I originally wrote this article for Tonic.com, which is a website all about doing good stuff for the world.
â€œOooh, look at me, I read Tonic and wanna do good stuff for the worldâ€¦blah blah blahâ€¦â€. If you couldn’t tell, that was me doing my impression of you reading Tonic. Hey, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with wanting to do good, I’m just saying that there’s gotta be a little part of you that’s wondering, â€œwhat’s in this for me?â€. Right? Come on, you can be honest with Uncle Broke-Ass, I won’t tell anyone. Look, whether you admit it or not, I don’t really care. I’m just here to show you a few ways that being a goody-two-shoes can actually be beneficial to you AND your scrawny little bank account. They’re in no particular order, so don’t ask.
1. Feeding the Homeless: This one is a no brainer. Go down to your nearest homeless shelter and ask how you can volunteer. Then do it. After the shift is done you generally get to eat some of the food you’ve been doling out all day. I know that PB&Js and vegetable soup doesn’t sound all that amazing, but after three hours of serving it and not eating it, there is nothing you want more in the world. Plus you get to drink all the coffee you want for free. A homeless shelter without unlimited free coffee is just one big smelly riot waiting to happen.
2. Planting Trees: Who needs a gym membership when you’re outside working with a shovel and hoe all day long? Check out the Arbor Day Foundation for more information about tree planting than you can possibly fathom. And fellas, physical labor isn’t just good for the muscles, chicks dig a guy who’s a little dirty and smells a bit like man stink. They say there’s a lot of pheromones in men’s sweat.
3. Recycle: Collecting bottles and cans isn’t just for little old bag ladies and homeless Vietnam Vets anymore. You, yes you, can cash in on the craze that’s sweeping the nation, (well, swept the nation 20 years ago) Recycling! All you gotta do is get a bag (or a shopping cart), pick up the aluminum cans and plastic bottles you see everywhere, and take them to your nearest recycling center (often found near supermarkets in the suburbs). You my friend might be able to make a whole $10!!!
4. Volunteer: Just go volunteer anywhere. Do you know how good that shit looks on your resume or college application? It’s like in elementary school when your teacher would put gold stars on your homework, except it’s better. It’s like a gold star from god or Barrack Obama or something.
5. Hang Out with Old People: Old people are often lonely and looking for someone to talk to. That person can be you. Sure they might repeat themselves 15 times, but it’s like free entertainment because they’ve got awesome stories that prove how big of pussies your entire generation is. Plus, if they like you enough, maybe they’ll put you in their will.
6. Always Tip 20 Percent: Alright, I really just put this one in here because I’ve waited tables for most of my adult life. But seriously, being a good tipper is like being a patron of the arts. There’s a good chance your waiter is involved in the arts in some way and you tipping well ensures that they won’t starve to death or run out of drugs. Plus people who don’t tip well are fucking schmucks.
7. Ride a Bike: Not only are you saving Mother Earth from choking to death on exhaust fumes, you’re saving yourself a ton of money on car payments, insurance, and gas. It’s also a good way to lose some of that Budweiser weight you’ve been carrying around since junior year of college. And think about how good your legs will look in a skirt or a utility kilt.
8. Get a Reusable Water Bottle: Apparently the number one thing in American landfills is plastic water bottles, so getting a reusable one (like a Nalgene bottle) is like being eco-conscious and accessorizing. Not only can you get different colors to match different outfits, you can finally have a place to put those damn Phish stickers you’ve been carrying around since tour in ’99.
9. Composting: Why pay for shit (literally) to grow your plants in when you can grow them in stuff that’s rotting? I’m not sure which actually smells worse, but at least if you grow your veggies in compost you can be all organic man. Check out How to Compost.org to learn all about it.
10. Buy My Books: Sure this is shameless self promotion, but seriously if you’re into stuff that’s cheap and local with healthy amount of shit talking, there’s no better resource in the worldâ€¦except maybe my website.