I’m probably going to veer off from getting too political with these Month of Relentless Positivity posts. Not because I’m afraid of damaging my authorial brand or any of that shit  but mainly because at the moment I can’t manage the load of trying to find plausible silver linings.
But thinking yesterday about taking positive action in the world reminded me of something that I like to give a plug to as often as possible – donating blood to the Australian Red Cross.
Listen, it’s easy, it doesn’t have to be more than an hour out of your month, and it saves lives. There are some finicky and restrictive conditions for eligibility – recent tattoos or jail visits, a few medical conditions, or a history of certain forms of sexual contact could all exclude a donor, as would any number of other things. (I know about four people who can’t donate because they were in the UK in the early nineties, when Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease was first showing up as a standard Trivial Pursuit answer).
All the more reason for those of us who happen to fit the profile to do our bit. A single donation can supply up to three patients in need, and there are always more people in need of blood than there are people to supply it. Accident victims, cancer patients, premature babies. You’ll never know who you helped. Only that you did.
And listen, it doesn’t hurt. Oh, it can sometimes sting for a minute and it might ache for a while afterwards, but unless I have an unusually high pain threshold  then it’s not a big deal. I suffer more from cutting my nails than from giving blood (I am way clumsy with nail scissors).
And it’s fascinating. You can watch as the blood runs down a tube into these big machines that spin and wobble and strain the yellow bits out of the red bits, and after a while a plastic bag swells up with blood and…
Look, if any of that makes you squeamish, then probably you can skip this.
In Australia, the Red Cross also has a pretty solid incentive scheme in place to entice donors. There’s a free milkshake or cup of tea afterwards, and usually some kind of snack like a sausage roll or cheese and biscuits. Sometimes there’s a friand.
It’s pretty sweet.
I’m a semi-regular donor – coming up on 80 donations and looking to live long enough to get to triple figures (though I know at least a couple of people who are well past that milestone). If you’ve got a question about it, I’ve probably been around the block enough times to answer it in the comments.
If you can’t think of anything else you can do to make the world a better place today, then try this. Somebody will be grateful, even if you never find out who they are.