Last night at dinner we violated our usual cultural standards for the meal and had a bag of Doritos on the table. Nacho cheese flavor, if you must know. Like a cereal box sports hero or a milk carton missing person, the chips had a picture and a story on the back of the bag. Curiousity got the better of me, so I read it.
What's going on is that Frito-Lay, the parent company of Doritos, has teamed with an organization called "Do Something" to recognize young people who have done something remarkably "good." Whatever that means.
I'm not sure if I'm on board with that. Of course, it is difficult to be against "good." And it is equally difficult to oppose young people who get off their pampered butts and try to offer something to society. But, is this effort supporting charity and philanthropy or is it propagandizing? I don't know.
The bag I was reading told of a young man, currently 22 years old. He traveled to Uganda when he was seventeen. While there, he determined to do something good so he founded a school where he has led the effort to educate the people, raise awareness of global climate change, and attempt to eliminate poverty. Wow!
I considered the story for a moment and then thought to myself, do you know of any seventeen year old in America who when asked where he might like to go for Spring Break would reply, "Entebbe"? Was he studying the leadership of Idi Amin in high school? Did he want to investigate possible war crimes by the Israeli defense forces which freed a planeload of hostages in a remarkable raid that fostered two made-for-TV movies? Did he view Uganda as a cool place to pick up hot girls who are about 80% HIV positive? What are the odds?
Then, how does a 17-year-old found a school? What source of capital does he have? What educational experience? Who teaches? What does Uganda allow him to do in the fight against global warming? And on and on. The questions covered too much ground.
My curiousity piqued, I went to the kitchen cupboard where I knew another virginal bag of Doritos sat. Cool Ranch flavor, if you must know. There was another heart warming story of a young person who was doing something "good."
This one told the tale of a young girl who went back-packing in Asia at seventeen. While trekking through Nepal she noted the number of orphans so she determined she would not return to America. She remained in Nepal where she established an orphanage which so far has rescued and placed 200 Nepalese orphans in loving homes.
What responsible parent in America would allow a 17 year old girl to go back-packing in "Asia"? Could she maybe have chosen a narrower and more specific destination than the largest land-mass on the planet? How does a young girl get to Nepal with a back-pack? Who lets her simply "not return" to America? Did she get a visa extension and a refund on her round-trip ticket? How does she support herself, let alone start an orphanage? How is she dealing with language issues? Does she know how to arrange a legal adoption in Nepal or anywhere else for that matter?
I'm confused. The stories are so amazing that they defy belief. In fact, I don't believe them. Am I too skeptical? Should I continue to buy Doritos?