How about it, my dear reader? Do you feel like starting a little revolution? I’ve got nothing better to do and I figured it might be fun. :)
WHAT ARE WE REBELLING AGAINST?
So, what are we rebelling against, you ask? Materialism. Consumerism. Apathy. Injustice. The feeling that all the problems we face are impossible to solve. And, above all, our irrational reluctance to love our fellow man.
WHAT DO WE HAVE TO OFFER?
If you are on board, then I think the operative question becomes: what can we offer to this revolution? More to the point, what do we possess that might prove useful to changing our world? Some people bring their own particular strengths to bear when it comes to overthrowing the old order. Lenin had an overpowering intellect and a ruthless purpose of mind. Margaret Thatcher had experience, intelligence and a charm all her own. Clinton was the consummate technocrat. As for myself, at this point in my life, I just don’t have a fully-defined world view and/or the real-life experience that could prove useful in a revolution. Give me some time and maybe I will get there. For now, all I can contribute is this:
FIRST LET’S HAVE SOME FUN!
I always wanted to be in the Sopranos:
I am leaving my law firm. Maybe I should consider a career at Chip ‘n Dales:
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Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself:
Ok, now that we got that out of the way, let’s start plotting our revolution!
The plot is actually fairly straightforward: give away a sizable amount of money I don’t really need to random people. Here are the basics:
*Stuff blank envelopes with bills of random denominations.
*Include a note with the following narrative:
“To the person who finds this envelope,
I am a person who has enough. Take this money and use it as you wish. In return, I hope you can search within yourself and realize that all that matters in life is love. So, call your family. Help a friend. Lend a stranger a hand. In the end, all we have is each other.”
*Drop off the envelopes at random and not so random locations throughout the East Coast.
*Separately, send anonymous donations to (1) a variety of organizations and non-profits I support; as well as (2) certain bloggers chosen at random.
* Hope that in some small measure, these hundreds of random, anonymous, convention-upending acts of social rebellion spark something meaningful and essential in the collective unconscious of our world.
Unrealistic? Probably. Idealistic? Absolutely.
I CHALLENGE YOU
Why don’t YOU get in on the fun? I challenge you, my dear reader, to take the time this very day to express your love and kindness to (1) someone you care about, as well as (2) a total stranger. There are sooo many things you can choose from:
*Hug your kids and tell them you love them
*Call your grandparents
*Help a friend move
*Sign up to volunteer
*Donate to a local charity
The list is endless. If you take up this challenge do let me know what awesome, SIMPLE, things you decided to do.
Spread the word. Remember: a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.
After the whole diploma burning thing, I came to the conclusion that it is a good idea to provide added context when it comes to some of my posts. I am still amazed how normal, rational people can have such intense, knee-jerk reactions to anything that appears out of the ordinary (have you seen some of the comments left on YouTube? Woa…). This time, I figured I would anticipate some of the questions/comments people might have. Here you go:
Come on, Jack, you must be insane!
Maybe a little. :)
If one of the prerequisites for insanity is the inability to reason then I think I’m in the clear. This didn’t happen out of the blue. I thought long and hard about how to do this the right way. I searched within myself to figure out what I want out of life, the kind of life I want to live and the kind of world I want to leave our children. I made a detailed budget that was realistic and incorporated contingencies, changing needs, and everything else that I felt I would need to live a simple, yet meaningful life for ME. After I finalized the budget I realized there was some money left over. This posed a quandary. Extra money meant that I had the following options: (1) leave the money in the bank to collect interest; (2) upgrade my lifestyle; or (3) give the money away. Leaving the money in the bank is certainly an attractive option, but I fail to see the point of keeping money stashed away for no reason. As for upgrading my lifestyle, that makes absolutely no sense to me. The budget I came up with, by definition, represents an opportunity to live the life I want to live without the need for anything but a steady, meaningful, super-low-paying job.
What’s crazier? Giving away money you don’t need OR voluntarily upgrading your lifestyle so that you are forced to spend MORE money, in order to have MORE stuff that would actually mean MORE headaches for myself and my family and putting MORE strain on our natural resources? I’ll let you, my dear reader, be the judge.
If people will find the money randomly, how can you be sure that people who need the money will actually get it?
I am, in fact, leaving some envelopes at certain targeted locations (missions, churches, shelters, etc…). Beyond that, I want to make something very clear: the focus of the Giveaway is NOT about giving people charity. My hope is that hundreds of small but meaningful surprises can lead to hundreds or even thousands of selfless, loving acts of kindness. The person who has nothing and finds an envelope with $50 dollars will, indeed, be ecstatic. The person who actually has something and finds an envelope with $20 dollars may be moved to give away $100 to several people who have nothing.
Why can’t you just give the money to family?
I’ve already made certain arrangements, particularly with respect to my mom. The budget I came up with takes this into account.
But, wait, if you are just giving cash away anonymously aren’t you missing out on 501.(c)(3)-type tax deductions?
Yeah. On the other hand, I’ve reviewed my tax situation for this year and as it turns out it will probably be a wash: I won’t owe anything AND will not be getting much of a refund. Ergo, declaring a charitable contribution won’t help me much. Besides, there is something about giving stuff away anonymously that may be lost if I had to declare it on my taxes.
Jack, you are nothing but a crazy lefty-hippie!
Far from it. I think most people would be surprised if they knew my political leanings. On the other hand, for any of you bona fide hippies out there keep in mind that I’m partial to free love and rock and roll. Specially the free love part…[Hint, Hint!].
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As of today, the plot has essentially come to fruition. Only a couple of dozen more envelopes left to drop off. Expect additional pics and video later this week.