Stop coming to me with your hand outstretched saying you’re going on holiday ‘for charity’ – donate anonymously instead

October also sees the start of Black History Month, an opportunity for Caucasian 20-something eternal students with names like Crispin Bunter-Wilmthorpe to handcuff themselves to the gates of Chessington World of Adventures after taking exception to the shocking level of cultural appropriation in the Penguins of Madagascar Treetop Hoppers ride

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The Independent Online

Not content with laying waste to next January, the types of people who think passing up on a cider is as heroic as running towards a burning orphanage want this October too. Going “Sober for October” in aid of Macmillan Cancer – a very good charity, but still – takes all the pious, self-congratulatory bleating of the post-Christmas health kick and shoves it at the start of autumn with its hand out.

Sober October now sits prettily alongside umpteen other days including the “Stoptober” giving-up-fags crowd, National Vegetarian Week and “Go Home On Time Day” which is a family-based charity initiative cajoling people with lax contraceptive skills to expect a big cheer for leaving a pile of undone work at 5.30pm on the dot for all the workplace non-breeders to take up the slack. Or “every f**king Wednesday through to Friday”, as some might call it.

October also sees the start of Black History Month, which is a crucially important time in the calendar for many people of colour, as well as in 2016 a possible flashpoint for Caucasian 20-something eternal students with names like Crispin Bunter-Wilmthorpe to handcuff themselves to the gates of Chessington World of Adventures after taking exception to the shocking level of cultural appropriation in the Penguins of Madagascar Treetop Hoppers ride.

October, incidentally, additionally gives home to International Babywearing Week, which is a cool time for white middle class 30-something graduate mums with armpit hair to make each other feel guilty about buying a Bugaboo or even trying to pee out of sight of a tantrumming 12lb slug.

But of all of these autumn public displays of saintliness, Go Sober For October is possibly the most transparently self-serving. Patently, one could simply donate a large whack of one’s salary every month to charity – give until it hurts, in fact – and say nowt. There are readers, I know, blinking at this suggestion in dark discombobulation, but it is true. Seriously, many of us have done it. One can indeed sit quietly in the knowledge, month on month, that one is making considerable righteous sacrifices to right the world’s wrongs or, in this case, fight one of the world’s most evil and misery-making diseases.

But where, you ask, is the kickback in that? Can Stacey in digital marketing shift 12lbs in 32 days via vodka avoidance and go on to wear a bandage dress in Christmas party photos by simply giving her own money and shutting up on Facebook? Can Tim in public relations pin a large calendar to his desk and cross off every day he’s spent not-pissed like a desert rat marking days he’s survived Operation Battleaxe?

Can Kyle from accounts ask his colleagues Iqbal and Waleed for £20 each – without a hint of irony – to chivvy him along in his incredible, nigh-insurmountable feat of “waking up sober”? Will these very same people have to face him in 33 days when Sober October turns into “Woo! All aboard the Steamboat! Can’t Bloody Remember November”? Philosophically speaking, if no one attends the post-work drinks and nurses a sparkling Evian morosely yet with distinct stoicism, is anyone being saved from cancer at all?

With this in mind, one October charity day I will be supporting is National Badger Day on 6 October. I am a terrific fan of badgers: they are affable, peaceful and pilloried creatures. And so lacking in neediness. Not once has a badger asked me to donate £50 for it to trek the Great Wall of China or the Peruvian Andes with the spurious claim they are doing it for sick kids when in actual fact the badger has recently got divorced and wants a bit of Me Time.

Not once has a badger sent me a video of itself doing 22 press-ups wearing a sleeveless vest with taut abs out, to “honour those who serve”. All badgers want us to do is stop culling them. If you’d pledge not to do that, I’m prepared to open my purse and dig deep.

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