Publishers Clearing House Unchained

“Patty!” came the summons from the living room.

I glanced over my shoulder at Bill, who simply shrugged as I stood up and walked out of the office.

“What?” I asked as I came out of the hallway into the foyer.

“I want to show you something,” she said, waving several colorful envelope-size flyers in my direction.

I stopped next to her footstool and waited patiently as she rifled through the slips of advertising that had come in her latest Publishers Clearing House mailer.

“I was thinking of ordering this,” she finally announced, holding up a flyer showing a single banana laying in front of a yellow sack.


“A bag of bananas?” I asked.

“No, a banana bag,” she said.  “To keep bananas in.  My bananas.”

“Mom, I’ve got the banana situation down to a science.  I don’t need a banana bag,” I replied as I turned to leave.

“Oh, okay,” she responded with a note of mild disappointment.  “But, wait, wait,” she continued.  “There’s more.”

I took a deep breath and turned around.  “All right, what else?”

“I was thinking of getting these for Bill,” she said, holding up another flyer.  This one had a picture of two pale green silicone containers.  “They’re measuring cups.  I thought he could use them because he cooks so much,” she explained with a smile.


“We’ve got plenty of measuring cups.  You don’t need to spend your money on more of them,” I replied.  “Is that it?  Can I go now?”

“No, there’s one more thing,” she said, shuffling through the brochures one more time.  “Here it is!” she called out excitedly, waving a small flyer at me.  “I was thinking of getting this for Dana and the other one.”

“Other one?” I said.  “Are you talking about Amber and Olivia?”

“Yes, those are the ones.  I thought they’d like this,” she said, holding up a picture of what appeared to be a glowing plastic angel.


“Mom, I think Amber’s too old and Olivia’s too young for this,” I responded with a sigh.  “You don’t need to waste your money on junk like this.  If you want to order stuff, why don’t you buy yourself something, like a new pair of slacks or a couple of tops.”

“Oh, I don’t think I have enough money for that.  Besides, I don’t go anywhere so it doesn’t matter what I wear.”

“Okay then,” I replied with a shrug.  “I’m going back to work now.”

“Fine,” she muttered, letting the brochures slip from her hand and flutter into the waste can next to her footstool.

As I wandered back into the office, Bill asked, “So, did she order more junk?”

“You heard?”

“Some of it.  It sounds like she just wants to spend some money.”

“It seems that way,” I said, swiveling my chair so that I faced my monitor.  “Hopefully, that’s the end of it for a while.”

And it was… for about 52 minutes, until the local 5:00 news came on and announced the Powerball jackpot was going to reach almost $450 million.

“Patty!” came the summons from the living room.


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