First off, I want to apologize: I know that some of the people who don't donate blood have really, really good reasons. Like (a) being unable for some legitimate reason--can't without blacking out, unsafe for their health, etc--and/or have been refused for similar, or, (b) having been refused outright for a reason rooted in some variety of institutionalized bigotry or paranoia.
Red Cross (any blood donation center I've met, really--Delta, UCLA. . .) doesn't care if you own the tattoo parlor and have sterilized everything used on you personally. They don't care if you were a vegan when you lived in England. They don't care if your male-male sex was protected, or occurred twenty years ago. They don't care if the possible incubation period on any disease is long up since you were in whatever neighborhood they find high risk. Accounting for things like that would take too much time and effort, when they can overgeneralize (and still not rule out the possibility of disease, surprise surprise). Being over- rather than under-protective of the blood supply, despite severe shortage, is one thing. Perpetuating shit like this despite options for more reasonable screening, especially in the face of shortage, is another.
So I apologize if I came off high-horse--I didn't mean to. I know it's rotten. I do want to encourage people who can--who are allowed to--to do it, despite the bullshit of the system. It doesn't hurt much, it doesn't take too long, they'll usually give you a gift certificate for a pie or something. And a lot of the people who don't/haven't donated just haven't thought about it, or haven't found the time. But I wish the system wasn't so fucked. And I wish I knew what to do about it.
Second of all. Tangential relation at best, started to write/post this last night, but couldn't get through it. I'll get sick of crying through that song, eventually:
I only just learned that some of the biggest St. Patrick's Day parades--ones in New York and in Boston, for instance--ban gay groups (and even gay marchers) from their midst. Don't want them. Explicitly.
. . .I think I may be heartbroken.
See, I had a tiny inkling--just a little weak tickle, every year--that some year, eventually, I wanted to be in New York or Chicago or Boston for St. Patrick's. I'm religion-free, and I'm a mutt, but I know where I identify more strongly on the rare given day I try. And I wanted to cross the country, to be somewhere with a strong Irish-American community that celebrates, that revels, that adores. One that turns out and is game to enjoy it. Here, there's the occasional green shirt, and I hear P. Wexford's in Modesto goes to town, but that's an Irish Pub. And that's the only one. The Guinness goes on sale, and if you get 6 packs or more, you get a few dollars off on your meat.
It's not the same, you know?
I guess I just wanted to see it, sometime. New York! On March 17th! Just once, maybe. . . Decked out and vibrant and lovely. I wanted to go and dance, sing along. Maybe learn a new song.
Maybe I'll go to Chicago.
"Oh, the shamrocks were growing on Broadway,
Every girl was an Irish colleen
And the town of New York
was the county of Cork!
All the buildings were painted green!
"Sure the Hudson looked just like the Shannon,
Oh how good and how real it did seem!
I could hear Mother singing,
the Shannon bells ringing,
'twas only an Irishman's dream!"