America Exhausted By Weeks Of Katrina Fundraisers, Benefit Galas

Weary and exhausted by weeks of charity functions and benefits for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, Americans are able to breathe a sigh of relief as the cleanup effort subsides and New Orleans residents begin to head back into the city. Hung over and tired from being up all night to help the victims of the natural disaster, a sense of normalcy is beginning to creep back into America.

"It's time we get back to our normal lives, and show this disaster that we can beat it in the true spirit of America," said a local man in an impassioned speech in the park, where he had been walking his new puppy, named "Catrina" as a nod of support to the similarly-named disaster. "I for one am tired of walking this dog, and cleaning up its pee from my kitchen."

The hardest hit cross-section of the public has been that of bar patrons and concert-goers. Weeks of incessant drinking and silent auctions have left much of the nation's work force without a decent night of sleep or Sunday night at home for weeks.

"I just don't know how many more times I can go to [neighborhood bar] Ralphie's, where they donate their tips to the Red Cross," grunted Joel Pullman, 28, developer, as he wearily lifted his fourth beer to his lips to support the relief effort. "I really want to help, but I don't know how much longer I can hold out here. When my friend [Josh] who tends bar told me that they would be donating all their tips and half the profits to the Red Cross, I eagerly came down after work that night and drank my way to at least $30 in donations to those in need. After five nights, I think I might have to call off my own personal relief effort."

Expressing fear over his girlfriend's reaction to his largesse, he said, "I just hope that I have a home to return to when this is all over."

Garage sales, ticket raffles, and lemonade stands are all beginning to show signs of wear and tear after three weeks of generosity and altruism. While the nation is still willing to give, many are considering donating in the form of one large lump sum in lieu of piecemeal fashion at bars, strip clubs and schools.

"We're beginning to run out of supplies needed to keep up with the pace with my daughter's 'Help-the-victims-of-Katrina' bake sales, which seems to happen every other day," said mother of two Janine Miller, as she searched the frozen food section of the grocery store for a suitable evening meal for her family and rubbed her hands, bandaged and bleeding from the strain of constant baking, with a grimace. "We've had to resort to plain Rice Krispy treats after being depleted of M & M's, Skittles and even sprinkles. My son is always begging me for rides to these functions that his [Boy] scout leaders are putting on where they wash cars for donations, or something. We're happy to do our part, but I pray that the relief effort comes to a close down there in time for the Fall television season, or I don't know what we'll do."

With exhaustion setting in and the crisis receding, some organizations are even ceasing their relief efforts, or at the very least pulling them back a bit.

"I've got all of these old clothes like old sweaters and snow pants that the kids grew out of that I was going to give to help the victims of the disaster," continued Miller, "but the Salvation Army said they weren't accepting any donations of winter clothes, like they're too good for my help or something."

Miller indignantly added, "I'm giving up giving, and pouring myself a stiff margarita."

The entertainment industry is also relived that the end is near, having sustained heavy strain keeping the spirits of the nation afloat during this time of heavy floatation.

"After three weeks of uncertainty and desperation, Americans can finally begin turning down offers to attend charity raffles and Red Cross fund raisers," said Entertainment International director Barbara Erstadt. "The nation's musicians are tired, caterers are exhausted, and the promoters need a rest. The human toll that Katrina has taken on the entertainment industry may only be calculated with time."

Musicians have been some of the hardest hit by the wave of benefit concerts that have left many without Perrier water or access to caviar for days and weeks on end. Many have lost their jobs in the wake of the disaster, such as Britney Spears' personal assistant in charge of categorizing and filtering out unfit M&M's.

Limp Bizkit, System of A Down, and Elton John have announced plans to host a concert to help the exhausted and tired entertainers of the nation take a break and give them a chance to get into contact with their favorite caterers, many of whom have been missing since Shelter From The Storm: A Concert For the Gulf Coast. "Wiped Out By Katrina (Benefits)" will donate a portion of its proceeds to those adversely affected by Bono's rendition of "Amazing Grace".

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