The lolz dolls, and basically everyone else I know listen religiously to a local morning radio show, The Dave Ryan in the Morning Show because they always talk about drama which is fun to text about and helps my drive not suck so much. So in general, I have good feelings towards the show and have listened most mornings for the last 10+ years. But I have to take a break every December, which really blows. I have to spend the dumbest adjusting-to-the-freezing-car mornings trying to listen to something that doesn’t make me want to kill myself for freezing to death and going to work when I could be in my warm bed.
The reason is that every December the show does this thing called “Christmas Wish” where they grant wishes to needy families. It works by someone writing a letter to the station and explaining
There are two reasons I can’t deal with this, so I choose to be miserable in my car for an entire month:
1) I’m a crier. I cry when there is a sad commercial on or every time I see one of those pics of a veteran coming home and hugging their dog for the first time so fuck if I am the kind of person who can listen to someone get a life changing gift from the community without weeping the entire time and showing up at work with all my makeup cried off and swollen/red eyes. I have a real job and I can’t show up looking like a mess every day for a month.
2. This is a weird form of charity. I totally understand when something bad happens to a family in your community and you want to help out. They aren’t starving kids in Africa but they’re your community. The radio station’s listening area is a giant community and this is their way of doing that.
But here’s an example of a wish: a family has a dad that has some back problems as a result of serving in the military. They recently had a house fire and lost most of their possessions. KDWB surprised them with a $200 grocery store gift card, $100 gas card, $200 target card, $100 panera bread card, $100 cheesecake factory card, $300 gymboree card, $200 old navy card (maybe a few others I forgot), and a $2,000 furniture store card so they can buy furniture to replace theirs that was burned down.
I want to reiterate that I think this is so great that this is happening, but why does a house just burn down in America and all your possessions are gone. Isn’t that what insurance is for? Why is no one addressing this? Maybe we should pay legal fees to get their insurance money? A recurring theme of Christmas Wish families is a medical condition or unforeseen natural disaster like this and the insurance company not paying so suddenly a middle class family is destitute. Why is this sliding by? This isn’t even an issue of building safety nets into the economy, insurance is something you pay for in the event something like this happens, we need to figure out why it is not working the way that it should.
I’m a big picture person and helping one family is going to warm your heart and feel great, but it doesn’t prevent more families from falling into that situation and it’s not addressing the wider problems that need to be solved in order for this to not happen.
The second part of this is the amount of stuff the family gets. I am so happy the kids in this family will get a bunch of clothes to replace those that were destroyed in the fire. If a fire damaged my apartment right now, like, I just don’t have expensive things for it to ruin. That’s kind of okay, that’s the place I’m at in life and obviously this family is past that but it’s weird that someone not having something you also don’t have is cause for a huge concern in one case and not in another case. To say this a little more clearly: But this whole month-long event is focused on restoring fallen middle class families and I have to think about the poor families that it doesn’t help at all.
One of the criteria to be a Christmas Wish family is that you have some kind of interesting problem, you can’t just be poor- there has to be a compelling reason you are poor like a sudden medical issue, fire, natural disaster, death in the family, etc. This feels gross and exploitative.
You also have to be poor “through no fault of your own.” So families that grow up poor and never learn to manage their finances (where would they learn?) are out of the picture. I don’t think that’s right because it assumes that everyone is born knowing how to manage money and that people who make mistakes deserve to be poor.
So, my inclination is that it’s a beneficial (if weird and misguided and self-congratulatory) thing that isn’t for me, so I should just ignore it. I don’t want it to go away from the families it helps, it’s just… annoying.
Agree to disagree.