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"Serial Bus is a place for me to dump interesting links that I find."


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Every time a phone rings, an angel gets no wings

I'm reading the book Choke at work. In it, the main character makes money by letting people save him (and he's also a historical reenactor but that's beside the point). He goes to restaurants, pretends to choke on something, and then lets someone be the hero and save him.
"Somebody saves your life, and they'll love you forever. [...] It's as if you're now their child. For the rest of their lives, these people will write me. Send me cards on the anniversary. Birthday cards. It's depressing how many people get this same idea. They call you on the phone. To find out if you're feeling okay. To see if you maybe need cheering up. Or cash. [...] You're the proof of their courage. The proof they were a hero. Evidence of their success. I do this because everybody wants to save a human life with a hundred people watching."

Basically people give money to him not to do good, he argues, but to feel like they're someone that does good.

While reading this, I got a phone call at work from a charity. She asked if I was familiar with their charity. I replied I wasn't. She asked if she could give me their website address and a call back the following week. Sure I said. Trying to make me get a taste of that hero feeling, she replied, "Oh thank you so much Mike; you're an angel."

I wasn't aware the prerequisite for angel-dom was typing a few letters into Firefox and hitting enter. I thought it at least involved a bell or Jimmy Stewart or something.

Today I got a phone call. I did my standard greeting. She asked for Mike. I said speaking.

"Oh hiiii sweetie how are you this is [name] from [organization]" she said all in one breath
"I'm doing well how about yourself?"
"Just great. It turns out my son is going to be coming home from Iraq early."
"That's great!" I said. And it is great. I'm genuinely happy for her; it must be great to have your son come back from Iraq. But somehow I'm not sure this is entirely relevant to me donating money to her charity. I'm sure everyone on her phone list must know her son is coming back.
"Yeah he wasn't going to be coming back until February but he's coming back early it turns out"
"Hey that's great news"
"Yeah, it's nice to be able to spread around some great news for a change. It kind of makes you a little teary eyed in a happy way." She then shifted tone. "So what are we going to be doing this year? Calendars? Cards?" she asked, referring of course to my assumed angel-like donation.
"Actually, I think I'll be passing this year, sorry."
"Nothing at all this year? You [referring to my company] passed last year also." Here she is with her son coming back from Iraq and I have to ruin the excitement.
"Yeah, sorry, I'm going to pass."
"Not even Christmas cards?"
"Unfortunately no. But I am really glad your son is coming back from Iraq."
"Thank you. Goodbye now. Talk to you next year."

They certainly know how to work the phones over there. And while I'm sure they have a great cause, it's a shame they have to do so much on the phone to try and play up your emotions and make you feel like a great person for doing it.

I'm curious about the Christmas cards now. I wonder if on the back--or the front for that matter--if they announce that the sender is a great person who gives money to the disabled. Or perhaps they just forgo that in favor of making your face sit atop winged shoulders on the front of the card.

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