Tuesday, January 3, 2017


It's taken me most of my life (so far) to grasp it, but I now have figured out how to make that old saw "charity begins at home" work to my advantage and I did it without even trying (although a large number of my friends and family insist I am often very trying).

While at the store yesterday, I bought three made-by-me salads for lunches for yesterday, today and for my first day back at work in 2017, tomorrow. Normally, I weigh the salad in the container and then in the course of each day enter the weight (and the amount of whatever dressing I've used because otherwise (let's face it) salad tends to taste a lot like front lawn) into one of the online fitness tracking things that I use in an effort, most of the year in vain, to lose weight.

I got distracted and forgot to use the produce scales before getting into the check-out line. I started out in the self-checkout lane but the folks in front of me had no idea how to use the system which explained their eagerness to get in the line to do so. (I guess on another planet). I wasn't all that concerned as I assumed the cashier would weigh each salad and I'd have my data for my input chore.

Yes and no, actually. Rather than weigh them individually on the scale that's part of the register, she stacked them on top of one another and weighed all three which means what little of how to do division I still remember will come in handy. Advantage me.

While I was in the line at the start of it was an open case of canned peas, with a handwritten sign advising interested purchasers the item, once bought, could be donated to our local soup kitchen and food pantry. I grabbed two cans and felt pretty pleased with my good deed.

It was only while walking home with three small plastic bags (feed a hungry person and screw up a landfill, that's my 2017 mantra I guess) that I realized the person bagging my purchases didn't put the peas in the big donation box, but rather, in a bag headed home with me.

"All We Are Saying..."
I realized in a flash, okay after one of the cans of peas fell out of the bag and landed on my right sneaker, that I was standing at the absolute beginnings of the William P Kenny Foundation. Just like our President-elect, I could take credit, and in theory, the tax deduction for a charitable donation AND still possess the item I had donated. (I should probably stick in a "Real" in front of my name.)

I know what you're thinking: It starts with peas? I believe the expression is let peas begin with me.
And, between us, what would I do with a six-foot oil portrait of the President-elect (especially with those hands most definitely NOT to scale)? Calm down. I put the two cans in a bag and put the bag in the car since in the course of the week, I'll be in and out of the store on more than one occasion and will just drop off the donation myself.

But come April 15th, I may find myself staring at tax forms and imagining what might have been had I stayed the course and pressed onwards and upwards with my semi-self-serving philanthropy scheme. I mean, look at our about to be Elected Leader. I still haven't seen any of his tax returns and the election campaign is long over and the folks who are supposedly auditing him now work for him.

On the other hand, I'm thinking, after I retire about running for Mayor where I live here, in Norwich, Connecticut (City motto: "Ethics Sold Separately") and I'm not sure by the time the elections roll around that those cans of peas won't have been joined by corn and other non-perishable items in a cascade of tax donations that could prove to be an unpresidented headache in untangling my foundation from my private life.
-bill kenny

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