Monday, August 29, 2011

Wallace & Gromit, move over!

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My friend Lindsey at World Vision had an awesome idea to help people who are struggling with famine in the Horn of Africa. Today through Wednesday, we are doing this "Social Media Moment" thingy where we are trying to mobilize bloggers and other social media users to spread the word and raise support for 12.4 million people who are threatened with starvation in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia due to a terrible drought, civil war, and recent sharp increases in the cost of food. More than 30,000 children have already died.

Lindsey's idea was to ask people to think about what in their lives they could give up this week, in order to enable them to text $10 to help famine sufferers (by texting the word FAMINE to 20222 on your mobile phone). We are asking bloggers to devote some space on their blog this week to their answer to that question. We are also asking Facebook and Twitter users to talk this up, using the hashtag #FamineNoMore.

Blogger Joy Bennett wrote an amazing and creative blog about this on the World Vision blog this morning. Included are all the tools bloggers need to chat this up, including a badge which automatically links their blog posting to Joy's. It's cool to see the rows of little icons representing the different and very creative bloggers who are writing about their "One Thing" that they are giving up this week in order to help make #FamineNoMore. (Hopefully you can look and see my little icon there too!)

I spent the better part of the summer of 2006 in Africa and really fell in love with the people I met there, so this crisis has hit hard for me. Therefore I've been thinking very hard about what I would give up. And to be honest, I'm struggling. I don't spend that much money each week on Starbucks (I make my own coffee at home) and don't usually go out to movies. Darlene and I do eat out a lot but weren't planning on doing that this week, anyway. (Plus, I already have a folder full of Groupon coupons which have already been paid for, for local restaurants.)

So I started thinking. What do I really, really love? And what do I spend at least $10 on each week?

Then it hit me: CHEESE.

(No!!!! My mind and my stomach is rebelling already!)

I know what you're thinking: Seriously? Cheese?!? That's stupid. Who spends $10 on cheese?

Well, just ask my wife. It's a fetish for me. I love to peruse the fancy cheese aisle at Costco. I've tried nearly all of them. Stinky blue cheeses? I'd happily use a brick of really stinky blue cheese in place of a bar of soap. Holy cow, stinking hot, BBQ Hot Wing cheddar cheese? It lights my fire. Yancey's with wasabi horseradish? Moishi moishi, come to papa.

If the moon was made of cheese, I'd go there. (Wallace and Gromit, move over!) New York, Wisconsin, Tillamook, Oregon ... I rotate through their extra-sharps, white, yellow or orange. The sharper, the better. (Sampled with a small glass of chianti or a nice chardonnay ... no, don't get me started on wines!)

But my all-time favorite cheese, I think, is a smoked cheddar. I bought an amazing cheese a few weeks ago. It was smoked over applewood, thoroughly infused, with paprika adding a little color to one side. It was AMAZING. This morning I ate the last piece for breakfast.

So, I was all prepared to head back to Costco and drop $10 on another brick. (Was it $10? I think so. I really don't care what it costs. As long as I have some.)

But then, gosh darn it, I started asking piercing questions like, "What do I love that I'd be willing to give up this week so that someone might have a better chance of surviving the famine?"

So, I'm doing it. I'm skipping Costco and avoiding the cheese aisle in their deli, at all costs. Hopefully I won't starve this week.

So here we go, pulling out the cell phone and texting "FAMINE" to 20222 ...

... I got an immediate text back saying, "To confirm your $10 donation to World Vision reply with the word YES. Terms at hmgf.org/t reply HELP for help, STOP to cancel  Msg&Data Rates May Apply"

So, here goes ...

... my index finger quivers over the send key. Thoughts of smoky sharp cheddar dancing before my eyes ... but no, I can do this. I AM BIGGER THAN THE CHEESE. (Okay, I realize there's a double meaning there ...)

"YES"!

Well, if I can do it, you can do it too! We can lick this thing together. Cheese, or no cheese. (Oh, doggone it, I just used the words "lick" and "cheese" in the same sentence. It's going to be a long week!)

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