An Awkward Request for Valentine’s Day

An Awkward Request for Valentine’s Day February 14, 2020

I couldn’t decided whether to post a Bernie Sanders “I am once again asking for your financial support” silly meme, or an equally silly valentine’s day meme, but I’m not in a very silly mood just now so I went with the world’s most awkward flower, the gerbera daisy.

As I say incessantly at Steel Magnificat, boosting the tip jar is my most embarrassing part of my job. I am chronically ill and never know when I’ll be homebound for a week at a time, so I support my family through a tiny check for clicks from Patheos and through busking for tips by blogging online. A lot of online Catholic commentators do this same exact job but give it a fancy name; they say they’re an “apostolate” or an “outreach” or God forbid an “institute” that you fund by your “donations” to win some kind of “culture war” and then take a big salary out of said donations.  I’ve got a “donate” button on my blog as well, but I just don’t have a disposition to be precious about it. This isn’t my “apostolate,” whatever that is, it’s just my job, writing opinions that usually pertain to my Catholic faith and to my life in the Rust Belt. I am a conscientious objector to any kind of war. The “donate button” is nothing but a virtual tip jar, where you can tip me if you like my writing and want the discussion to continue. They’re not donations, they’re gratuities and I pay taxes on them– or, at least, I report them to the IRS. I don’t make enough to pay taxes just yet. Some satisfied readers throw a dollar in the jar and after Paypal takes their cut I get like 97 cents to pay rent and utilities on my house. Some people throw in way more. Think of it as tipping your Uber driver or the person who brings your doordash and curse the gig economy.

I never know exactly what tone to strike in these tin cup rattles, so I’m just gonna be honest in this one.

You may recall that very early this year I was excited because I was making enough in clicks and spontaneous tips from readers that I was taken off SNAP benefits, something I’ve wished I could afford to do for years. Rose was taking her taekwondo class at the normal rate on the sliding scale, we were speculating about somehow getting a car, I felt like I might somehow become middle-class. But then, as soon as the holiday season was over, my income cratered again. The lady on the phone was kind of vague about how quickly I can re-apply to get back on SNAP; I was going to go downtown and talk to someone in person, but then I caught my daughter’s head cold and have been stuck in the house. Fibromyalgia makes a head cold a much bigger and more painful deal, and this year’s weirdly fluctuating weather is bad for fibro flares in the first place. Yes, I see a doctor and take medication when there’s a medication that works, but the fact is that fibromyalgia is a chronic illness that never really goes away. So my poor health has also cut down on my having a clear head for writing, which means my post volume is low, which means our income goes down even more.

You might be getting an impression that living on tips while chronically ill is not any fun at all.

February began with the rent check, which was due on the fifteenth but which the landlord usually cashes on the first day of the month, nearly bouncing, and now two weeks later it’s due again. If it bounces again, he’s going to lose patience.

So, I’m awkwardly nudging the tip jar again, and promising to write some more posts worth your while just as quickly as I can, and pointedly hinting that I write much faster in a house.

I am more grateful than I can say for all of my patrons. And now, having nudged the tip jar, I’ll go back to trying to earn your patronage.


(image via pixabay)






Steel Magnificat runs almost entirely on tips. To tip the author, visit our donate page




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