Hello there. I know I’ve been overdoing the plugging of my Vincent Browne caricature, but in my defence I think you’ll agree one thing about my drawing:
It’s really, really cold out there these nights.
It’s damned cold. It’s so damned cold that I doubt even the damned are as damned cold.
Jump into the bed as fast as you can but My! GOD!! It’s freezing cold! It’s cold enough to justify swearing profusely just to distract yourself until you finally warm yourself up.
But just think: cold as you are until the heater warms the bedroom or the duvet warms your toes, or your true love distracts you with a cuddle or a kiss, imagine having no bed and no door. Imagine that. No window and no roof. And no love.
A grimy, threadbare sleeping bag in a filthy, frozen alley or doorway and perhaps a corrugated cardboard sheet for a pillow. The pavement, bitter beneath you, leeching every ember of warmth out of you, no hope, no future, except the cold ground beneath you promising only one thing: this is how cold it is when you are dead and I assure you, my dirty, hungry and unloved friend, you will be dead very, very soon.
Can you even imagine how cold that would be?
I can’t. To be honest, I actually can’t. I can’t imagine it and I don’t even want to imagine it and I have a feeling you don’t want to imagine it either.
I donated a silly caricature of Vincent Browne (but silly as it is, I’m proud that it’s signed by the man himself) to the Simon Community in Cork. They are auctioning it online and after two days, bidding is already up to €300. That’s an awful lot of €2 coins given to the pale and frozen men and women I see sprawled, it seems, in every second doorway in my city.
But here’s the thing. My friend Philip Nolan has a brilliant idea. Instead of competing with a ridiculous figure, (like, say, currently €300) here’s what we can do: please throw a few quid, whatever you can spare, into the pot here. €1. €10. €50. Pence, cents. It doesn’t matter. Whatever you can spare.
Zippo’s plan is that we will outbid whatever the top bid is on the Simon auction site (at the time of writing, our figure is already ahead of the official tally) and then, once we’ve bought the horrible-looking thing, we hand the Simon Community the money we’ve raised and we give the picture back to them. Then our winning bid becomes the reserve price at the Cork Simon Ball on March 28th and maybe the people in tuxedoes will better our bid.
It’s a bit of fun for us, toward a great cause and, please God, (whatever God in Whom you do or don’t believe,) we can help provide a bed and a future for people who, but for the grace of that same multiple-choice God, might well be you or me.
Happy New Year. And thank you.