Give (me a break)

Those who give cheerfully give twice-once to others, once to themselves.


Hey, since nobody is claiming that quote, can I take it? Is that okay? No?

Maybe I’m missing the point about charity and philanthropy and good-deed-doing. Is there really such a thing?

There’s a famous episode of Friends in which Joey declares there are no selfless good deeds, because if giving makes you feel good, then it is self-serving. Just one of the countless, deep philosophical conundrums advanced by this iconic sitcom (cue Chandler: Could I be any more sarcastic?)

Perhaps this is why celebrities make such public displays of their charity - what good deed is worth doing unless everybody knows about it? Oh, sure, they say true character is revealed only when nobody is looking, but if nobody is looking, nothing is revealed!

So maybe, just maybe, Joey is right. Thus, I present the Hall of Fame of Philanthropy, Joey Tribbiani style.

George Clooney raised millions at a fundraiser for Barack Obama with hopes that he can keep banging Stacy Keibler in the Lincoln bedroom for another four years.

Leo DiCaprio has raised millions to promote the fight against wasteful carbon footprints to offset his movies that feature massive explosions, convoys of equipment trucks and more movie premiere spotlights than the London Blitzkrieg.

Paul McCartney has raised millions to promote PETA to atone for the Beatles’ Yesterday and Today album cover, which features the lads dressed in butcher smocks, draped with pieces of meat and body parts from plastic baby dolls. What about ethical treatment of dolls, Paul?

Oprah Winfrey has raised hundreds of millions for causes ranging from literacy to orphanages, so long as they’re all stamped with her “O” logo. Maybe if Stedman gave her more O’s at home, she wouldn’t have do this so much. Ohhh!

Lance Armstrong has raised millions to fight cancer and inspired millions to ignore the obviousness that he’s not only the greatest cyclist in Tour de France history, but also its greatest cheater.

Ted Turner , the former Mr. Jane Fonda and television tycoon, once donated $1 billion to the United Nations with dreams of forming his own sovereign nation. Sadly, his beloved Montana wouldn’t secede.

Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to Newark Public Schools, while systematically brainwashing students into posting photos of cafeteria food on their timelines during class.

The truth of the matter is that the people listed above, regardless of their most private motivations, have given back far more than the rest of us ever could. If giving makes a person feel good, so be it. They help people. I can relate a little bit.

Before CDs and DVDs stopped selling about five years ago, our radio show raised more than $1 million for charity through sales of our annual “Best Of” (stop smirking) collections, which we mostly gave back, and still do, in $1,000 increments to struggling military families. All this to make up for our getting paid to be incredibly immature on weekday mornings (like it stops at 10 a.m.)

The point is that giving back, regardless of the motivation, is better than say...out-and-out theft.

Unless, of course, you were the thief who stole a friend of mine’s entire cassette* collection out of his car some years back, yet left behind the “Dave, Shelly & Chainsaw Greatest Bits” cassette. True story. Apparently some thief broke into my friend’s trunk and spent precious “stealing time” sifting through every single one of the more than 100 cassettes just to make sure he would not be stuck with a DSC tape. And my friend says there was even an old Milli Vanilli cassette in the loot. Come on!

So there’s one example of when out-and-out theft would have been better than giving back...and would have made me feel good. Or at least a little bit less worse.

So there’s one example where theft would have been better. At least I’d feel included!

*cassette: pre-historic form of audio storage

Chainsaw steals his paycheck weekday mornings with Dave, Shelly & Chainsaw on 100.7 JACK-fm.