Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Toys for Tots, Pt. 1

Couple of years back, wintertime. I'm busy solving the worlds issues with a heavy dose of naptime when...


ME: 'Lo?

MARINE BUDDY (MB): Hey there you little turd miner, you still got your dress blues squared away, or are you too fat and nasty for 'em now?

Ah yes, camaraderie and esprit de corps defined in insults to a buddy.

ME: Dunno, think I left my blues over at your mom's house. She and your girlfriend went kinda crazy on me the other night...

MB: Very funny, asshole.

ME: So, who died, got married...(redundant), or needs the dubious eye candy that is me all spiffed up?

MB: You ever heard of Toys for Tots?

ME: Yeah, isn't that the group that gives out...toys for...er...the tots?

MB: Damn. Sharp as always. Being as Christmas is right around the corner, the Marines collecting for Toys for Tots are jumping through their ass to get everything done. Word is they are kinda short on bodies, wanna help out?

I can't really say that I have been all over the charity or charity work. I've done a few projects here and there, given semi-regularly to various churches, bought a few extra burritos and handed them out. That sort of thing. Heck, there have been times that I would have probably been ok to accept money. Never got around to it, though.

ME: I dunno man, gotta lot of stuff to do around the house, gotta trim my nails...

MB: Dude, think of the chicks.

ME: ...ok, ok, twist my arm.

See, this was still back in the day when I thought that I actually had anything to do with the whole girlie selection process. If you think that my military stories are kinda humorous, you should hear 'bout my dating follies. Whole other blog source, there. Eventually, I got it through my thick skull that it pretty much all came down to the lady in question. Me having any kind of plans, hopes, and dreams when it came to the females was just so much comedic folly for the gods. I was never all that when it came to math, but as best as I could figure;

(Marine + charity) x ladies x dress blues (aka chick magnet) = score!

I had visions of how studly I would look, hot chicas, bras just flying through the air like so much confetti...and oh yeah, some appreciative kids. Naturally, this meant that I was assigned to van detail.

Apparently how it works is that a few Marines will start to go round the neighborhood in September or October. They will meet with organizations, groups, businesses, etc. A lot of these people will agree to set up a donation box of unwrapped toys for the kiddos. Some time in December, the Marines will return and pick up the toys for distribution. Apparently, the boat spaces for toy pick ups at all the local Hooters was all taken but, luckily for me, pick up at various bridge clubs, nice little old ladies houses, and gas stations was still free. I got the keys to the ever sexy government van, an a-driver, and off we went.

It wasn't as bad as I had imagined, got to drive around to a local community, with huge houses. Nice little old ladies, and most of them baking up a storm. Cookies good, mmmm. On returning to the great toy gathering point, I say a bunch of Pfcs and Lcpls running around doing the sorting. Boys, girls, neutral, athletic, dolls, all kinds of categories. Lots of work behind the scenes.

Luckily for me, I had returned just in time to the start of toy pick up. Cars would pull up, men and women would get out and start looking for toys. Most of the time, it was apparent that they just needed a little bit of help to make the little one's holiday extra special, and that was what this whole project was for. Their vehicles were usually a couple of years old, some in better shape than others. Mostly blue collar, some language barriers. Most very appreciative. Quite a few promises to donate when they got back on their feet. Then there were the others. Those who drive up to the hangar with the BMW, pimped out low-rider, or Escalade. Deep tint, spinning crap on the wheels, 'bling' everywhere. Chatting on the latest phone, strolling up in $100 dollar shoes, and talking a moment from their busy day to tell a Lcpl to go fetch them certain toys.

WTF, over?

One of the Cpls who regularly worked this function told me that the policy for those Marines was not to make any judgement calls on how needy the folks were. They show up, they get some gifts, that's just the way it was. As he was explaining this to me, another 'pimp-mobile' showed up. This guy had a flyer, A FLYER, that someone had hand-made, announcing that the Marines were handing out free shit to anyone who showed up.

WTF, over?


Hammer said...

A lot of the toys for tots stuff here end up at the flea market.

Still if it gets some poor kids toys it's worthwhile.

Squeaky Wheel said...

A FLYER? What?

I agree that you shouldn't judge, but I have to say, if they can afford rims, bling, new phones, expensive shoes, and the like, they can either afford presents for their kids, or they need to have their parenting privileges taken away. That's just ridiculous.

SpeakerTweaker said...

They must have had some profound affect on you in the Marines. That's some honor, right there.

I would have been completely helpless against my need to tell some asshat in an Escalade w/ spinners that if he would like to get some toys for his/her tots,


But that's just me...


Deborah Aylward said...

My feeling is if they are able to afford the gasoline and the insurance, then they are able to afford toys for their children.

Marines certainly have more self control than this Northerner.

Veritas et Fidelis Semper

P.S. So when are you planning the first installment of "Murphy's Adventures in Dating"?

Murphy said...

The Corporal explained it pretty good, if not to my complete and utter satisfaction. He said that we can't determine when someone hits some hard times, their stuff might have been bought before a job loss, forclosure, etc.

Heh, job. Pffft.

The flyer was a kick in the jewels for me.

Deborah: As embarrasing as it might be, I have a few (read too many to list) ideas for an entry or two. I'll see what they look like when 'put to paper'.