I am a sucker. You come to my door selling an $8 Kit Kat for a school fundraiser- I buy it. Cheap, crappy wrapping paper? Cookie dough? Where do I sign? We all want to support our kids and their entrepreneurial efforts, but after signing over a $54 check to the lady trying to get off the streets by selling magazine subscriptions, I realized I just cannot say no. To anyone, apparently. Sure, she tested my giving spirit when she tried to prove her love for the 11 month old she is raising- and whom she delivered as an addict- by pulling up her sleeve to reveal a giant tattoo of the infant, but face-to-face I just cannot say no. If I avoid eye contact with you at school it is only because, if asked to chair another auction or spearhead the campaign to fund new playground equipment, I will inevitably say yes (much to my husband’s chagrin).
I should take a lesson from my ever-creative father, who delivered a well-rehearsed speech to the telephone salesman from Arthur Murray, when he was hit up to purchase dance lessons.
Salesperson: “Hello sir. Are you the head of the household”?
My dad: Groan
Salesperson: “My name is Walter from the Arthur Murray dance studio and have we got a deal for you”!
My dad: Sniffle. “Hi Walter. I’m Bill. But before you go any further, I feel that I must tell you something. Now, I’ll try to get through this without breaking down, but bear with me. I recently lost my wife, who herself, was a prima ballerina. I tried and tried for years to learn to dance with her- to make her proud so that we could win that big contest at the Elks Lodge Christmas ball. But, much to her disappointment, after losing both of my legs in a gruesome lawn-mowing incident, of which I’ll spare you the details, my wheelchair prevented me from doing many of the moves. Fed up, she left me for a man whose jazz hands mocked me with their classic training. Actually…. I’m sorry Walter, but I just can’t finish without tearing up at her memory. How about this- so that I can tell you the rest of the story, why don’t you give me YOUR home number and I can call you back when YOU’RE in the middle of dinner”?