Meanwhile in Syria
Alec WeaverJuly 23, 2012 2:24 PM EDT
Let me tell you the story of Randy Payne. I first saw Randy through the windshield of my father's pickup truck. Randy was walking down Kansas Avenue when he suddenly collapsed from heat exhaustion. Luckily, there was a police officer there who was able to help, and many other busy office workers stopped to aid this poor man. The next day, July 4th, my family and I were picking up a carload of Snicker apples from Hazel Hill, when from across the street we spied Randy sitting in a flower pot in the exact same clothes that he was wearing the previous day. My soft-hearted father took him for being homeless and in an act of charity bought him some Wendy's and a large iced tea. Randy is not homeless and is not a fictional characterâ€”he is very real indeed. A veteran of the Vietnam War, Randy lives in a small, dilapidated apartment building without air conditioning, and for someone in his late sixties like Randy, that is a bad combination. Visit him if you like; he lives across the street from Terry's Bar on 6th. He's even listed in the phonebook if you want to call him. Randy does not have PTSD nor does he do drugs. Other than his unkempt appearance, he is perfectly "normal". Randy has simply been dealt a bad hand. When we found him sitting on the sidewalk, we learned that after he was taken to the hospital the previous day, he had to walk all the way back to his home because the busses had stopped running for the day. He became so tired that he decided to sleep on the street. Randy's main source of income is a meager pension that he gets from the government, and for those of you who gripe from your ivory towers about how he is "living off the system", I say go to hell. While Randy sweats in his rotting apartment living off of the McDonald's dollar menu, Beyoncé is buying her husband private jets that cost more than 100 million dollars. The biggest news around the water cooler and in the salons and on Twitter is how Tom Cruise is handling his divorce. Meanwhile in Syria, children are being used as human shields for armored vehicles.
But who cares about the Randys of the world when I have to have the latest Apple product or a faster car or thousand-dollar Jimmy Choos? While the couture Kardashians strut down rodeo in their high-heels, Randy will shuffle down to the bank in his sole-less tennis shoes. I am disgusted by the human animal at this point. Even at myself as I sit here in a pretentious coffee shop typing away at a top-of-the-line laptop. All this is not to say that you should give all of your money away, but it is merely a rallying cry for the disenfranchisedâ€”a voice for the voiceless and a call to arms against the forces of those whose biggest problem is to decide what club they want to go to tonight. It is also a reminder that we need to appreciate what we've got and to give back anything that we can spare and get our hands on. Getting 1,000 likes on a status will not capture a Sudanese warlord. Don't forget about the Randys of the world. Spend more time watching CNN over the E! Networkâ€”hell, even FOX News is better than E! Stop blindly chasing the dollar working a job you hate to buy shit you don't need. Invest in people, not products. Form a revolution. Round up all of those responsible for "The Bachelorette" and gas them. Kill your darlings and smash your idols. Liberate yourself and your fellow man by showing compassion every once in a while. Even though we might not be able to fix all of our problems, we can definitely make a differenceâ€”one Wendy's burger at a time.