shirt usually with a globe or a tree on it, carry big black binders full of "Donation Forms" and line up across an entire city block so you have to play "Red Rover, Red Rover" with them and if you don't make it past them, they trap you in a conversation by saying something like...

"Excuse me. Do you have one minute to talk about the environment?"

The question is formed to perfection, because if you say what you really want to say, you come off looking like an asshole. What I want to say is...

"No, I don't have one minute to talk about the environment. I'm a single fag with no potential at present to raise any children of my own and my only other sibling is also a SF w/NC ("Single Fag with No Children"), so my family line ends when the two of us die. That means that in 50 or 60 years, there won't be any Raders wasting this planet's fossil fuels or damaging its ozone layer or melting its polar ice caps. The homosexuality of Stephen and Jeff Rader is our GIFT to the environment. You should be paying me to suck cock!"

Somehow, I doubt that would be an appropriate answer to give this money-grabbing leech with so many families from Schaumberg Christmas shopping all around me.

Today wasn't one of the Save the Planet guys, though. Today was one of the Save the Children guys.

He walked right in front of me, wouldn't let me pass and started talking a mile a minute so I couldn't get a word in to say, "No, thank you." He wasn't going to let me say a thing until he had told me how easy it was for me to give him all my personal banking information there on the street and then they would deduct $30 or so dollars from my account every month.

Baby, if I'm gonna give you all my banking information, credit card numbers and authorize you to debit funds from my account, you better have no gag reflex or a trick pelvis cause when a man puts a quarter in a jukebox, he wants to hear a song! You ready to sing, little donor man?!?!?

As he was trying to put a pen in my hand, I finally got the opportunity to say, "Sorry, the funds I donate to charities are already over-committed for the year."

This punk-ass brat said, "Yeah? Like what?"

I walked away.

The thing is, if this organization had approached me in another way, I probably would have signed up to give them some sort of financial support. I just can't stand being attacked on the street when all I want to do is get from Point A to Point B. And when its friggin' 15 degrees outside, the last thing I want is for some Suicide Fundraiser to keep me standing outside in the bitter cold. Its just plain rude.

And as a delightful old woman who I held the door open for in Savannah said to me this past September, "Thank you, that was very kind. You know, so many people forget - - good manners are free."

I work very hard to thank the people who support Season of Concern and not bully them into donating. When I was at the Steppenwolf this past Friday for their World AIDS Day benefit performance of SONIA FLEW, the man who organized the entire event, John Zinn, thanked me for being there. That always amazes me...

First of all, I showed up, had a couple of free cocktails and some great nibbly-things. He did all the planning, organized the evening, ordered the food, marketed the event, etc. The only person who needs to be thanked - - and often - - is him.

Secondly, I am not Season of Concern. I'm the lucky man who gets to receive all of the good will sent in by so many compassionate artists throughout Chicago and then I get to give out that good will to people who really need it. I get to see firsthand the impact that we have on so many lives. But that doesn't make me Season of Concern.

Season of Concern is every actor who holds a collection can, every audience member who gives us a dollar, every singer who organizes a cabaret benefit, every person who gives a post-show curtain speech, every artist who sends me a donation in honor of their show in lieu of opening night gifts to the cast. Those people are really the organization.

Its one thing to ask someone for their financial support. Its quite another thing to intimidate or guilt people into supporting your cause.

So this is for that Donations Bully who stopped me on State Street...

And I don't mean "Suck a Butt" in a good way, either!

Although, I love that this particular Happy Bunny can be used as both an insult and an invitation. Lovely...


Alanda said...

Those SAVE THE CHILDRREN assholes are the WORST! Relentless & mean spirited! One thing that helps is if you look like you're on the phone. Ha!

Stephen said...

Alanda - Trust me, I usually use my cell phone as a shield to keep them from attacking me, but this guy came out of nowhere. Oy...