I Am Evil

by Tom Swift

“Would you like to round up today?”

It used to be that at-the-register fund-raisers were rare events. We were raising money for a member of the community who had cancer and no put-of-pocket maximum. At some point the round-up question became more ubiquitous than the one about paper or plastic.

Quite possibly I have regressed as a human but I notice the way I have started to react to what feels like coercive charity. You are in a line; the dude in front of you bagging his cage-free organic and humanely raised eggs will hear your answer. As will the lady behind you waiting to pay for that mango.

There is no sign. No picture. They don’t even necessarily tell you what you will be giving money to anymore.

Of course, it’s not like we are talking big money here. The mortgage won’t suddenly be in doubt. But the way it’s presented, I will admit, I have a time or two been the jerk who says “I’m good.” This morning, though, I said, “sure.” Call me Mr. Easter.

I later found out my donation will go to fight sexual violence. There is no better cause than that to be found in the world. To be sure. Here is hoping my sixty-eight cents turns the tide.