What a week! I don’t know why, but it seems as though everyone is having a hard time. To me, it’s never-ending, and I haven’t stopped moving since Monday morning. Winter in Los Angeles is so foreign to me; while it is freezing and snowing back east, I am taking my daily walk in a strange, warm and spring- like rain. I do not think I will ever get used to this (though I did not think I would adjust to the weather, and was shivering on the first 60- degree day). Anyway, I hope that you are having a decent and tolerable week, and have some fun plans for the days ahead.
This week’s question is a little different from what I am used to, but it gave me a well- needed smile, so let’s get to it:
Q: I recently saw a GoFundMe post by a Facebook friend. She was seeking donations for hot tub repairs on her rental. In return for donations, she was offering booze, weed, and “quality time” with her in the actual repaired tub. Then she amended the perks to include donating to charity.
I vacillated between horrified and disgusted and embarrassed for her.
My question for you is: what should I do? Do I screenshot her GoFundMe and send it to a gossip blog to mock her, or do I mock her myself and then begin a systematic campaign of intimidation, the likes of which she has never seen before?
Wet and (Be)Wild(ered)
A: Dear Wet:
I don’t think any of us are strangers to internet campaigns and pleas for donations. I have seen legitimate causes that I have been compelled to help (medical expenses, sadly, are the most common), and once I even started a modest campaign to help me cover the cost of submission fees for a year, which I was grateful to have had funded by some really wonderful friends of mine. It is nice when people believe in and support others.
A hot tub, you say? At a rental unit? Does she own this hot tub? Does the landlord?
What a… unique situation.
There is a lot happening in the world right now, and I understand the need to relax in such troubling times. But a GoFundMe for hot tub repairs—hot tubs not being a necessity of course, this is not like, her shower stall— is, in my opinion, ridiculous. I would even venture to say it is a garish thing to ask for. And to offer such perks as alcohol and weed is confusing. Why not put alcohol and weed money towards the hot tub repairs instead?
I am additionally confused by the idea of donating other people’s money to charity. I actually can’t even wrap my head around that one.
It can be very gauche to ask for money or gifts; I am still of the belief that people should not be listing their registries on their wedding invitations. Social media has made it easier for people to ask for help, but it doesn’t always mean people should ask for help.
While I would never suggest starting a hate campaign against this maybe- good- intentioned- but- definitely- tone- deaf Facebook friend, I will say that once someone puts something on the internet, it’s going to be judged, whether positively or harshly. People have the right to ask for money, people have the right to donate or not donate. And people have the right (rightfully so) to use that “unfollow” button and write to advice columns in order to figure out if hot tub repairs are a legitimate reason for a fundraising campaign (in this advice- giver’s opinion, no).
Additionally, this entire situation pisses me off, because back on the east coast I had access to a hot tub, and here in California I do not. If you want to be my friend and let me use your hot tub, please contact me.
I publish all questions with a veil of anonymity. I would never want to expose someone, especially if their question is a sensitive one, such as domestic violence, sexuality, and the like. Therefore, I may edit questions down if I feel they are too specific, but please keep in mind that I am considering the whole picture when responding to you.
The advice given is for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace the legal, financial, medical, or professional advice of trained specialists.
Kolleen Carney is a Boston- born, Burbank- based poet with a B.A. from Salem State University in Salem, MA, and an MFA in Poetry from Antioch University Los Angeles. She has served on the editorial team for Soundings East, Lunch Ticket, Paper Nautilus, and Zoetic Press. Her poetry and other writings have appeared or will be appearing in Currents, Vision/ Verse, Lunch Ticket, MassPoetry.org, Golden Walkman, The Watershed Review, Incredible Sestinas, Uno Kudo Vol. 4, A Quiet Courage, Yellow Chair Review, Drunk Monkeys, Odyssey, and Five 2 One. She is obsessed with California, Pez dispensers, and macarons. Her website is www.kolleencarney.com.