Saturday, October 14, 2006
Life before death
I was involved in a street collection this morning, not something I do very often but much less awful in reality than in the imagination. The Christian Aid collection had me rattling my tinny (can't call it a plasticky) and occasionally adding the words "Life before death" to call attention to myself. The "pitch" I had chosen from those allocated to my church was outside the betting shop - I had wondered if anyone would be there before 11am, but I needn't have worried.
As it turned out, I finished the hour with more in my can than any of the other collectors I met. The betting shop is a great pitch, and the best contributors are not the sleek passer-by from the nearby car park but the patently obviously desperate, the old, the ordinary. Two well-dressed young women passed with no more than a faint smile, while an elderly man, coming out of the shop, said "Ah've nae change - Ah'll be back" - and returned, ten minutes later, to put something in the can. I also give honourable mention to the man who, in response to a rattle from me, said "I'm a good Jewish boy" - but gave me a contribution nonetheless. On the down side, I saw the spectacle of the enormous men - there were several - who would heave themselves from their cars, march into the pub next door, reappear to place a bet and stuff themselves back into the driving seat to leave - all without sparing me a glance.
Life before death is a great slogan - but I wonder what the people we were collecting for would think of our lifestyles?