You’re anonymous, or you’re not

By Kevin Wilson

The Internet helps me make friends, but it’s helped me keep so many more. People move for jobs, school, or family reasons, and I’m one mouse click away from keeping the friendship going.

Likewise, the Internet helps my friends keep up with me. There is Friend Type A, who reads every column I write for Freedom New Mexico online and knows about every matter in my life. There’s Friend Type B, who keeps tabs but only notices major changes like relationship status, job and mailing address. And then there’s Type C, who knows I’m alive and have access to the Internet.

Enter my friend, who we’ll call Jami. She’s somewhere between B and C, but I enjoy talking with her every once in a while, and found out she was taking part in a charity walk.

I wanted to help out, but donations are something usually left for Friend Type A. I didn’t want to project myself as Friend Type A, because it might create sexual tension when her actual Type A friends ask, “So who’s this guy giving money to you, hmmmm?”

So I decided I’d give to her cause anonymously. But now, I wonder if I’ve turned her other friends into Larry David.

During a hilarious episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” from last season, David donates money for the wing of a conservation museum. However, nobody cares because another person donated the same amount anonymously.

“I’m not crazy about that,” David said upon seeing the anonymous wall. “Now it looks like I’m just a guy who did mine for the credit, as opposed to Mr. Wonderful Anonymous.”

When his wife tells him she knows who made the donation, he gets further incensed.

“He told you; he must have wanted somebody to know.”

Well, she said, he didn’t want the fanfare.

“I don’t like the fanfare. Are you saying I like fanfare? Nobody told me I could be anonymous and tell people. I would have taken that option. You can’t have it halfway. You’re either anonymous or you’re not. It’s fake philanthropy, and it’s faux anonymity.”

At the ceremony, the anonymous guy gets a room full of applause and David gets golf claps. A few days later, Larry gets his donation changed to “Anonymous,” but in typical “Curb” fashion, it comes back to bite him when he needs access to the museum but the security guard doesn’t know he donated a wing.

After watching this show, I’d like to think I’ve learned a lesson. Switching would cause a problem, so I stick to being anonymous.

It has its drawbacks. I can’t ask Jami too much about how the walk went, because then she’ll think in the back of her mind, “It’s kind of odd that he’s interested in my life, but he doesn’t care enough to donate a few bucks.”

That’s a misperception that may move me from in between Types B and C into a solid Type C range.

It might be the price I pay for my beliefs. I don’t believe in giving to charity to get your name on a wall or to get a tax donation; I do it because it’s simply a chance to give back for all those times people helped me in my life.

Consider this column my fanfare for helping Jami. She’s a Type C friend, so she won’t be reading about it any time soon.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Freedom New Mexico. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 316, or by e-mail:
kevin_wilson@link.freedom.com