Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Not a way of getting rich

Okay, how many of you are entering more contests in your Third Third than you did before? Uh, oh, is this just my personal aberration? Some way to bring in bonus money or yet more evidence that I can waste time in ever more creative ways?

And it’s not just contests. I’m filling out surveys on the cash register receipts that say Tell Us How We Are Doing! I’m keeping our household in Fred Meyer fuel points, but I’ve had no luck with JoAnn’s, Lowe’s, or Brown Jug. I think this idle wishful-thinking has worn out its hopefulness.
No matter the event, if they have a passport that needs to get stamped at all the stations, I get all the stations stamped. That made me the lucky winner of $100 at my credit union’s member barbecue. And then, because I regularly reviewed the books I read during the summer, I won a gift card in the library drawing. I was on a roll!

So I decided to enter one of the giveaways in Better Homes and Gardens, those ones in the tiny print at the back of the magazine. It was online and I had to click to watch a video ad before it confirmed my entry, but afterwards I was bombed with all sorts of emails from their “family of sites” (even though I’m pretty sure I unchecked all the opt-ins). Somehow they discovered me and time-wasting moved into high gear cleaning up the deluge in my inbox. Now my contest entering is strictly local.

My friend Judith once won two tickets to see Leonard Cohen in Hawaii. When the show was canceled, she was offered her first pick of tickets – in the front row – at one of his other shows. Her friend told her she needed to take advantage of her lucky star so Judith bought a pull tab … and won $20. Now Judith is entering Oprah’s 12-Day Give-O-Way.

We’re both nervous after hearing what happened to a friend of Tim’s. He won a wine-tasting weekend with airfare, lodging, the whole nine yards. They had a great time. But when tax time arrived, he received a 1099 for $30,000! That practically killed him with taxes.

This makes me a chicken about contests, actually. I never go for the big stuff. What if I mistakenly stumble on something and next thing I know, I’m the subject of some tragic news story about falling victim to Scams that Target the Elderly (with a million emails from their “family of sites”)? I’d have to move.

And now I’ll close with the first poem I ever memorized, title and author forgotten:

   Although I try, I cannot spurn
   The place on phones marked Coin Return.
   A strange compulsion makes me linger
   And test with probing index finger.

   Let me but say to those not bound
   By this exploratory itch:
   It’s not a way of getting rich.

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