And The Winner Is…

About once a month Mom gets an official looking letter that proclaims she’s been selected as a possible winner of $1,100,000.  The only thing she has to do is call the toll-free number and give them her official, 8-digit Claimant Number and she’ll be automatically entered into the upcoming and soon to be announced drawing (the date of which has yet to be determined).  And every month, we go through the same verbal ballet.

Mom: “Patty, come in here for a minute.”

Me: “What’s up?”

Mom (trying to hand me the letter): “Can you call this number for me and give them my information?”

Me (looking at the letter, but not taking it from her because possession is nine-tenths of okay-you’ve-got-to-call-because-you-took-the-letter rule): “No, you can call yourself.”

Mom (trying to look pitiful): “But I just can’t understand what they’re saying that well.”

Me (trying to be stern): “They’re saying ‘how many magazines do you want to buy?’ that’s what they’re saying.”

Mom (trying to look surprised): “No they don’t.  They just need the official number so they can see if I’ve won.  They aren’t selling anything.”

Me (leaving the room): “If you say so.  Call them yourself and give them the number.  But don’t yell for me when they start pressuring you to buy a bunch of magazines.”

A few moments later Bill and I sat quietly in the office, listening to her end of the conversation, which always goes the same.

Mom: “I’m calling to claim my prize.”

Mom: “Yes, my claim number is 12345678.”

Mom: “Yes, that’s how you spell my last name.”

Mom: “A one-lump payment.”

Mom: “I’d use the money to pay off my mortgage.”

Long pause.

Mom: “No, I don’t want any magazines.”

Longer pause.

Mom: “No, I really don’t want any magazines.”

Really long pause.

Mom: “No, I don’t need any.  I’m almost 89 and I get all the magazines I want.”

Another really long pause.

Mom: “Wait, I’m going to put my daughter on the phone because I can’t understand what you’re talking about.  Patty!”

Me (yelling from the office): “Hang up!”

Mom (yelling from the living room): “What?”

Me (yelling even louder from the office: “Hang up!”

Mom (yelling back from the living room): “I can’t hear you.  What?”

Me (stomping into the living room and taking the phone from her): “No, she doesn’t want any magazines!”

And then I hang up.

Me: “That’s all you have to do, Mom.  Say no and hang up.”

Mom: “But then they might not enter me in the contest.”

Me: “You still believe there’s a contest?”

Mom: “Well, yes.  That’s why there’s a claim number and why I have to call.”

Me: “No, there’s a claim number so they can identify you as the woman who always falls for their bullshit letter and calls them because they figure one time you’ll cave and buy magazines!”

Mom: “Well that’s not right.  That’s false advertising.”

Me: “Yes, but they get you to call them every time now don’t they?”

Mom: “Well next time I’ll just throw the letter away.”

Me: “And you say that every time too.”

Mom: “That’s because I’m old and I forget.”

Me: “No, that’s because you’re gullible and you want to win a bunch of money from a contest you never entered.”

Mom: “Well, you never know.  Lightening might strike once in the same place and I could win next time.”

Me, gritting my teeth and walking away: “Arghhhh!”

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