$100 Left

They said he was a most peculiar man.

Simon & Garfunkel

A Most Peculiar Man

A quote from Simon & Garfunkel could probably appear up there everyday.  Their music has been an important influence in my creative life.  Imperial Street was actually written as a “letter” to Paul Simon, I just forgot to pay the postage.

I have a serious and a not so serious question today. First for the fun one. I have $6.56 left on a gift card for the iTunes store. I’d love suggestions for how I should spend that. Leave comments with songs you think I should get adding up to around that amount.

Now onto the serious bit. With everything going on in North America my thoughts have once again been drawn to the plight of the poor. If you know me then you know that I’ve worked in the not-for-profit sector for a long time, and I studied the preferential option for the poor as an undergrad (later moving away from that to study eating disorders and religious belief).  So after hearing yet another Charity lottery ad a thought popped into my head: What is the best way to spend your last $100?  You might think, buy a lottery ticket, or go to the casino.  Of course that is not a realistic or sensible solution.The last $100 is just that, there is no more coming unless you do something with it.  I have racked my brain over this and don’t have a particularly good solution, but I am confident that other people do.  You do have access to food banks and shelters to help with the basics of survival in a dire situation. That $100 has to start a process that leads to some kind of recovery.  I’d love to hear people’s ideas on this, and please pass along this challenge to others and let’s see what we can put together.

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2 Responses to “$100 Left”

  1. fallicule Says:

    Just had an idea…

    $100 means a lot to some people. I’m not meaning to be prejudice about the next sentence I am about to write so I will choose my words wisely. There exists a certain portion of those in the throws of poverty who have an addiction. There are also those who live in poverty who are there for circulstantial reasons. The rest of this comment post is not about circumstantially poor people because, although I believe that $100 can improve their lives in the short-term, I think the chance for greater change (with $100) lie within those with addictions.

    $100 to someone with an alcohol or drug addiction can feed their addiction for an hour, a day, or a week. That being said, the person presented with $100 has a choice: spend the money on their habit, spend it on food or rent or clothing, or save it. Clearly, saving isn’t an option when you live hand to mouth. More often than not, those with addictions will spend their windfall on their habit, hence wasting the $100 and possibly endangering their life in the process! Ultimately, a real lasting change has to come from within the individual. There is no level of sustainable government support (welfare) or $X hand out that can have a lasting impact on a person that is unwilling to change their ways.

    Now enter the addictions counsellor. I admit this is more than the $100, so instead perhaps we could assume that it is $75 and the counsellor is paid $25 to help cover their costs. Many people in the addictions counselling industry would likely do the counselling for free as the profession attracts altruistic types of people.

    For an addict to attain the handout, they should attend a session with an addictions counsellor, and at the end of the session should receive their $100 (or $75). The counsellor would try to get through to the individual to convince them that the cash can be put to better use and that addiction will destroy them. As stated previously, this might be a waste of time since you can’t change the unwilling. The proposed approach, however, would undoubtedly yield better results in improving the lives of addicts than merely forking out $100.

    The $100 incentive is important for at least two reasons:
    1) It is the only way in which most people with addictions would go to see an addictions counsellor
    2) If the counsellor gets through to the person then they have $100 which they didn’t spend on their habit. This could be very empowering for an individual and could be the start of a new path in life.

  2. ponpilate Says:

    An interesting idea. I have heard of similar ideas in the past, whereby a person is given some essential item, be it housing, food, or money, in exchange for trying a service aimed at improving their life, ie. counseling. So there is certainly potential there. Of course, as with all addictions programs the outcome is dependent on the individuals willingness to make the effort to improve their life, and not just pay lip service to the process in order to get the money. I would suggest a sliding scale of money based upon reaching benchmarks in treatment, but that probably wouldn’t eliminate all of the issues.
    This is definitely a good first suggestion for the $100!

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