Thursday, July 09, 2009
Illustration by Leo Pilares
The things I do: from the papers I edit
Natasha Clark, the Assistant Managing Editor at Reminder Publications, is a person who believes in public service, a personality trait I find most admirable until now.
She has been raising money for the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in memory of her late father Walt for a while now and recently she asked me if I could help.
No, it wasn't a request to join Team Walt for the Step Out Walk to Fight Diabetes scheduled for Sept. 27 at Look Park in Northampton. And no, she wasn't looking for a donation from me.
Instead she wanted me to volunteer to raise money for her team through potential public humiliation.
Since I am one of the almost 24 million Americans who have diabetes my staff has frequently yelled at me about my blood sugar I couldn't resist her offer.
Now there are many ways I could be humiliated in public as part of a fundraiser sitting in a dunk tank, having people take aim at me with pies or forcing me to shave my head or beard but Natasha had another plan in mind.
Would I kiss an animal at the Zoo in Forest Park if the public donated $250? That's it? Kiss an animal? I'm being let off easy.
Hey, I'm a farm boy. I've been around cows, goats, pigs, chickens, a mule, a pony, a donkey, ducks and sheep.
I'm also a dedicated dog and cat guy. I'm sure I've ingested plenty of animal spit and hair over the years through accident.
So, I go to the zoo and kiss a goat? No problem. However, as the late Billy Mays would say, "But wait! There's more."
I don't get to pick the animal and the powers to be decided it wouldn't be a domesticated farm animal.
I get to go wild.
So the readers of these newspapers can vote with their donations whether I pucker up with a llama or a camel. I'm just thankful I wasn't told to choose between one of the mountain lions and one of the bears.
So, this promotion can appeal to those who appreciate my work and would like to help out and those who don't care for me and would like to see me at least slightly embarrassed.
Send a check made out to the American Diabetes Association (put Team Walt in the memo line) and send it to Natasha Clark, Reminder Publications, 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 10128.
Enclose a note with your check on whether you prefer me to kiss the llama or the camel.
As they say in Chicago, "Vote early and vote often." Donations will be accepted until Aug. 1. There is no minimum donation and any amount is appreciated in helping the ADA continue services to diabetics as well as finding a cure.
The animal you choose will be announced after Aug. 1 and a date and time for the exchange of pleasantries will also be announced so interested readers can plan to attend.
Like most working people, I've had to kiss a lot of unpleasant things in my life as part of my job. At least smooching a llama or camel will do some good!