There’s a certain satisfaction to be had in slapping the charity bills from the hand of someone you really don’t like. A kind of Ava Gardner “You can’t buy me, Howard” invocation. But it takes a truly special vein of pure loathing to take the money from someone you hate, and then give it to a cause they’d hate even worse. Because everybody’s good for something.
Merritt Tierce used to be a waitress at a high-end steakhouse in Texas…which is something like being the Vatican’s altar-boy delivery man. Merritt found the work decent paying, but pretty rough going in the Big Texas culture of numb misogyny and ass-grabbing, Bacchanalian one-percenters. In her spare time, she ran a charity called the Texas Equal Access Fund; the TEA Fund’s goal was to help the most impoverished women of Texas pay for transportation to and the medical costs involved in abortions in the state.
A few years later, she would become the award-winning author of “Love Me Back,” the dark and cooly self-loathing protagonist of which was herself, a server at a high-end steakhouse.
But in the days before she hit it big, Merritt encountered many of Texas’ dining elites at the steakhouse…including one Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh, as it turns out, is a pretty big tipper. According to an interview with the Dallas News regarding her book, the two times she encountered Rush he left a $1,000 tip on a moderate bill.
It’s hard to say what drives an “evil incarnate” monster like Rush Limbaugh to leave that kind of tip — the words “reciprocal altruism” come to mind. Guilt, perhaps. Maybe he didn’t want anyone putting “the special sauce” on his green beans. More likely, Rush simply has a habit of mistaking steakhouse servers for his oxycontin dealers. In any case, Merritt had a pretty clear idea of what to do with the money.
She shifted the money over to the TEA Fund, and gave it away to women seeking abortions. At which point she made a statement so ironic, it could only have come out of a writer’s mouth.
“That’s like blood money to me,” she said. And using the money to fund abortions “felt like laundering it, in a good way.”
Now, if only we could wrap Rush in five tons of tin foil, place him atop a solar tower, and use his spherical body as the cast-in conduit for 1000-degree molten salt…we might be getting somewhere.
See? Every body’s good for something.
And he’d still be in the spotlight.