I had a “Larry David” moment the other day. Certainly not my first, or even my 10th but definitely a classic. Here’s what happened: The local franchise of a chain restaurant charged me $4 for a large iced tea. Because this is the South and tea is pretty much cheaper than water, I immediately said: “Do WHAT?!?”
I had just returned from a few days in New York, where, to my amusement, everywhere I ordered iced tea (they DO have it), I was informed in tones varying from undisguised irritation to amusement: “It’s not sweet, you know.” This happened Every Single Time.
Hmmm. My accent has betrayed me once again. All good. I travel with Splenda for this very reason. And, no, it’s not the same but it just has to do. Based on this very unscientific sampling, there must be a ton of native Southerners up in Manhattan whining about how hard it is to get a decent iced tea. Not me! I know the rules and I play by ’em. Hence the Splenda.
But, in my hometown, the ordering of iced tea is pretty standard stuff. And I seldom pay more than $2.
The perky clerk hastened to explain the inflated price: “It’s $4 because if you buy the large drink, the money goes to the USO and our military heroes.”
“Ahhhh,” I said. “That’s great. OK then!”
“Yes,” she said, clearly proud. “It’s just our way of giving back.”
And that’s when Larry David strolled into my brain, hands stuffed in khaki pockets, and I couldn’t stop him from taking over and falling out of my mouth.
“Is it, though?” I said in an unnaturally high-pitched voice.
She looked momentarily confused.
“I mean, I’m the one who’s making the donation, not you. So, if anybody’s giving back in this scenario, I’m pretty sure it’s me…”
With the bouncy theme from “Curb Your Enthusiasm” playing in my head so loud I’m surprised others couldn’t hear it, I walked back to my car clutching the super-sized do-gooder tea. The only thing missing was Larry’s ubiquitous Prius because, well, Prius.
Here’s my point: We are living in an age where it’s not good enough to just do something nice; you have to self-promote. I did it myself, just then. Shame on Larry. OK, me.
It’s why I find it irritating when the president summons the media to announce, like it’s an “Apprentice” finale, who gets his donated quarterly salary of $100,000 because that’s just the kinda guy he is.
(ital) Is it, though? (end ital)
Recently, Trump announced he would give the $100,000 to the Department of Health & Human Services, the same agency he casually gutted in much larger numbers. Before we get too grateful, remember Trump profited $400,000 last year alone off his D.C. hotel scam and he’s made at least $500,000 by billing Secret Service to stay at his properties during his many golf outings.
Giving back is great. But let’s keep this stuff real…and to ourselves.