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Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's my hypothesis that one of the few things that keeps a human being sane in a topsy turvy world gone mad is the unerring self belief in our own intrinsic goodness. Deep down, none of us really thinks that we are bad people. It's this quality that makes ladies who lunch a little smug. It is the origin of all arrogance and self-entitlement in many politicos.



Worst of all, it is the belief in how damn great you are that makes serial killers do the things they do.
Thankfully, we are not living in a society of Ted Bundys in training (although you might change your mind observing the chaos at 2am on Patrick Street). Most people are quietly assured that they are good people just trying to live their lives in relative peace and make something productive out of their lot.
There is one small group of people that see through our vital fallacy - the charity mugger. These people turn an average walk into the city centre into an obstacle course that would intimidate an SAS officer on amphetamines. We weave around them avoiding eye contact, hoping they remain static and don't follow you down the street like a donkey following a fat-wallet shaped carrot.
I tell myself that I want to avoid these people because they are invasive, pushy and, should I hit my head and suddenly decide that it's a fantastic idea to give my bank details to a stranger on the street, a proportion of the money I give will go to the smiling person in the day-glo vest and not to the kids in Africa.
The charity muggers know all this. They also know that we are sometimes just plain unwilling to give; a trait that is probably unrepresentative of the inherent goodness that we all feel lives inside ourselves.
Last Friday I found myself attending not one but two charity events organised by people who were remarkable in their capacity for giving.
I was feeling less generous. On being informed that there was a donation suggested for a glass of champagne, I pouted. Where was my free booze? This champagne isn't free!
A bad moment, in my opinion. I like to think I don't look like a child throwing a tantrum - most of the time anyway. I corrected myself, donated, then spent the last of my money on raffle tickets.
I won a bottle of whiskey. Ah. There was the free booze.