Thursday, March 25, 2010

Days 36 & 37: Giving Across America

A check to the National Audobon Society was the Day 36 give. (What can I say - they sent me a solicitation in the mail! Besides, I like trees.) No muss, no fuss.

In addition, I went to the bank and picked up four cashier's checks for the Day 37 give.

Early on in the project, I thought of randomly picking a name from the phone book and sending them money. Then I realized that I didn't want the person showing up at my house, so I struck on the idea of sending it to someone in California. But still, I really didn't think that sending a check, which contained my address, was a good idea. And sending cash wasn't a great option, because I needed to be able to document the giving, in case someone (either a critic or the IRS) someday questions the honesty of my account.

Giving really shouldn't require this much thought!

Anyway, I decided that a cashier's check was the best option, since it didn't have my address on it.

Now it was just a matter of getting the address. I have a friend in California, so decided to send her a message over Facebook and have her select a name and address randomly from her phonebook.

It seemed appropriate to send the check across the country, and a mental image came into my head of the envelope crossing the country, sort of showering psychic charitable energy all over the place. Crazy, to be sure, but it was a nice image, and it took root.

Then I began thinking, "Well, why just one, then?" If I could do it from Indiana to California, I could do it some other places, too. I began thinking through my list of friends and found some other ones from around the country who could help me find names.

I ended up with a set of four names from four "corners" of the country - California, Massachusetts, Alaska, and Florida. Once I had the four cashier's checks from the bank, it was just a matter of writing a letter explaining the situation. Though the checks had no strings attached, I did ask that they get in touch with me to let me know what they felt about getting the check, if they were willing. I provided my name, e-mail, and phone number. (I was hesitant about the phone number, but figured the checks might go to someone who didn't use e-mail, so I should provide an alternate contact.) So they're all ready to go. (They'll actually get mailed out on Day 38.)

In my mind is an image of positive energy flowing out all over the country, with these four points connected by people sharing this curious experience of receiving money in the mail.

Is there any reality to this image?

I guess it depends ... how real is a metaphor?

As someone who loves science, I believe in the power of metaphor to describe reality. As a human being, I hope that this particular metaphor has at least a little bit of reality to it.