Thursday, November 11, 2010
Putting the "happy" back in "holidays"
At work, we are partnering with a local business to get together several hundred (we hope) holiday gift bags for people living in homeless shelters who also have mental illness. We had planned on putting in personal care items, socks, a small gift, and a warm item of clothing, like a scarf or gloves.
The other day I got a phone call from a colleague.
Her: "J is putting condoms in all of the holiday bags."
Her: "I'm serious!"
Me, to my boss: "Does this strike you as a little weird?"
My boss: "People need condoms!"
I was unaware of the fact that people living on the street have disproportionately high rates of hepatitis C, HIV and other STDs. So I got the OK from our contact at the business and a local county health department is donating condoms.
One of my volunteers: "I'm not sure how people are going to feel about that."
Me: "They don't have to use our condoms."
To get the OK, I had to e-mail one of our volunteers. I accidentally hit "send" before I finished, so the e-mail said, "I need to talk to you about condoms."
She called a few minutes later and said, "Um, WHAT??????????"
And then we both laughed our asses off.
Then yesterday I realized that one of my coworkers hadn't been in on all of these conversations and had just been overhearing the references to condoms.
Me: "Did anyone tell you about the condoms?"
Me: "Well we're putting them in the holiday gift bags. Boss is fine with it."
Another pause, a hint of sarcasm.
Him: "Thank you for telling me."
Later in the day I got an e-mail that I bet none of you have ever (or could have ever) gotten at work:
"Hey, we are happy to help and can hook you up with condoms!"
This was from the county mental health department...
I wrote the colleague whose idea this was. She wrote back, "Merry Christmas to all!"
And I wrote back, "And to all a good night!"