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The Accidental Fundraiser

We, a ragtag collection of BotB contributors and some social medial cohorts, accidentally created a fundraiser last night. Some may say that it was obviously the product of noble altruism channeled properly. That sounds fantastic and admirable. The reality is that we blindly stumbled backwards into a situation of our own making and through sheer dumb luck turned lemons into lemonade.

Honestly, we lack the collective wit required to play something like this.

The afternoon started innocently enough when @cardinalsgifs posted the much-anticipated #bombsaway tweet.

If you aren't familiar with the game, just know that people pick a player they think/hope will hit a home run, where they'll hit it, and the inning in which this spectacle shall occur. Points are awarded accordingly, and there is even a leaderboard for the game which has my name at or near the bottom. The leader at the end of the season is awarded an imaginary Stanley Cup-like trophy and bragging rights for the next year.

Now here is where things started going off the rails. As is my custom, I made what most rational people would consider a ridiculous pick because why wouldn't you pick the starting pitcher to deposit a baseball over a retaining wall hundreds of feet from the 5-sided thing referred to as a "plate"?

For reasons still unclear, @TVsBen decided to up the ante on my ridiculous tweet and spice things up by bringing money to the table. The gauntlet had been subjected to acceleration due to gravity.

Lest I appear unworthy of the challenge, I immediately called (poker term). Machismo and a lack of caffeine colluded against me and my personal slush fund.

I proceeded to immediately forget about this whole thing, and I remained blissfully ignorant in my forgetfulness until Jack Flaherty struck a ball thrown by Austin Gomber with tremendous force. Such was the magnitude of this force that its direction and trajectory contrived to construct a travel path that took the ball beyond the retaining wall between fair poles. Though I failed to hit the trifecta, Ben graciously suggested broadening the interpretation of our gentleman's wager/bet/nonsensical word I don't know.

True to his word, Ben used a magical digital device to commit $75 in US monies to the charity of my choice - The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The choice is the same one I've had at the top of my list for almost 20 years (more on that later).

Ben proceeded to send the first shot across the charity bow.

I responded in kind and returned the volley.

Game over, right?


Then things escalated when @cardinalsgifs became an active participant.

For those of you keeping score at home that's a total of........multiply by 1.8, and then add 32....that's $225 or the conversion from Celsius to Fahrenheit. Whatever.

And then because some people get that you don't need to donate $1M to make a difference, Brandon decided to keep the ball rolling and pushed the total to $235. For what it's worth, I don't actually know if his name is "Brandon", so I'm relying on both my sleuthing ability and context clues here.

Note that I had no expectations beyond the $150 that Ben and I originally combined to donate, so each dollar above that felt like a small miracle. So when @thefakebnw dropped $25 I realized that we had accidentally started a fundraiser on Twitter.

Before I finished writing "$260" on my Big Chief notebook paper, Zach Gifford chimed in with another $75. Admittedly, we subversively peer pressured him into this, and I would really feel bad for doing so if I had the ability to feel bad about such things.

In a reality where everything is linear there is a simple sequence of events to follow. You can go from point A to point E by traveling through B, C, and D in that order. Twitter isn't linear, and threads beget other threads until the information flow in mapped form begins to resemble the Nile delta. Zach's generous donation may have pushed the total to $335, or it may have been significantly more because while I was following what Ibelieved to be the original thread, others were spawning MCU-like realities elsewhere.

@JDRake349 dropped $25 like it was a daily thing. (Total: $360)

@joshisnothome tossed $50 into the pool just because that's how he rolls. (Total: $410)

@adri_stlcards popped off with $25 which is enough to order a couple pizzas or 500 packages of ramen. I'm not saying the $25 donation was a bad idea - just that I use pizzas as an economic unit of measure. (Total $435)

Then @Kismatt hopped on the "Donation train" with $25. (Total $460)

Moments later @stl_sportsguy took us back-to-back by following @Kismatt with a $50 drop. (Total: $510)

Apparently @sarahanne1212 felt left out and coughed up $50 to join the party. Even better, her donation triggered an employer matching contribution which is a good thing. It's probably not the first time she's triggered someone, but we'll take it. (Total: $560)

Then @theREALBGott extracted money from yet another employer to the tune of $25 which is way more than we got from @theFAKEBGott to be honest so it's good that the real one showed up. (Total $585)

@FluscheLuke came through with $25, and I really did start hoping that someone was keeping track of this stuff. Shortly thereafter I realized that that "someone" should probably be me, and then the panic set in. (Total: $610)

@derekb28 pushed the total to $620 with a $10 gift that magically transformed into $20 thanks to an employer match and some kind of wizardry (the Dumbledore kind as opposed to the Gandalf kind - the distinction is important).

@stlgirlinlex enthusiastically pushed $25 into the pot, and it was at that point that was inspird to start taking screenshots to make it easier to sort through the donations later. Note: I didn't actually take the screenshots, but it's the thought that counts. I didn't think of bookmarking the tweets, so that thought doesn't actually count. (Total: $645)

This was all moving so fast that I didn't have time to process much of anything. Why was this happening? What was motivating people to join the accidental fundraiser? It certainly wasn't attention seeking. It wasn't an obvious flex. I didn't do anything to guilt anyone into this.

Then @aborgschulte popped up in my mentions with a $100 donation which convinced me that we are possibly inclined to do strange, unexpected things when bored during a lengthy quarantine. It's like retail therapy without the retail part, the crowds, and the guilty pleasure of trying on skinny jeans. (Total $745)

Then @ediddy1979 made it personal and contributed $25 to the cause to bump the total to $770.

Before i could finish updating the tally, @jon_falcon went Mr. Beastmode to bring the total to what some interested onlookers thought may or may not have been an even thousand. The accounting firm of Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe quickly audited our books (and by books I mean the back of an Edward Jones quarterly statement envelope) and determined that the contribution pushed the total to $1020.

So when @Colts182020 added $10 to make it $1010 it was actually $1020, and I'm shocked and appalled at the inaccuracy in our accounting. There were legitimate concerns related to Sarbanes-Oxley, and then those concerns disappeared when we realized that SOX compliance isn't an issue for a couple of idiots with Twitter accounts who aren't in charge of anything.

So @Colts182020 pushed us to $1030.

Conveniently, a request from @mejuniebj to join the party with $30 raised the total to $1060.

And just when it looked safe to go offline, @_Ben_Clemens came through int he 11th hour with a $75 donations.

Total: $1135 plus matches

I mentioned about 15 scroll wheel rotations ago that the Leukemia and Lymphoma society is at the top of my list of charities. It's there for good reason. My wife is a cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma almost 20 years ago, and her participation in a study funded in part by the LLS Research Foundation saved her life.

This is truly personal, and I can't thank everyone enough for both contributing and making Twitter something other than a toxic, contentious, hostile environment for at least one night.


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