Monday, January 17, 2011


Today according to my calendar, is Martin Luther King, Jr. (Observed) Day. I really admire President Obama's national call to service on this day. It's good to remember that this is not just a day off from work and school, it's a day to remember all the good we have done and still have yet to do in this world.

Growing up, I used to do some volunteering with my family. We would deliver turkeys, volunteer at soup kitchens, little things here and there. I remember enjoying it a lot and really feeling good and growing from it.

Somehow, after I finished grad school, I stopped volunteering. One reason for that was that my job itself was pretty demanding and I felt that the job, long hours, travel and hard work for a labor union, composed an almost insurmountable load of service in and of itself. I think, though, another reason was that once I felt truly independent, I started slacking on some of the core things I learned to do when I was small: eat right, volunteer, etc. Sort of like gaining the Freshman Fifteen, but a more gradual and sinister change - I kind of stopped doing stuff I didn't "have" to do.

I also have a talent for letting any small obstacle or hindrance stop me from doing something I say I want to do. For example, last year I signed up for Philacares, a Philadelphia-wide service organization. They mismatched my name with someone else's ("Dear Barry") and never sent me any requests to volunteer. I thought, "Well, I kind of tried," and left it at that.

This spring I hope to at least do a few things, maybe through church or some kind of cleanup at the park. I'm on leave until the middle of the spring so I should be able to find something to do.

It's funny how many people pledge to do more "clean living" - eating right, volunteering, keeping their houses clean, etc. - after having a child.

Oh, screw it, this is just a blog post about how I feel bad for not volunteering. So with that, I leave you with a photograph of the afore-mentioned park, so you can see how much it loves its community and deserves love in return. The end.


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