Volunteering: How To Bring It Up In Every Conversation

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

By Ginny Hogan and Ricky Altieri

At the DMV

Oh, don’t worry, I’m used to long lines. I actually work at a soup kitchen, and the line for food is very long. Mostly because I check my phone a lot, but that’s part of the experience for them – learning to appreciate the food.

At a Dinner Party

Sure, I totally would help you clean up, except I already spent 20 minutes today tagging Quora answers for free, so I’m kinda “volunteered-out.”

On a Conference Call:

Oh, Muhammed, is that you? No? Oh, sorry, Sandra. I got confused – I teach English to Syrian refugees over Skype. It must be about 3:30 AM there, which I know because I have adjusted my body clock to Syrian time in solidarity.

On Instagram

*Obligatory Photo of me holding baby Ugandan Gorilla, which I rescued on this safari alongside my guide, Kaikara, who briefly released the baby Gorilla from the reservation  so we could rescue it* #like4like #followback #volunteer #grateful #formyself

At a Funeral

I assume I wasn’t written into the will because Dad knew I would give all the money to my favorite charity, which is coincidentally my art exhibition, “Reflections on my Selflessness: Selfies with the Hungry.”

Stopped for Speeding

90 is too fast? Sorry, I just got back from rural Bolivia where I was teaching people how to take care of foreign tourists – so I’m still thinking in Kilometers per hour!

In The Police Car

Do you really arrest people just for flipping the bird to the police officer? You know, in Uganda, that is a standard greeting people began using just for me! And they talk about how Western the country is becoming – as if!

At the Police Station

No, this car doesn’t necessarily “belong” to me, but in Kuwait, there is no such as “belonging” – we all belong to nature, and this car has a spirit of its own. I volunteered to take it where the car spirit wanted to go, which happened to be my ex-girlfriend’s house. Hey, give me back my phone! 

In Prison

This tattoo on my chest? It says, “I taught English in rural China” in Japanese! Just because you get paid doesn’t mean it’s not volunteering. So uh – what’d you get in here for?

At Your Trial

My lawyer is working pro-bono. I understand what pro-bono means because I actually spent the gap year between Andover and Dartmouth doing pro-bono field-work in Italy. On a vineyard. I did it pro-bono, or “pro-boner” as I used to say hilariously to all the beautiful Italian women, who chose not to spend more time with me out of respect for their faith and fear that they couldn’t resist me. See, Italians are Christians, which is something I know, as a well-traveled “volun-tourist,” as they say at Dartmouth. It means a volunteer who’s so kind and generous they actually donate one of their 28 annual weeks of vacation to the cause.

At Your First Job After Prison

Sorry I’m six hours late, I picked up trash in the park for 45 minutes this morning. Yes, I volunteer for our city’s parks, because I care about our community and also it was court-ordered.

Giving a Toast At a Wedding

Of course, tonight should not be about me and the fact that I’m not being paid to do this. Nor should it about that time I lent money to the bride, mostly to pay her back for bailing me out of jail, but still. I had one call, and she’s the only number I have memorized, which is not my fault. Nor should it about how the bride rejected my advances numerous times over the years. No, it shouldn’t be about any of these things. It should be about something else entirely – the lessons I learned in jail, and how I intend to share them with the world every single time I’m granted an audience.

Running for Office 

After learning a lot about how the criminal justice system treats the incarcerated by volunteering to be arrested for driving without a license, I know things need to change. I am running not for me – but for you.

When Called By The Fake News Media for Excessive Boasting About Volunteering

Telling you about my volunteer work is an example of the emotional labor I am always doing on your behalf. In Haiti, they’d kill for a Senator like me.

While Volunteering

Can I leave yet?

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