Saw this response on GoFundMe: "I want to donate enough to really help you out, but I can't figure out how to get GoFundMe to accept bootstraps"

I assume it's sarcasm but I don't get it - what does he mean by "accept bootstraps"?

  • We have the expression "to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps". It means (paradoxically) to help oneself, that is, to be self-reliant. – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 13 '15 at 10:29

I'm a native speaker, and the meaning isn't totally clear to me. My best guess is:

To pull yourself up by your bootstraps means to recover (or to begin) without help from other people. This person is telling you to pull yourself up by your bootstraps (i.e., this person thinks you can/should meet your needs without help).

Since you aren't pulling yourself up by your bootstraps (instead, you are asking for money), this person sarcastically suggests that maybe you don't have any bootstraps. This person sarcastically wants to give you bootstraps so you can pull yourself up by them. Obviously, GoFundMe doesn't allow users to donate literal bootstraps.

A more friendly reading (if the person really does want to help out) is that the person thinks that money will not be enough for you to succeed. For example, if you are sick in the hospital, money is helpful (to pay bills), but you will also need a lot of personal strength to make it through your sickness. The person might want help you, but you need personal strength to succeed, which the person cannot donate to you.

  • I think you nailed it in the 2nd paragraph. This person most definitely does not want to help. To elaborate - the guy asking for help is asking for it because he refused to pay for health care for ideological reasons and subsequently screwed himself over because of it... gaw.kr/FKb42IH if you're interested. – traveh May 13 '15 at 14:15
  • P.S. it's not my GoFundMe campaign obviously ;) – traveh May 13 '15 at 14:21

Yes. It's a satirical remark.

We use 'bootstraps' to mean with minimal or probably no help to do something.

When you accept bootstraps, you actually accept the help which in turn, does not fully justify the meaning of the word.

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    I'm not sure I follow you - what do you mean by "does not fully justify the meaning of the word"? – traveh May 13 '15 at 8:01
  • when you accept the help, you are less likely to have 'bootstraps' as it means with no extra aid. Reference given there. – Maulik V May 13 '15 at 8:26
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    I'm sorry, I still don't get the sarcasm :/ – traveh May 13 '15 at 8:34
  • check the answer now... see the bold parts. Hope it's clear or else, wait for someone else to answer. @traveh – Maulik V May 13 '15 at 9:25
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    So you are saying the sarcasm is that he's saying something like "I can't figure out how to get GoFundMe to accept 'no help' currency"? – traveh May 13 '15 at 9:33

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