You Are Now Entering Loserville, Population: Me
Within 24 hours of getting my big Christmas present, a check for $500, it was gone.
The minute I started up my car outside my sister house, where my family had gathered for a holiday feast, she ran out to warn me, "Hey, your headlight's out." And so it was. No biggie, only $22.78 and an hour out of my day off the next day.
Then came the heating bill from BGE, a new record of $238! But that was expected, too, as we all had been warned about the rising cost of natural gas and how it would hit us hard this Winter. Then came the Verizon bill. Whoopsie. Must have missed last month's bill, because this was a double bill I recieved. No matter, just write a check for $150, Tom!
Ah, but then I had enough to try and get a cheap Winter coat the next day at Target. On my way back from getting a new headlight at the Honda dealership (where I enjoyed reading the new issue of Tennis Magazine in the waiting room while two Towson U. jocks looked contemptuously at me - with my legs crossed and reading specs on - like I was a total poof), I stopped in my favorite department store and found a 30-percent-off puff down/fleece jacket there for a mere $28. Wotta steal, I thought. It was warm, very warm, and black, so I got it.
Heading home, I was vexed that I had spent most of my holiday cheer check on bills and repairs, but I consoled myself with the fact that at least I had a really warm coat - finally! - for the really biting cold weather outside.
Before I went to bed Monday night, I remembered I had the coat still bundled up in the Target bag, so I went downstairs around 1:30 a.m. to hang it up. For some reason I couldn't resist trying it on to get one more "feel" for my new spiffy Winter coat. I preened in front of the living room mirror and said, "Yup, that's snug and warm alright." I was a regular Puff Daddy. Yes sir, I looked forward to wearing it the next day.
But when I went to take off my spiffy new warm coat there was a slight problem. The zipper was stuck. I tugged this way, then that way. I tried to squeeze out of the coat by ducking my head down the collar and pushing the coat up, like I was Houdini the Magnificent escaping from a dangerous puff coat entrapment. To no avail. For 30 minutes I tugged and pulled and squeezed, until I started to panic. I'm gonna hve to sleep in this INCREDIBLY HOT down coat, I thought, beginning to get frenzied. What about showering in the morning? How will I ever get out of it? I could die in this coat, I thought. My thumb was by now so sore, I feared it was sprained, which I really didn't want to happen, what with my Winter Tennis League starting in just a few scant weeks.
It suddenly dawned on me that I was gonna have to sacrifice the coat to get to sleep and not suffocate in a big puffy down coat, so I grabbed a pair of scissors, went out on the front porch of my house, and started cutting off the stuck collar. (Very carefully, because the collar was really tight around my neck and I was afraid that if I wasn't careful, I might actually cut my jugular and be found lying on my living room floor in a big puffy coat splattered with blood and matted down feathers, leading authorities to think I was a victim of some weird Michael Hutchance-esque auto-erotic sex experimentation.) Little white fleece feathers went flying everywhere, as I anticipated. I grabbed a big Hefty bag from inside the house and went out on the porch and carefully stuffed the now mutilated jacket in it. Then I grabbed the Target receipt. There was no way they would take it back in this state, but what the heck. I had to try. ("Hello, customer service? You'll never believe this, but my down jacket imploded!") The jacket was made in China, so perhaps I could play the Sino Free Trade Imbalance/World Takeover Conspiracy Card. Or maybe they'd just believe somebody like me could be THAT STUPID.
So there you have my little Christmas Miracle. It could only happen to me, the World's Biggest Loser. With money, obviously, to burn. But not on anything good. Like a bar tab. An iPOD. A night out at a fancy restaurant. A fancy fifth of single malt Scotch. Tickets to a show at the Hippodrome or the new Aquarium exhibit. Hell no!
But wait, you say, you still have some $72 left from that holiday check! Yeah, well, I didn't mention my credit card bill, which was obscene. Trust me, it's all gone.
Am I a total loser or what? The answer, my friend - like that $500 check, like the down feathers from my temporary down jacket - is blowing in the wind. The answer is blowing in the wind.