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In My Opinion
A Schwartz By Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet.

With the usual combination of fanfare and grumbling, it was announced last month that, in exchange for a gift of $5 million, Oregon State University’s Parker Stadium was being renamed Reser’s Stadium, after the fine local company of the same name. And the annual gridiron clash of Beavers and Ducks will now be the Brought to You by Your NW Dodge Dealers Civil War Game. OSU also made it known that other naming “opportunities” were available, albeit showing what must have been painful restraint in neglecting to distribute a price list.

While some people viewed this bit of news as yet another nail in the dilapidated coffin of civilization as we know it, I was inspired. More than inspired—you could say that I had an epiphany. You could also say that it was just a bad case of indigestion.

Whatever the reason, it dawned on me that I have been letting a tremendous opportunity for good go unrealized. I, therefore, today announce that I, Todd Schwartz, am making myself available—in the cause of the less fortunate—for unique (and certainly high-profile) naming opportunities.

For a donation of $1 million, I will change my middle name for a period of five years (no loss there—I don’t use it for anything). Todd Columbia Sportswear Schwartz, for example. For $5 million, I will change my first or last name: Restoration Hardware Schwartz, say, or perhaps Todd Regence Bluecross Blueshield. For a contribution of $10 million or more, I will pretty much call myself anything you want.
Event-related sponsorships are also available. Consider the Brought to You By Kaady Car Washes Morning Shower, perhaps. Or the Presented by Tommy Hilfiger Drive to the Grocery Store.

This is an unparalleled opportunity for your business to, as they say, both do good and do well. As a freelance writer, my—or, should I say, your—name will appear in front of literally several people in the coming years. The exposure for your enterprise will be—well, let’s just say that this town is my oyster, and I don’t limit myself to the Pearl District, if you catch my drift.

And who will your generosity benefit? As I wrote: “the less fortunate.” I serve on the board of director of the Freedom from Legitimate Employment Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to eradicating the shocking need in this community for me, Todd Your Name Here, to do any actual work.

I can hear you scoffing. Either that or you have a serious respiratory ailment. How will that benefit the less fortunate, you ask? Well, I am certainly less fortunate than, for instance, Paul Allen. Here are some of the frightful conditions that add up to the sort of need that is impossible to ignore (and be warned, gentle reader, what follows is not pretty):

We live (if you can call it living) in a house with only TWO bedrooms. No one—NO ONE—in the household has a sport utility vehicle (not even one of the little fake ones). Two people must share a single, and fairly large, cell phone. We must make do with only basic cable service—can you imagine life without a single premium channel? And the largest TV screen in the house is a pathetic 27 inches! We own nary a stick of vacation property—not even a lousy timeshare...

I think I’ve made my point. Only your gift can end this tragic middle-classness. Picture me: proudly answering to, signing and promoting your business name, throughout the metropolitan area and sometimes even in Gresham—while you bask in the knowledge that you have made this a better world. For me.

And what more can any of us do?

Todd Schwartz is a writer living in Portland. Unless, for a sizable donation, you’d like him to live somewhere else.

   
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