Spare A Little Change?

There’s a theory on generosity proposed by Christian Smith and co-author Hilary Davidson note in The Paradox of Generosity.  That theory is that those who are more generous are happier.

It got me thinking about whether the opposite can be true – whether not helping or not being able to help can make you miserable.

I’ve noticed a lot of homeless people around the various towns and cities that I frequent with any degree of regularity.  This means I hear a lot of requests along the lines of “spare any change?” as well as signs asking the same thing.

I’ve heard it said somewhere else that it’s not possible to help everybody, but I do sometimes walk past these people having given multiple coins to the guy with the dog and wonder whether I should have spread it out.  I also walk past these people with change in my pocket and realise that I don’t trust them not to waste it so buy them food instead, although quite whether the guy really did appreciate the chilled Mountain Dew in the early hours of the morning was not determined!

But perhaps more often I’ve walked past homeless people with change in my pocket and not done anything.  I used to do that and not think about it but, somehow, now I do.

I had a thought last time that, actually, if I went out without any real money, that would solve my dilemma.  I’ve also thought about splitting hairs over the phrasing of the question and claiming to not know whether the change is “spare” yet.

The aforementioned Mr Smith notes that the word “miserly” comes from the word “miserable”.  I feel more miserable when I remember the guy with the dog, and that makes me feel a little guilty too!

The thing about giving, especially money, is that I like to do it as and when I want to rather than being asked for it.  That makes me happy because I can help a cause that I’m interested in, but is it right to pick and choose one’s generosity?

Give me something I haven’t seen
Give me the red light turning green
Give me the words but not the page
Give me it all

Give me the time but not an age
Give me a look but not the rage
Give me the feel for where I’ll go
Give me it all

Give me the way it could have been
Give me the ghost that’s on the screen
Give me the way but not the means
Give me it all

Give me something I haven’t seen
Give me the red light turning green
Give me the words but not the page
Give me it all

I called you up
3 times last night
Running through the streets
Bloody, from a fist fight

Keep you warm
Keep you there
Wanna keep you all

See you there, wanna see you some day
As you look back, I’m pulling away
You caught the bus and I caught the train
All that remains are words in the rain

Ooooh, oooh, oooo-oooooh
Ooooh, oooh, oooo-oooooh

Give me the shade of a thunder cloud
Give me a good-bye said out loud
Give me the day with no memories
Give me it all

I know you could be here with me
By the rain and the palm of the valley
But you’re there by the tube stop in the freezing rain

See you there, wanna see you some day
As you look back, I’m pulling away
You caught the bus and I caught the train
All that remains are words in the rain, rain

Ooooh, oooh, oooo-oooooh
Ooooh, oooh, oooo-oooooh

So solo, I see you there
You fall like a fifty weight
The time goes
I’ll be right there
I feel, I feel there’s a fork in the road

Give It All by Foals

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