Everybody likes to get birthday offers for stuff in their mail and/or email. Especially stuff that’s free. Because, let’s be honest, short of becoming one of those people from that Cheapskates show who might be willing to drag trash cans down to the pond the ducks poop in at the park to draw off a week’s worth of water, your birthday is probably the only time of year you can reliably depend on getting stuff for free.
Well, except for getting sick. You can always count on Peggy McPlaguerson, that one woman who refuses to stay how from work even when she’s so contaminated her face looks like she’s gone twelve rounds with a pack of rabid Leprechauns and who runs to the bathroom at even the mention of the word toast, to be happy to share her viral wealth with you, free of charge.
Everything else in life, though? Gonna cost you something, in most cases a combination of cash and/or pride.
Which is why I offer a hearty “Huzzah!” to the marketing people who dream up birthday specials for those of us foolish enough willing to give up our home address, P.O. Box, or email address in pursuit of a little Free Parking.
Truth be told, I’ve been trained like Pavlov’s dachshund to look forward to the annual glut of free assorted goods and services come March 12. For many of us in the Cincinnati area, special birthday privileges have been a part of our lives going all the way back to when we still counted our ages on the fingers of one hand. In fact, my first memory it being my birthday is from inside the Birthday Castle of Johnny’s Toys. The Castle was a magical place in the middle of a glorious toy store you’d go with a special key that you’d receive in the mail when your birthday was about a week away. And as if just being a kid and getting a key in the mail wasn’t cool enough, you use that key to unlock the castle’s door, where a veritable Dragon’s horde of treasure awaited you. Then you’d have your pick of the loot.
Well, okay, so you got to pick out a coloring book or a bag of plastic army men. But it was yours, dammit, and free of charge.
Ever since then, I’ve been expectant of a little annual birthday swag.
At least, I used to be. But that all changed a few years ago when a well-known chain restaurant started sending me the offer you see above. Even though I’ve never redeemed it once, they keep sending it year after year after year. And yes, once again, regular as clockwork, I received an email at the start of this month with the promise of succulent, spicy shrimp intended to lure me to our local Bonefish Grill. And once again, I grumbled like an angry Blarog when it pinged into my inbox.
But, Puddin, you say, why with the Blarog-ing? After all, who doesn’t want a satisfyingly gratis order of heavily sauced and seasoned shrimpicles to kick off a celebratory dinner?
Well, I don’t, thank you. Because, as it turns out, I’m kind of allergic. And while the temptation to fire down a handful of spicy shrimps is pretty damn strong, my desire to continue breathing through airways not sealed tighter than Scrooge’s money bag is even stronger.
So, seriously, Bonefish Grill, why you want to kill me for my birthday? Did someone put you up to this? Is there an insurance policy out there somewhere I don’t know about?
Oh, and don’t give me that about I could get the free dessert. I think we all know desserts at chain restaurants come of out the same white box I’d get if I went and pick up a piece of Tantalyzing Chocotation from the grocery. Except, you know, they just label it “chocolate cake”.
In conclusion, Bonefish, if you’d like me to patronize your establishment, maybe offer me something that’s both a) genuinely appealing and b) won’t end in a 911 call, and epinephrine drip, and a stomach pumping.
Because if I know one thing, it’s that having one’s stomach pumped isn’t really the high point of anyone‘s birthday plans.