Indentured Service Work: A Resentment Survival Guide, Part the First

You know how, in some countries, you’re expected to serve one year in the military when you turn 18? The same thing happens in recovery, except instead of being trained how to efficiently murder people, you will be coerced into joining a committee. When this occurs, you will wish you had been born in one of those other Utopian nations, because then you’d have the knowledge and skill set to efficiently annihilate everyone else on the committee.

It will be pitched to you as “service work,” which could be interpreted as volunteering at a shelter of some sort, or maybe finding foster homes for disabled kittens. This is incorrect. The reality of the situation is that you’ll end up sitting around a cramped table and arguing semantics with a group of other addicts and alcoholics who think Robert’s Rules of Order is a controlled substance — that is, it won’t be able to hurt them if they never pick it up in the first place. Once you have been installed as a committee member, you will find yourself involved in planning a fundraiser, which in turn means you will be instructed to get the old-timers’ money. This will make you feel like you are supposed to put together a scam to take advantage of the elderly. That’s because you are.

Old-timers are men and women who have been sober longer than you have been alive. Some of them stopped drinking right before Prohibition and still carry a grudge about this. Also, they have money: Enormous piles of gold bullion that they keep in special silos, in which they swim every afternoon. Scrooge McDuck is a good example of an old-timer.

Speaking of Scrooge, old-timers do not want to part with their money, and they will find every possible thing wrong with your fundraiser so that they do not have to contribute. The fundraiser will be scheduled too early in the day, or too late at night, or on a date that’s not good for them, or they’re allergic to whatever food you’re serving, or they don’t like the music, or they don’t like that there isn’t any music, or they don’t understand the theme, or the theme is too basic, or they don’t know who’s running the fundraiser, or they do know who’s running the fundraiser but are not speaking to them, or they’re offended by drag, or they’re offended by bad drag.

You may be wondering what drag has to do with fundraising. Let it be known that if you are a sober gay and/or lesbian person, drag has everything to do with fundraising. If you do not have at least one drag performance at your fundraiser, then the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous will rise from the grave and take all of your money away. It does not matter if your fundraiser has nothing to do with AA; it could be a fundraiser for a Moderation Management resort and day spa, but if there’s no drag, the vengeful ghosts of Bill W. and Doctor Bob will phase down through the roof of your venue and steal your cashbox, and then the old-timers will be so pissed off at you.

So, drag. Seventeen queens will volunteer to appear at your fundraiser. Only three will actually show up, and one of them will perform to a song that was playing in the background on that fateful day in 1929, when one of the old-timers awoke from a blackout to find himself on the cold, concrete floor of a Tijuana prison, and that’s when he realized his life had become unmanageable, and how could you not know this, you monster? Great, all the old-timers just walked out.

Despite the obstacles, and the boycotts, and that one tweaker chick who will accidentally set all the bake sale tables on fire, your fundraiser will inexplicably bring in some cash. Hooray! You’ve been of service and paid your dues, right? Oh, my boozy little rumhound, how wrong you are. This is only the first of many fundraisers, all of which will culminate in (drumroll) The Annual Event.

To be continued…

One thought on “Indentured Service Work: A Resentment Survival Guide, Part the First

  1. This sounds exactly like what happens when organizing a fundraiser in the LGBTQ community. Or in the pagan community. Or (I suspect) in ANY community! That’s why fundraising events (however necessary) are a pain in the ass.

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