Dear The Placeholder – Volunteerism

Word Count – 900

Dear The Placeholder,

At University, I found myself often drawn to several non-governmental organizations and groups dedicated to bettering the world. But since graduation, I’ve not involved myself in such things. Now I’m thinking about getting back into them, but am unsure of which to choose and how to go about it. How can I get involved in some worthy organizations?

– Eric

So, you’ve got a bit of a creative/working/developmental edge to your personality and you want to dip your feet into the world of Work-Good, Feel-Good. Well, we at The Placeholder understand this particular drive very well, ERIC! It’s what spurned us to begin this, maintain it, and flog ourselves repeatedly to appease it. But to create something that so measurably makes the world a better place, like The Placeholder does, is a harsh and demanding task, ERIC! And you’re you, ERIC!, a person who’s run out his last means of hope writing to a website who neither solicited nor advertised any kind of good decision skills so far, hoping we might make an advice column out of your misfortunes. Look at you, Hipster Ninja wanting to save the world or at least get a button “for effort/participation” that you can stick to your sachet and flaunt at parties. You came to us, ERIC!, because you want to be Hipster Shogun but aren’t willing to work for it! How DARE you think you could so easily accomplish such a task. You are lucky you asked for our help.


Violently. If your hands are not gigantic, use both of them.

Do you really want to make the world a better place? Well, first you’ve got to prove to yourself and to us that you’re not just misplacing your ambition from what could simply be a killer jerk off session. Make sure you’re not just looking for a good three minutes of physical activity before you convulse, cry, and take a nap.

Why the living room, you ask? Because the thrill of doing it in when you could be caught by your roommate/parents/animal will either give you that necessary exhibitionist jump of energy to get you out and onto other things, or it will significantly depress you, as you beat your junk in one of the only rooms protected by the social contract.


After you wipe up and forgive yourself, it’s research time. Now, the casual observer might think that universities and coffee shops and other DIY hangouts are probably the best place to meet up with like-minded people, network and really start pulling yourself together. But fuck that. That could take weeks. And if you’ve come to us, ERIC!, you’ve come for quick, effective and long term solutions that benefit no one. Which means it’s time to hit the good old pervert box of the internet.

Google the usual keywords (DISADVANTAGED, GROUPS, BUILDING STUFF FOR POOR PEOPLE, NAMBLA) and see where that gets you. Does any of it look sexy enough for you? Does it turn your crank? Do you want to jerk off in the living room again? If not, good, you’re still on the right track. Make a new e-mail address or create an RSS feed and start linking away. Make sure to immediately join message boards, ignoring the rules and immediately begin insulting strangers for not being dedicated enough to “the cause.” If someone calls you out on being “new,” just see how long they’ve been a member of the board, multiply that number by ten and say that’s how long you’ve been “passionate about _____.”

After being banned from the internet, you’ll have gleamed enough knowledge about such organizations to see their strengths and pitfalls. Now its time to get some REAL work done.


Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the competition, you’re already practically an expert in volunteerism. So why follow the heard? Why not make your own group instead? It’s easy, just think of a cause that hasn’t quite been brought to light yet. Or combine two things, like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of activism and oppression. Here’s a few ideas:






When a topic has presented itself, make a flyer and start handing them out at parties. Remember, even if you don’t have a website, just make one up and say the flyer spelled it wrong. Then just sit back and regale others with stories about how much your life has changed with such clear and concise direction and vision. Because without you, those blind Chernobyl dogs / Children of Dune / Welshmen would be homeless and eating each other while illiterate.

Should you feel guilty about leading people on like this? Of course not. Life, after all, is an imitation of art. Or something. I think. So, fuck it, be artful and pretend. It’s like acting, but it might get you laid. Should THAT make you feel bad, ERIC!? Of course! But remember, some rainbows only shine on dirty puddles. And to really get down and dirty and make a difference, you might have to become the dirtiest puddle of all.

You’re welcome.

– The Placeholder

PS – We love you. Never write us again.


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