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FUNDRAISING IN HELL
May 14, 2004
 
Do they like begging for money? Of course not. They're journalists. It must feel terrible to have to sell public radio, and themselves, on the air three or four times a year.

Or maybe they do like it, sort of -- maybe they find it unexpectedly exhilarating, an activity utterly unlike what they usually do. Maybe they compete with each other to see whose show raises more. Maybe they discover within themselves a flair for marketing they never knew existed.

I remember hating to ask for anything when I was little. I would see something in a store I wanted and couldn't bring myself to inquire if we might buy it. It seemed selfish, a bother, a burden to my mother. And it showcased the power imbalance between us -- she was an adult and I was a dependent child. She had money and I didn't. I was the one who had to ask, she was the one who could decide yes or no.

I have carried this dislike of fundraising into adulthood. People who are good at it point out that what we're really doing is giving people an opportunity to be part of something they value. Don't feel reluctant to ask; you're giving them a gift by asking, a chance to do something important. Right. I do believe that.

But I am scarred. I write fundraising letters and feel sorry for the people to whom I send them, afraid that they'll resent me for asking. That's funny, since I don't resent them for asking. I must restrain myself from penciling in an apology, in the manner of fundraising letters: usually, you cross out the name in the typed salutation of the form letter and write, "Fred" where it says "Mr. Smithers." Sometimes you put another little personal scrawl down at the bottom of the letter -- "Hope you can help!" or, if it is an event "Would love to see you there!" You're not supposed to write "Listen, I feel just terrible about this, but they made me send it."

So I imagine that, in Hell, I'll have to be the development director. Little demons with pitchforks will force me to send out billions of letters to our donor base, which by then will be very large: "If by some chance you did find a way to take it with you, won't you consider making a gift to make it possible for your loved ones to go to Hell, too?" I'll invite people to the annual Disco Madness Gala, which will feature only one song, "Turn the Beat Around," over and over and over. "Hope you can come and dance, dance dance!" I'll scribble at the bottom of the letters to people I know personally. We'll have a fundraising drive on the radio every other week, and we will pre-empt the season finale of "West Wing" for our Gingivitis Telethon.

This could happen. We do not know what lies beyond this life. Better be very, very good from now on.






TURN THE BEAT AROUND
Vicki Sue Robinson

Turn it up, turn it up, turn it upside down
Turn it up, turn it up, turn it upside down
Turn it up, turn it up, turn it upside down
Turn it up, turn it up, turn it upside down

Turn the beat around
Love to hear the percussion
Turn it upside down
Love to hear the percussion
Love to hear it

Blow horns you sure sound pretty
Your violins keep movin' to the nitty gritty
When you hear the scratch of the guitars scratchin'
Then you'll know that rhythm carries all the action, so
Woah yeah

Turn the beat around
Love to hear the percussion
Turn it upside down
Love to hear the percussion
Love to hear it

Turn the beat around
Love to hear the percussion
Turn it upside down
Love to hear the percussion
Love to hear it

Flute player play your flute 'cause
I know that you want to get your thing off
But you see I've made up my mind about it
It's got to be the rhythm, no doubt about it, woah woah
'Cause when the guitar player start playing
With the syncopated rhythm, with the scratch, scratch, scratch
Makes me wanna move my body yeah, yeah, yeah
And when the drummer starts beating that beat
He nails that beat with the syncopated rhythm
With the rat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat on the drums, hey

Turn the beat around
Love to hear the percussion
Turn it upside down
Love to hear the percussion
Love to hear it
Love to hear it
Love to hear it
Love to hear it

Turn it up, turn it up, turn it upside down
Turn it up, turn it up, turn it upside down
Turn it up, turn it up, turn it upside down
Turn it up, turn it up, turn it upside down

Turn the beat around
Love to hear the percussion
Turn it upside down
Love to hear the percussion
Love to hear it
Copyright © 2018 Barbara Crafton
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