Monday, January 23rd, 2012
Me: “Oh my God, look – 60% off a coffee enema!”
Virtually Everyone Within Earshot: “You really need to see someone about this.”
I am, as almost anyone will attest (if properly threatened) a man of extraordinary taste. Regrettably, I am a man of ordinary means. And short of a career in shoplifting – which, although chock full of excitement, danger, and hard-to-remove security tags, also comes brimming with untimely incarceration and the bothersome issue of morality – I realized years ago that if I wanted to live in the kind of style to which I’d like to become accustomed, I had no choice but to embrace coupons.
And that notion always seemed like a giant, inconvenient, badly dressed bummer.
Until Groupon came along.
Did you know that these daily deals – offered on everything from fast food to facelifts – can fill you with enormous satisfaction and pride in your own fiscal cunning? You are, after all, getting liposuction for 60% off.
Of course, the fact that I don’t really need liposuction – or that giving it as a gift can set a friendship back ten years – is really beside the point. And since these coupon clubs like Groupon, Living Social and Travelzoo have apps that you can check from your phone – first thing in the morning, on the toilet – there’s really no limit to the amount of money you can save.
Which appears to be the problem.
As someone who has now amassed an impressive collection of pilates classes, psychic readings, bouncy house rentals and beekeeping suits, I’m saving so much money that I’m going broke.
Me: “Look, a customized bobblehead for just $69 – regular $149!”
Anyone With Sense: “I’m taking away your phone.”
Of course, it’s not like I have a problem. I mean, sure, I have taken to keeping a log of my purchases and their expiration dates so that things don’t slip through the cracks.
And I’ve begun to forgo group outings, because all my dinner coupons are for two.
And I do occasionally drive all over town to three different branches of a store because they’ll only accept one coupon per visit.
And there’s that pesky issue of refusing to go to any establishment for which I do not currently possess a voucher.
But I am just someone who appreciates the value of a dollar. Someone with a keen eye for financial conservatism. Someone who understands that a defibrillator at 72% off is the kind of bargain that just doesn’t come along every day.
Now if I can just find someone who’s having a heart attack.
Oh, wait, my partner’s opening the VISA bill. That should do the trick.
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Saturday, January 14th, 2012
Lately, it has come to my attention that I have, over the course of my fairly long and completely stupid life, constantly envisioned myself to be grander, wiser, more successful, and less of a boob than I actually am.
And I’m starting to think I should be concerned about it.
Those of you who’ve read my first book know that the image problems started around age eight – the year when I first began pretending to be Endora from Bewitched. Now, given my youth at the time, my stunning dearth of friends, a virtual cavalcade of bullies, and my mother (enough said), this particular detour through Crazytown could probably be written off as only slightly disturbing.
But it continued. As a teen and young adult, I was constantly imagining myself as various celebrities – from music superstars to fashion icons to authors. And while knowing where all the swells in applause were on the Liza Minnelli Live at Carnegie Hall album – so I could grandly sweep from the hallway (backstage) into the living room (onstage) to take my bows – might be considered a tad disquieting in a sixteen-year-old, they were downright alarming when I was old enough to knock back a whisky sour.
And now, as a middle-aged man, they have, apparently, worsened. What was once (according to a therapist) an unconscious device to help me cope with alienation and discover my place in the world has now ballooned into what appears to be Dial 911-level psychosis. To the consternation of those around me, I now imagine myself to be Oprah – albeit a tall, gawky, deeply un-tan facsimile.
Of course, I’m not completely insane. Although my best friend Kirk does call himself Gayle, I am relatively certain that I am neither female, nor black, nor beloved. Yet I do believe that I have a life path similar to Oprah’s. Maybe I’m not supposed to spring free houses on deserving people, or pay for the secondary educations of 68,000 kids, or haul my fat out in a Radio Flyer on TV. But I do sorta think I’m supposed to encourage mankind to be their best selves, by simply sharing the ludicrous things I do and the lessons I glean when it all comes crashing down around me.
So, is this crazy? Should I be concerned?
For now, I think I’m just gonna keep on doing it and hope for the best. I figure that as long as I don’t start signing letters with a Big “O” or yelling at the president of Hermes when they won’t let me in after closing, I’m golden.
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