Having reveled inside the empty water fountain in the middle of the square in front of the Fine Arts Building, been dowsed with cheap champagne by complete strangers and lost my voice whilst chanting “We’re Number One!” until the wee hours of the morning with friends after Indiana University won the NCAA Championship years ago, you’d think I might be at least remotely interested in the college basketball hysteria known as March Madness.
But I have no time for such follies.
Nay, the term “March Madness” indicates an entirely different mania for me this time of the year; a rare opportunity to make wish-lists, an empowered sense of self, and the belief that despite whatever may have occurred in the past twelve months, the Government will owe me money!
Unfortunately, that’s when the frenzy kicks in…
My clinically undiagnosed disease HAFTA-HAV (“Habitual Annual Financial Tournament of Acquisitions – Here’s A Visa!”) always begins most innocently. Last year, the symptoms manifested in a casual manner; the polite decline of a weekend vacation with my friends RJ and Richard, followed by the irrational onset of re-acceptance for the opportunity to spend approximately 22 hours in Las Vegas wherein I would promptly gamble away roughly five hundred dollars. (EEK!)
This year however, with the simple mouse tap on a button to an animal rescue site (a link I keep in my Inbox) and a one-second charitable act which supplies food to homeless pets just by visiting daily, I found myself unwilling to navigate away from the usual “Thank You!” page, instead locking eyes on a ridiculously cute pair of HAFTA-HAV black and purple paw-print rain-boots, the meager cost of which would provide 84 bowls of food to shelter pets.
Justifying the purchase as an act of kindness and generosity – not to mention the fact that it’s rainy season in L.A. and I was looking forward to some serious puddle splashing in my chic new galoshes – I put away my Visa (Debit card) feeling most satisfied that the visions of well-fed happy puppies and kitties accompanying me to sleep that night could quash the March Madness within.
But like a recovering gambling addict who thinks filling out a $5.00 NCAA bracket sheet at work is perfectly harmless, I too could taste the temptation of a big win, the exhilaration of hopping on-line again; maybe just one more purchase…?
Technically I haven’t received notification from my Accountant as to my Federal and State refunds, and technically I should be stock-piling money into savings when my sit-com goes on hiatus April 15, but metaphorically the HAFTA-HAV needle was already lodged in my arm.
So what’s a junkie to do?
Pouring a rather hefty vodka cocktail on the weekend and checking my email, Amazon.com was the first dealer on the corner to offer me a fix: The Wrath of Klahn Crosswords – Puzzles from the World’s Toughest Clue Writer, Bob Klahn.
“Pfft” I scoffed dismissively (actually jonesing for the challenge and immediately unearthing my Debit card).
Seduced next by a recommendation from Overstock.com (on my third cocktail) with regard to a spectacular pair of buckled ankle-high brown boots on sale for 70% off, I felt the addictive needle wedge deeper into my vein…
And eyeballing the world’s greatest back-pack (pink and white skull-and-crossbones on a black background!), I couldn’t help but pour my sixth (?) voddy and marvel at the owner reviews of how comfortable and durable the affordable knapsack appeared to be.
Granted, I’m still awaiting the arrival of a pair of “Women’s Convertible Fingerless Gloves/Mittens by Isotoner” (perfect for holding a script on cold nighttime location shoots!); I’ve stomped through some magnificent puddles in my purple-soled paw-print boots over the course of the last three days (heavy rains as scheduled in usually sunny Southern California); solved the first (of 72!) intimidating Klahn crossword puzzles; contemplated the idea of erecting a pedestal for the artistic magnificence of the Overstock ankle boots; and having padded around the apartment in my jammies for an entire afternoon sporting the skull and cross-bones back-pack loaded with all my usual work stuff as a test run (ooh, my posture improved dramatically!), I was convinced that for roughly a hundred bucks for all the above combined items, had I been playing the ponies at Santa Anita Racetrack, I would have hit a boxed Superfecta!
Yet remarkably (even though it’s felt like Christmas in March from the Post Office this week), I do believe I have effectively (albeit unwittingly) cured myself of the HAFTA-HAV addiction this year.
The package on my doorstep indicated its origination was also from the animal rescue web-site; the shipping slip informed me that with my generous purchase, another 14 bowls of food had been provided for animals in need, but it wasn’t until the moment of unfurling the contents of said package that this HAFTA-HAV internet-shopping junkie recognized herself as hitting rock bottom.
May I present to you (not for the faint of heart), the singularly most disturbing reason why one should never, ever, EVER drink and shop on-line: The “Here Kitty Kitty Lounge Pants”…
Please do enjoy a closer view below...
Stashing my Debit card in horror!