Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How Did This Happen?

Last week, I received a catalog from a jewelry making supply company. I’ve ordered items from this company six or seven times during the last twenty years. Although I haven’t ordered anything from it in at least two years, I find a sale catalog from the company in the mailbox three or four times a year.

So I wasn’t surprised to get the catalog. What surprised me was that it was addressed to me at my new location. No, there wasn’t a yellow sticker from the USPS attached to it with my forwarding address. And anyway, I don’t think the post office forwards catalogs.

My current address was printed on the back of the catalog? I haven’t notified the company regarding my change of address, and I don’t plan to do so unless I order something from it online.

So now I’m wondering: How did that company get my new address? And who or what else has it?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Date Did NOT Set My Best Friend on Fire

One February, way back when we were teens, my best friend, Kate, talked me into yet another blind date. The guy she liked lived ten miles away. He didn’t have a car, but his friend did. We met the guys at a nearby restaurant where we sat and talked for a couple hours.

Well, Kate and “Donnie” talked for a couple hours.

As for me, I wished that I had stayed home and read a good book. My date, I’ll call him “Joe,” was not someone my parents would have approved of. I won’t go into details, but I did notice that he had a lot of gray in his hair. I suspected that he had probably graduated from high school shortly after the end of World War II. Fortunately, Joe dozed off about twenty minutes after we were introduced.

Hey, I wasn’t that boring.

Thirty-plus years later, I wrote an anecdote about that bizarre double date and entered it in a Worst Date contest sponsored by a newspaper that no longer exists. Of course, being a writer, I, um, embellished the story a bit.

On Valentine’s Day, the newspaper published an article written by one of its reporters. The article included several worst date anecdotes submitted by readers (with no last names mentioned). Mine was the lead in. I knew it couldn’t miss. It began with, “My date set my best friend on fire.”

My entry related how Donnie had lit a cigarette and tossed the match into the ashtray. The hot match scored a direct hit on the cellophane cigarette wrapper, which burst into flames. I wrote that my dozing date woke up, assessed the situation, and started huffing and puffing. Thanks to Joe’s lung capacity, the mini torch went airborne and landed on Kate’s fuzzy black sweater.

Well, that was my story then, but I’m no longer sticking to it.

The reality: My date did not set my best friend on fire. I confess that I combined the blind date story with another “incident” that happened when Kate and I were at the restaurant a few months earlier. Yes, the ashtray fire really happened the way I wrote it, but Donnie and Joe were nowhere in sight.

Today, when friends read the tear sheet of that article, I tell them the truth: “Actually,” I say, “I’m the one who set Kate on fire.” But not to worry, Kate wasn’t hurt. Her sweater was only slightly singed, and the Pepsi stains came out in the wash.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Cinderella, Snow White, and the Elves (Yes, Elves)

Way back when I worked full time, a coworker told me about a research paper she had written for a college class. I don’t remember the name of the class—something to do with child psychology, most likely. Her subject was fairy tales.

I’ll call my coworker “Susan,” although that wasn’t her real name. Susan interviewed several women while researching her project. She asked each woman what her favorite fairy tale was when she was five years old.

According to Susan, whatever your favorite childhood fairy tale was, that’s how you thought your life was going to turn out. In other words, if your favorite fairy tale was Cinderella or Snow White, your five-year-old self figured you’d grow up, meet a handsome prince, and live happily ever after.


Unlike my friends in kindergarten, I wasn’t impressed by Cinderella or Snow White. I liked the story about the elves and the shoemaker. I thought it was really neat that the elves helped out the tired shoemaker and his wife by making shoes while the couple got a decent night’s sleep.

I guess my preference meant that, when I grew up, I thought I would find someone to do my chores for me. Chores like cooking and cleaning for example.

As it turned out, that did happen. Sort of. Other Half retired many years before I did. So, while I worked full time, he did most of the housework.

But no longer. Now that I’m retired from full-time work, Other Half figures that he’s retired from doing just about anything around the house.

So I do it all now. And I’ve accepted that. But I’m also beginning to suspect that the shoemaker took advantage of the elves.