Speaking today from the Oval Office, President Obama warned that absent a sharp reversal, within weeks the nation will be inundated by a tsunami of declarations by entertainers, politicians and others that they want to "give back" to voters, fans and anyone else who can do them some good.
"I have mobilized all of our resources in response to this threat," said the President, "but experts tell me we have only a few weeks of capacity, after which we will have to divert these statements to places like North Korea and the Aleutian Islands, where giving back is not a serious problem."
The President noted that the most obvious contributors to the "give back" crisis are politicians. The record bears him out.
In Minnesota's Third District, for example, candidate Jim Graves announced he would run against incumbent Michele Bachmann because, "I felt it was my obligation to give back for all I've gotten over the years. Truth be told, it isn't fun, but you have to give back in your life. You have a limited amount of time on this planet, and you have to give back when you can."
Notwithstanding his early "give back" lead, Graves lost, with post-election polls showing that Third District voters overwhelmingly preferred Bachmann's promise to give back facts she hadn't used during her term in office.
Doctor of Chiropractic Mike Aiello, candidate for Trustee on the Clinton Township County Board in Missouri, told voters that he, too, wanted to give back. He added that he was uniquely qualified for the office because he had spent his entire professional life dealing with backs. Voters will decide this spring whether he should be given a crack at the job.
In Florida's Cape Coral City, Richard Leon has announced that he will make a second run for a seat on the City Council because, "Cape Coral has given me so much. I want to give back." Leon, a vocal opponent of a proposal to ban fishing from city bridges, believes he failed in his first try due to an unusually high turnout of manatees. Determined to avoid a similar surprise in his current run, he has planned several press events where he will throw live sea bass from a bridge over the Caloosahatchee River.
The "give back" wave has taken a strange turn in the race for a seat on the Mishawaka, Indiana School Board, where candidate Shana Penn has said she wants to "give back" and has actually pledged to give back her salary in order to improve the schools. In reaction to this development, the City Council's "Committee on Un-Mishawakan Activities" has summoned her to testify. She has also been charged with violating the City's new "What You Talkin' About Shana?" ordinance.
Though politicians bear significant responsibility for the "give back" crisis, there are other groups and individuals who must share the blame, with celebrities topping the list.
Teen idol Justin Bieber, for example, has said: "Be humble, be grateful, give back, share, pay it forward, chase your dreams, go for it, and take a moment to remember where it is all from." To the relief of his agent, Bieber uttered these words in a private remedial cliché and preposition placement tutorial.
The multi-talented Lady Gaga has spoken emotionally about giving back: "The more my fans like what I'm doing, the more I want to give back to them. And my passion is so strong, I can't sleep--I haven't slept for three days."
Skeptics have questioned how Ms. Gaga had anything to give back after three days of passion.
Britain's Prince Harry, a well-known but not discernibly talented celebrity, has said: "You've got to give something back. You can't just sit there."
The Queen is rumored to have called the Prince to the Throne Room and given him a what for.
While the vast majority of "give backs" are of questionable sincerity, a handful come from the heart. One example of this rare category is a comment made by former Newark International Airport TSA agent Pythias Brown upon his release from prison after serving three years for stealing more than $800,000 in cash, clothing and electronics from passengers' luggage.
Brown told reporters that such thefts by TSA agents were commonplace, and that he was revealing that fact to make amends for his crimes: "I want to give back. To help... people understand you have to be very careful when you have your items in your bag."
Brown added that based upon his experience, passengers who had no items in their bags had nothing to fear.
In closing his news conference, President Obama said that notwithstanding the current crisis, he saw reason for hope. He noted in particular a change of direction among the six million highly unmotivated high school and college students who pay a fee to StudyMode.com for access to its database of a million essays and term papers that have been posted to the site by highly motivated students.
Until now, among the most searched-on phrases by StudyMode's student subscribers have been "Why Not To Plagiarize," "How to Plagiarize," and "Who Put the Bomp In the Bompde Bomp?"
Recently, however, there has been slow but steady growth in StudyMode subscriber searches for essays and term papers falling within the category, "Give Back," a niche that includes scholarly work on "Society's Problems and My Role In Helping It," "Do I Have a Craftsman or a Bungalow?" and "How to Cheat Good."
Said President Obama, "If this trend continues, I have no doubt that the profligate use of 'giving back' will decline, and that we can, at last, take back the country that we know and love."