ssǝɹddns ɹou ɹɐǝɟ ɹǝɥʇıǝu plnoʍ ʎʇǝıɔos ǝǝɹɟ ʎlnɹʇ ɐ ʇɐɥʇ ƃuıʇnɔolɯnɔɹıɔ suıɐʇuoɔ ǝʇıs sıɥʇ

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Philanthrophy: Out of sight and out of mind

Graduation season is afoot. So, yesterday, I attended a graduation party rather than the gathering of The Saturday OT Committee and Operatic Society. And as far as future blogosphere gatherings are concerned, you people need to give me more advance warning.

I know these sorts of soirees always coincide with those high-stakes horse races. But the thing is, I pay horse racing about as much attention as I give my former mayor praise.

As far as my attending graduation parties is concerned, I’d rather have my skin peeled off and force-fed to me. Covered in barbeque sauce, of course.


Has anyone paid a visit to the new Sonic yet?

I had a job half rained out on me Friday, so I decided to hit the Orloski’s Lube Shop on Mundy Street for an oil change. Coming from Parsons, I stupidly passed my turn and continued down Kidder and waited to turn left into the mall entrance.

Needless to say, Sonic was flat-out bombed. Every one of those ordering stalls were filled with cars, there was a huge line at the drive-thru and there were people milling all about. With all of those stalls filled with perfectly lined up cars, it has this drive-in movie feel about the place. Weird.

But here’s the weirder part. The entrance to the place was essentially shut down. Yeah, the path was blocked by a guy wearing a high-visibility vest, he was waving a flashlight with an attached safety wand while standing in front of a wall of traffic cones. And with people wanting to get in there, this was creating an impromptu traffic snarl as confused drivers were stopping their vehicles dead in the water. With my path blocked, my confusion resulted in my joining the rubbernecking orgy. Or in more common parlance, what the (F-based curse word)?

Once I finally made my left turn towards Mundy Street, I encountered the first arrow-laden sign that read: Sonic Staging Lot. And there, just to my right, was this growing army of cars being jockeyed into a waiting line of sorts by more of these guys sporting the vests and the flashlights. What the (another F-bomb)?

While none of this makes sense to me--waiting in an hour-long line to snag a burger--it now makes sense to me when Sue Henry said on WILK that her kids waited over an hour to get into this burger joint. Now I understand.

While I understand the novelty aspect of all of this, the fact is, it’s easier to gain entrance to Giant’s Stadium when those cheap-shot, late-hit bastards from Philthydumpia head north than it is to get a shot at Sonic.

I don’t know anyone who’s actually toughed it out and made it in there, but you can read one local man’s review here.

So, if you’re planning on heading up to Sonic anytime soon, plan accordingly. And since we’re all alarmed over the quickening pace of homicides in this county of late, try cutting in that line and see if that doesn’t generate some more work for the district attorney’s office.

Good luck with that.

This one caught my eye:

Junior League raises funds for Ruth’s Place

The Junior League of Wilkes-Barre, a women’s philanthropic organization, will bestow a sizable donation to recently relocated homeless shelter Ruth’s Place during its 75th anniversary dinner on Tuesday.

The JLWB, comprised of 40 active members and more than 150 sustaining members, raised $24,000 for Ruth’s Place, which provides transitional housing for local homeless women.The Junior League’s mission is to meet community needs, especially those of women and children, said Jo-Anne Moss, the JLWB board adviser.

Moss joined the League in 1999, looking for volunteer opportunities after her son began high school.

“Now I’ve been here 10 years,” she said, taking a break from painting a room at the new Ruth’s Place shelter.

Trust me, I do not intend to bore you by railing against Ruth’s Place every time it gets a mention in the press. It’s in very, very close proximity to this modest adobe, it’s my idiot magnet, it’s my problem and my issue to deal with. And deal with it I will!

But…this snippet from the tail end of the article had me shaking my head in disbelief and babbling incoherently to myself under my breath.

“I think this gift is going to be an extraordinary help for Ruth’s Place,” Bolan said. “We are moving into our new home, which is in dire need of renovations. This will allow us to provide to the women a safe, secure, productive environment in which they can find permanent housing.”

Junior League members will celebrate their organization’s 75th anniversary with a dinner Tuesday at the Westmoreland Club in Wilkes-Barre. During the dinner, members will present the check to Bolan and Keith and Julie Benjamin, shelter coordinators.

How perfect is that? The Westmoreland Club. The Westmoreland Club crowd. The cloistered meeting place of the high and mighty, the privileged and the self-absorbed haughty who celebrate their philanthropic ways that undeniably help to destabilize the already fragile neighborhoods they’ll never, ever see.

I had this conversation a while back with a certain mayor, and I was told it’s best to not go there. It’s best not to badmouth or criticize in any way the uppity self-important who think they know best how to cure the ills they have purposely insulated themselves from. Yes, the hoity-toity donate to all of the “worthy causes,” so they are apparently above reproach.

Meanwhile, what they would never admit to is that they’d be concerned for their safety if caught after dark anywhere near any of the recipients of their philanthropy. These people, by way of their “generosity,” enable the idiot magnets, but then turn around and join the cacophony of voices holding to task the elected officials who’s job it is to ensure the public’s safety.

And that was the point I was trying to make with that mayor. That the Richie Richs of the world want to be basked in all of the warm and gooey accolades that their charitable ways afford them, but they’ll also direct their ire at you in a very public way when the perception is that crime is on the rise. And god forbid if crime were to actually reach out and touch them. God forbid the day when some malnourished, hung over homeless chick beats the freaking snot out of their khaki-wearing honor student just home from the Ivy school.

Crime? That’s what happens to those unsophisticated types that wallow away in the cities, correct? Crime? That’s the well-deserved plague of the poor people, yes? Well, Trevor, that could never happen to us. Now lift some cake to your mouth and put such disturbing thoughts out of your head. And where is Fillmore with that caviar? Good help is so hard to find. Fillmore!

I swear, there should be a duality law whereas philanthropic endeavors are concerned. It goes like this. If you donate, say, $35,000 to any inner-city idiot magnet, there should have to be a matching donation of $35,000 paid to the city in question for the purposes of hiring a new police officer. It’s only fair to pay to offset the idiocy you perpetuated by way of your charity. It’s the right thing to do. You enabled the idiocy, so pay for the necessary control measures and the people who will have to carry them out.

And, please, resist the urge in any e-mail form to tell me how utterly mean, hard-hearted or rigidly callous I may seem to be. I need no dissertations on poverty or how debilitating it can be for the mind and the soul. Before you go there, know that I spent my formative years in a public housing project while our only income was welfare. My mom waited in long lines for government surplus cheese. We shopped at rummage sales in church basements. While you were bored with and complained about your Fruit Loops, I ate those substandard bagged cereals that farmers wouldn’t inflict upon their hogs. I suffered the indignity of having to use government-issued coupons to secure a lunch in the school cafeteria. And hand-me-downs from relatives and friends kept us clothed much of the time. I want nor need any lectures about how tough some people may have it.

The biggest difference between poor people then and poor people now is that the poor people of old spent far, far less of their time committing crimes than do the poor people of today. Today, the poor people will smash your car window for an open pack of cigarettes. Back then, the poor simply did without. Today, the poor people will assault you, perhaps kill you for the measly contents of your pockets. In the old days, the poor only got to assaulting people when other more well-heeled people had demeaning things to say about the poor. Well, at least, that’s the way I approached it. That’s what the enormous chip on my shoulder commanded me to do.

Long story short, being miserably poor sucks. And having no real hope or reachable dreams can lead one to some very dark places, places where most have never gone, places I‘ve seen firsthand. But there is no excuse for lawlessness, idiocy and mayhem coming from those who do not like their current predicament.

Back then, you waited in line for free cheese-like substances made from fermented curd-like materials. These days, you do what you will, laws, civility and courtesy be damned, and all on the donated dime of the insulated do-gooders who do not want to be anywhere near what they alone create and then perpetuate. They wouldn’t be caught dead anywhere near what they have now situated, literally, in my back yard.

So, despite the advice I received, I went there. I went and chastised the uppity, the self-important philanthropic who fund reverse-gentrification in my city. And now, in my neighborhood. In my back yard. It’s personal for me. But for the self-absorbed upper crust, it’s, as always, out of sight and out of mind.




D.B. Echo said...

Pity the upper crust won't be at the Block Party. (And for that matter, neither will I, due to an inconveniently-timed wedding.) I suspect the stars are aligning for an incident, possibly involving certain newcomers to the neighborhood deciding to pay a visit to the party across the street - or, upon being denied admission (and access to the adult beverages), filing a complaint about the noise.

Anonymous said...

sonic is in a lousy location for that type of biz... want to try it, but won't, but it doesn't look like they are going to be missing by patronage....