the school or the six pack


          I went to Target today to pick up an overgrip for my garage sale tennis racket. 

          An overgrip is what you put over the original grip when the original grip has worn down too much. For all I know, I doubled the price of the racket by putting this $7.99 tape on the handle. But before I could enter Target, I was approached by a big, friendly man who works at the Washington Sports Club, the sports center on the 3rd floor of the building.

          “We’re having a sale!” Tambe smiled. “Do you have two minutes? Want to see the gym?”

          I had two minutes.

          Tambe bounded up the stairs. I bounded after him. In the back of my mind I was thinking I had wanted to join for a while. Friends of mine from church went there. They lifted. They played basketball and volleyball. They’d participate in the “free” cycling and cross-fit classes. I could finally get my core in shape.

          He showed me around. Said that normally, it costs $280 to join, but today, it’d only be $78.80, then $80/month starting the next month.
          
          I looked at the paperwork. I could cancel after 15 days and still get my $78.80 back if I wanted.
          “Sure.”
          Tambe gave me a fist bump. I was sold.

          Getting home later that night, I saw that Caleb posted this on Facebook:
Last chance to sponsor one of the Safe House kids! We send the money this week, so now is a good time to say, "Yea, I have $40 (each month!!!) that is probably better spent on sending a child to school that otherwise WILL NOT get to go."

          I reconsidered my gym membership. What’s it going to be: a kid’s brain, or my abs?
          If I can afford an $80/month gym membership, then surely I can afford to send a kid to school for half that price.

          I just spent the past 6 weeks traveling around with Jim Wallis, who writes in the epilogue of his book on the common good, “If you are a father or mother, make your children the most important priority in your life and build your other commitments around them. If you are not a parent, look for children who could benefit from your investment in their lives.”
          Jim doesn’t say, “Look for kids who can benefit from your charitable donation.” That’s too easy, and in fact it’s probably hurts more than helps. Think of this as development: giving a kid the opportunity to be taught how to fish.

          Now onto other matters—who wants to do crunches with me in the park? 

Written By James Colten