This stuff will ruin you


Béibhinn Dunne on the addiction of giving @ The Morning News. It’s like a drug. It will take everything you have, will tear you and your family apart; it will strip you down to a person you never thought you could ever become. It will refuse you credit, break up your marriage, and eat your children. And it won’t stop there.

Sometimes, as one of the many people I pretend to be, I call strangers and ask them to give money to charity. People feel better when they do this. Better than what, I can’t say, but certainly better than before. They get the high. They’re all buzzed. Delirious, they thank me again and again for continuing to save the lives of starving children, animals, the Great Unvaccinated, although I have already told them that I have never done anything for these causes. I couldn’t tell a white rhino from a polar bear, and I couldn’t locate the Horn of Africa if I was standing in Sudan holding a map of Ethiopia. I just work for the call center.

The people I speak to are all different, in different circumstances, in different places, of different ages. As far as I can tell the only thing they all have in common is the fact that they all give to charity. Some of them are giving to more than 4,000, or so they claim. “Of course,” I say. “You have to manage your Giving the way that’s best for you.” But they all want to do more. All of them. That’s the drug. You start off nice and easy, saving lives £2 at a time, but once you really realize how easy it is to save lives (just £2 a life!), it becomes harder and harder to draw any kind of line. A life! you think. For the price of a coffee! Take it all. I won’t be happy till it’s all gone. Next thing you know, your wife has left you and your debts are being managed by a social worker.

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