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June 3rd, 2007


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08:28 am - Greater Love Hath No Man
I should probably mention in advance that this post may look like one of those jokes that starts out with "A horse walks into a bar" and then commences to go on for approximately three hours with a twisty, turny kind of tale-telling that makes you think it's building up for a fantastic punchline, but instead ends up with something like, "Don't be silly: horses don't drink beer" or similar.

That said, let's give it a go, shall we?

For this to make sense, I'll have to go back a bit and tell you something about my Dad. Dad donates to several charities as a matter of course. Because of this, he's on the List™ for potentially every non-profit or charitable group ever invented. Now, it used to be that the way charities would try to guilt you out of your cash was that they would send you a set of free address labels along with a note that said something on the order of, "The poor, blind, amputee three-year-olds who are starving in Upper Badhobbsia want you to have these address labels as their special gift to you. However, sending you these labels means that little Sudrika will not be able to eat for a month and will probably be beaten severely for such extravagance so we hope that you'll use one of them to stick on this envelope when you send your generous donation."

The address-label trick worked so well that the smart folks in the marketing departments of various charities started thinking. (It's dangerous to have A) smart folks in marketing departments, and B) said folks thinking. Important safety tip for small business and charity owners.)

"You know," they mused, "if we could increase our donations that much by guilting people with address labels, what do you suppose we could get if we sent out other stuff?"

And thus, the gold rush was on. Nowadays, charities send out everything from small, nearly valueless coins to checks for a few dollars to T-Shirts, aprons, calendars, small fuzzy animals, and, in the case of a charity that provides clothing to underprivileged children in the US (and in a rather unfortunate burst of someone in Marketing's enthusiasm), pairs of little girls' panties. (No, I'm not making that up. Yes, I thought the person responsible would be sacked as well, but since Dad has received three pairs of little girls' panties from this charity so far, either said person is still there or the management thought it was still a great idea to continue with the idea after the sacking. Personally, I feel it's a bit creepy to be sending out little girls' panties to 60+ year old men, but then again, I'm not in marketing.)

To make a long story short, Dad ends up with large amounts of what could only be referred to as "swag" from non-profit organizations across the globe. When this happens and the swag is not something that he, himself, has any use for, he has figured out exactly what to do with it.

*knock knock knock*

"Yeah, Dad?" I say, looking up from my computer.

"Hey," he says. "I was out shopping, you know, and I looked all around all over the place and, after a lot of effort, I got you this gift."

And then he hands me the three-sided highlighter pen, little clip-on thingy that, when you press a "reset" button, shows a bunch of zeroes in a digital display but otherwise seems to have no purpose, mini computer vac, dreamcatcher keychain, T-shirt with a wolf on it, aluminum cross pendant, small beanie-baby-sized stuffed animal, eyeglass holder (no, I don't wear eyeglasses, but that's more or less irrelevant in this situation), what appears to be a strange almost-plastic coin from Senegal, or whatever the catch of the day may be.

He doesn't always do this, of course. No, sometimes he goes to Charlie, Mom, or my brother. But it's pretty much the same scenario.

By far the most generous with their gifts is a charity known as "Running Strong for American Indian Youth." From these folks, we've obtained several dreamcatcher keychains, T-shirts, calendars, a cooking apron, the beanie-babyish thingies, a Volkswagen bus* and a harmonica. I have to wonder just how much money is left for the actual Youth once they've finished sending out the contents of a large convention to their potential donors, but I suppose that's not really my business, and after all, they are a NON-profit, so this is probably good for them. At any rate, this organization has become a bit of a family inside joke due to the sheer volume of goods we've obtained from them unsolicited over the years.

As an example, the last time something came it was a beanie-babyish little fuzzy buffalo. (I don't actually "collect" such things, but I do have a small army of them on top of my computer monitor, all of which have been given to me by various other people over the years.)

*knock knock*

"Hey, Dad, what's up?"

"Well, I was shopping around looking for something nice, and I finally found this and thought of you!"

He handed me the small, fuzzy buffalo.

"Oh my GOD!" I exclaimed, "A fuzzy buffalo! It's just what I've always wanted! You're the best Dad ever!"

Dad grinned, and made an attempt at an "aw, shucks, t'weren't nothin'" sort of attitude for a moment.

"The only thing that could POSSIBLY make this ANY better would be if the fuzzy buffalo came from Running Strong for American Indian Youth!" I gushed.

There was a pause. "You're in luck," said Dad simply.

And he went away.

This is pretty much how these things go.

So, all this was just sort of background. Now we're getting to the whole point of the story. (Don't worry, there are no horses in it. No beer either -- sorry fabledbrewer.)

As some of you may have read, Dad and Mom are currently on an Alaskan cruise together. Today, I got a call from a strange number whose area code I didn't recognize on the caller ID. When I picked it up, it was, to my surprise, Dad. I would have expected him to use Mom's cell phone.

"Hey, hey! How's it going?" I asked him.

"Well," he said, "I left your brother a message last night, and I thought I'd better call you up and tell you the same thing."

"Okay," I said, bemused.

"We're doing fine, having fun, and the cruise is going great," he said. "Now, I wanted to just say that, at some point in your life, you may find yourself wondering, 'Did my dad really love me?' And if that time comes, I want you to consider this: your dad, at this moment, is calling you on a phone from the ship. At eight dollars a minute. EIGHT. Dollars. Per MINUTE. So you just keep that in mind if the question ever comes up."

I choked up with the sheer emotion of the moment. "That's ... that's the most beautiful thing I ever heard!" I exclaimed. "You're the best dad EVER!"

Phones on sea-going ships are sometimes unreliable, but just before it cut out, I heard him say, "The only thing that would make this better is if I were calling from Running Strong for American Indi...*click*"

As always, he was exactly right.


* No, they didn't really send us a Volkswagen bus or a harmonica. All the other things are completely true, though.

(98 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:June 3rd, 2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
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That's really the important part, when it comes right down to it.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:banshree
Date:June 3rd, 2007 06:10 pm (UTC)
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You're dad is soo cool!

Soo, when are we going on a cruise to Alaska?
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:June 3rd, 2007 08:38 pm (UTC)
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I'm free next Friday. :-)
[User Picture]
From:plklives
Date:June 3rd, 2007 06:27 pm (UTC)
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Damn, and I thought I got some fancy schwag when I got a slinky for opening a checking account with Washington Mutual. I'm dying to know who the panty charity is! Oh, and if you talk to him again on the trip, say that a random internet person recommends he try the Russian dumplings in Juneau. You get off the boat and go left along the waterfront. And voilla, tasty and cheap lunch!
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:June 3rd, 2007 08:37 pm (UTC)
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Haha! Thanks, if I hear from them again, I'll let them know.

I still can't imagine what the little-girls-panties charity thinks it's doing. The letter says something like they provide essential needs like these panties to underprivileged little girls. When I was really sick and lost so much weight, Dad tried to give them to me.

Neither of us could quite believe that someone would think that was a good idea.
[User Picture]
From:blackbirdshaq
Date:June 3rd, 2007 06:29 pm (UTC)
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Man, I wish I had YOUR dad. My dad used to buy me keychains ON PURPOSE and tell me he loved me.

*sighs*
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:June 3rd, 2007 08:35 pm (UTC)
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Hahaha! I forgot to mention that he also always says something like, "I probably shouldn't have spent quite so much on it, but nothing's too good for my baby girl!"

*dies*
From:siliconshaman
Date:June 3rd, 2007 07:24 pm (UTC)
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Whoa... and with British charities you're lucky if you get a tacky pen or maybe a sticker!

Hey, business idea, sell all this free swag on eBay! [Ok, that's probably evil of me, right?!]
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:June 3rd, 2007 08:34 pm (UTC)
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What makes you think it hadn't occurred to him? :-)
[User Picture]
From:diachrony
Date:June 3rd, 2007 07:35 pm (UTC)
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Man ... it's a real bitch to figure out how to metaquote your shaggy-buffalo stories, hon. Everything is hilarious, so how on earth to edit? ::fusses::

And

YOU ARE SO FUNNY OMG!!11!
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:June 3rd, 2007 08:34 pm (UTC)
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Dude. Aren't you going to get in trouble for quoting so much stuff and by the same person?

Glad you enjoyed it, though. :-)
[User Picture]
From:swerve
Date:June 3rd, 2007 09:08 pm (UTC)
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You're hysterical. (Yes, I got here via Metaquotes. You might have two hundred new friends tomorrow morning.)
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:June 3rd, 2007 10:13 pm (UTC)
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Haha! Thanks! More like one or two, but hey -- the more the merrier!
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:June 3rd, 2007 10:12 pm (UTC)
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Tell me about it.

(I'm just waiting for a nasty letter from Running Strong's lawyers, now...heh)
[User Picture]
From:baerana
Date:June 3rd, 2007 10:04 pm (UTC)

come for the humor, stay for the ...

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Hi. Saw you through diachrony on my flist. I've found your posts awesome, and I wouldn't mind a reciprocal friending. Mostly because I also suffer from a chronic illness which causes me a lot of pain, grumpiness, fun new meds that makes me black out unexpectedly or lose clumps of hair, insurance woes and unspeakable medical procedures. So I wouldn't be bored or disinterested... and you know, misery loves company or something like that :)

anyway, thanks for the great posts, I've had many lols today reading them :)
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:June 3rd, 2007 10:12 pm (UTC)

Re: come for the humor, stay for the ...

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Hey, welcome! You'll fit right in around here. :-) I'm afraid the friends-only stuff doesn't have any lols to speak of, but oh well. hehe!
[User Picture]
From:summerkins
Date:June 3rd, 2007 10:15 pm (UTC)
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Yep, another metaquotian! lol

And i feel like being quasy stalkerish and stuff and ask you if i might add you as a friend?
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:June 3rd, 2007 10:21 pm (UTC)
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Hon, you are absolutely free to add me as a friend. I'd be flattered. And welcome to you!
[User Picture]
From:kungfubarbie
Date:June 3rd, 2007 10:34 pm (UTC)
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i keep the address labels and use them without feeling guilty. but i don't get any fuzzy buffalos! how rude.
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:June 4th, 2007 12:19 am (UTC)
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You should look up "Running Strong for American Indian Youth" and send them five bucks or something. They also sent me (I mean, my Dad went shopping everywhere yadda yadda and got me) a little fuzzy black bear. His name is "Mato" which is Lakota for "bear" and Sha'Jibka for "Would someone fire that fucking marketing director already?"

The fuzzy buffalo is Tatanka. He is the first in a series made exclusively for Running Strong for American Indian Youth. Mato is the second in a series.

It's like "Charitymon: Gotta Catch 'Em All!"
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:June 4th, 2007 12:16 am (UTC)
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(Reposted from my response to a similar remark in MQ for the benefit of those on my flist who don't read MQ:)

But ... I mean ... doesn't a pedometer actually, like, meter something? This one just sits there with a lot of zeros. I have shaken it, dropped it, hit it, turned it upside-down, clipped it to my shirt whilst running, jumping, and walking, and it just has a lot of zeros.

If you hit the "reset" button, it shows a lot of zeros.

Now, granted, it is from the Alzheimer's Association. So, now I have a theory: exercise is good, right? And especially, it's good for seniors to get out and walk about and so forth, right? So, I figure the reason it doesn't show anything but zeros is that they TELL people it's a pedometer, but whenever they look at it, it says zero, so they'll just go, "Ah, you see, I've forgotten to take my walk today," and they'll go walking. And then when they get back, they'll glance at it and see that it's all zeros, right, and go, "Whoops, I guess I forgot my walk," and they'll go again.

In a couple of months, their cholesterol is down, their cardiovascular state is stellar and they're winning the senior olympic marathon walking event.

That's the only thing I can figure out.
(Deleted comment)
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From:runeharmonic
Date:June 4th, 2007 12:23 am (UTC)
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Found you through metaquotes, and I must say you are one awesomely funny person and it would be a crime not to friend you for the many LOLs you bring to LJ. Thus, I am friending you. Thanks for writing! :)

Cheers,
Dark Rune

P.S. No pressure to friend back.
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:June 4th, 2007 02:16 am (UTC)
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Hahaha! Thanks and welcome! :-)
[User Picture]
From:photog42
Date:June 4th, 2007 12:51 am (UTC)
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Hehe. MrsV is recruiting her army of disciples so she can take over the world!

I mean, she's garnering a readership for when she gets a book deal.
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:June 4th, 2007 03:08 am (UTC)
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I could do both if it weren't for that pesky J.K. Rowling....
[User Picture]
From:diachrony
Date:June 4th, 2007 02:51 am (UTC)
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I unleashed a monster, didn't I.

Now I'm worried I'll be forced to metaquote you every day. I mean, if you're this uproarious, how could I *not*?! THE ENTIRE INTERNETS WILL BE YOUR FRIEND OMG!!

Your funny-fu is so powerful, it needs a license!
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:June 4th, 2007 03:07 am (UTC)
(Link)
THE POWER OF FUZZY BUFFALO COMMANDS YOU!!!

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