Ok, so it is Monday and I am supposed to put something here. I took the week off. Christmas and all that, you know. Besides, I am also comtemplating opening a second blog. This one will remain as you see it. The second one will be of a more serious tone. So, bear with me this one week whilst I sort through all that. I hope you had a good Christmas!!
(An update from a previous article lamenting our birthday).
Our community Center membership had expired. We had not been there in quite awhile, largely because we would rather have gotten our exercise in the great outdoors than cooped up in a sweaty gym somewhere. Seeing as how it is December and cold enough to freeze meat, we thought we might as well sign up for another year and avoid any further encounters with frostbite. Besides, the wife has a membership at a local gym where she can swim to her heart’s content (she was raised in the Pacific Northwest and is, we think, part fish) and we did not want to be left out. So, on this fine Saturday, we gathered up our fifty dollars and utility bill (one must prove one’s citizenship in our little town to join the Community Center – it’s an exclusive club you see).
Well, we got to the gym and handed over our utility bill and money to the gentleman at the desk. He took that and handed us a sheaf of papers which we were instructed to read and then sign our life away in several places. We thought the amount of paperwork to read and sign just to use the gym was tantamount to signing away our immortal soul. We did not want to upset anybody though, or give them cause to throw us out so we read and signed and got our money out. The woman at the cash register (why, oh why, is there always a woman that wants, and gets, our money?) asked us if we were a senior. We quickly and emphatically said “NO”! But Wait! “How do you define a senior?” we inquired. “Anybody over fifty-five gets a discount from $50.00 to $25.00”, was the response.
We were now in a difficult situation. We had just turned 55 the previous month and, in our state of denial, had determined that we would rather avoid any senior citizen discounts and preserve our dignity (and vanity). What to do? Was it worth going against our own self imposed inviolable word and take what amounted to a bribe of pity from the Community Center or do we preserve our integrity? Who will, among our friends, know that we had finally admitted to what everybody already knew; that we were now “officially” old.
Twenty-five dollar is twenty-five dollars. We politely asked the two employees behind the counter to render forevermore silent the transaction they had just witnessed. They gave a solemn oath that their lips would be sealed for all time.
We are informed that a camera tapes that particular area of the center 24/7. Though we have no doubt that the two employees will be true their oath, the camera made no such promise as YouTube will most assuredly broadcast our embarrassment.
Furthermore, we STILL don’t know why we are writing in the first person plural. Maybe we can avoid feeling old by spreading the guilt. Who knows. It’s nap time.
Last week, we discussed what to do when you have to go shopping with your lovely bride. While they are in their element in any store except hardware and auto parts stores, they are the undisputed queens of the mall. I have given you a few tools to work with when you go shopping with your wife. Remember, getting lost in the mall equates to losing all of your money. The sad truth is your wife is only one danger you will face.
Frankly, the bigger danger for men is daughters. We who have the mixed blessing of a daughter (or, yikes, daughters) know the face of danger. It will be a futile effort, but I will attempt to give you some level of hope as you take on the hazardous task of shopping with your daughter.
You already know that your wife has a highly developed shopping gene. Unlike your daughter, your wife already has your money so has no real need to cajole or “inspire” you to spend it on her. Your daughter, though, actually does own you and, in her mind, has every right to dig as deep as her heart desires into your life’s savings for anything “your little princess” wants.
Keep in mind your wife has trained her from birth. They are professionals. They know how to get away from you at will and satisfy that internal need they all have to shop. Your only real goal is to stay in visible contact and minimize the losses.
Your daughter has the ability to simultaneously slip your grasp and take all of your credit cards at the same time. There is no known defense against this. Realize that you are constitutionally unable to say no to your daughter(s). So, what to do:
Don’t take any cash or credit cards to the mall. This is tough as your daughter can sense the presence (or lack thereof) of cash and/or plastic. If you can keep her distracted until you get to the store’s parking lot, you might be able to pull it off. This is highly unlikely as your wife will probably follow you to bring the plastic you “forgot.” Remember, controlling the money is critical to avoiding getting lost in the mall.
Announce you have lost your job and contracted a debilitating illness on the same day. You might be able to garner a little bit of sympathy on this. Don’t try this during the Christmas shopping season. They will abandon you in the mall and you will never get back home.
You might try emigrating but it probably won’t work. They will hunt you down. Face it, there is no best way. You are doomed. Not only will they escape from you the instant they enter a mall, they will spend all of your cash, exceed the limits on your credit cards, and empty your 401K in an instant. The only real way to avoid losing your daughter in the mall is NEVER EVER go there with her. Good luck with that one.
I am happy to announce to you that just today, a column from this very website was published in The Southsider Voice, Indianapolis. Many thanks to Denise Summers at The Voice for doing me this honor. You will find it on page 7 of the December 2nd issue.