“I need you to do me a favor,” said Aunt Tessie. She held an envelope in her hand. A trip to the post office, I figured. Nothing to it.
“Sure,” says me, with a soupcon of largesse.
What a fool I was. She handed it over, and it was like being served with a subpoena. Publishers Clearing House.
“It says I’m a guaranteed winner,” Tessie beamed. We looked closer. “Actually,” I told her, “It says someone in this probably-about-six-million-people mailing is a winner.”
“Well, it still could be me. Would you figure all this out and enter for me?”
But of course.
I let four days go by before I opened this hornet’s nest. Fairly early on, I found the UltraComboPrize square, which I had to stick onto the main entry form. But it would be some time before I found the “Your Initials” stamp, buried at the bottom of a Snowman Fleece Throw offer. And it wasn’t over yet.
There were 35 pieces of paper, plus the envelope it all came in. (Yes, I counted.) Most had nothing to do with the contest: just offers of…let’s politely call it “stuff.” Some of the valuable items I could have ordered:
* 6-langage translator
* set of 10 retractable gel pens
* 32-melody wireless digital doorbell
* rosary case
* BarkOFF (scary handheld electronic dog trainer)
* “End Time” DVD (“Will you be ready for the Apocalypse?”)
* “Great Sex for a Lifetime” DVD (or what’s left of your lifetime, before the Apocalypse)
*Civil War historic newspaper compilation
* lucky glass elephant
and much, much more!
Another twenty minutes, and I had found the final stamp I needed for the prizewinning envelope on the Money Machine offer page. (It was not what I would call a Money Machine – this thing counts coins up to $999.99; I consider a Money Machine something that prints money.)
No, wait! I hadn’t affixed the Bingo card! It could mean an immediate $500! What a close call!
I alerted Tessie that the job was done, and drove to the mailbox. Only when I dropped it in did I realize that I had no idea what the prize was. $1,000,000? A ranch house? Trip around the world? A sun-filled Caribbean vacation For Nieces Only? It better be.
Stay in the game: somebody’s got to win.
More from parenting