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The pursuit of the perfect me
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A decade ago I retreated to a mountain cabin with a group of professional women.  One thing led to another and soon we were having a bonding experience that I’ll never forget — absent the “Kumbaya” song and campfire.

Amy shared first…a confession of sorts.  One late night she was watching an Oxycise infomercial.  “Lose weight immediately without pills, powders, diets, gadgets, gyms, pain or discomfort…in only 15 minutes a day.” The next thing she knew she dialed the 1-800 number and bought it.  When the anticipated video arrived she eagerly popped it in the VCR. She sat on the floor, legs crossed, and inhaled, exhaled, inhaled, exhaled. 

As well-educated Amy shared of her impulse buy ($29.95 in four easy installments), we began to giggle.  The giggles turned into outright roars. “Amy, did you really think you could sit, breathe and lose weight?”  Tears were rolling down our cheeks.

Toni confessed next.  She revealed that she had been sipping wine after a long, exhausting day at work.  The more she sipped, the more she relaxed.  Needing a no-brainer, she tuned into QVC.  There, to her amazement, was the most incredible product — Turbo Cooker.  “Cook entire meals in one convenient pan…many meals from frozen to finished in less than15 minutes.” 

She had to have it.  She dialed so fast that she didn’t even notice that she’d spent $59.95 on cookware and she rarely cooks.  By now our sides were aching; we were laughing so hard.   

“But wait, there’s more!”

I came clean next. “I cried as Richard Simmons explained how I could shrink to size 6 by using his Deal a Meal cards.” I couldn’t order fast enough.  My set of cards arrived quicker than I could empty my refrigerator of high fat foods.  But, buyer’s remorse set in as I moved Richard’s food exchange cards from one side of the folder to the other, while savoring a bowl of chocolate ice cream.

Until Wednesday, I never thought anything could top that bonding experience.  But then it happened.  At the beginning of a business meeting a co-worker announced, “I have a confession to make.”  Mary and I listened intently as Sally shared.  Sally isn’t her real name. I’ve changed it to protect the innocent.

“I’ve just paid $250 to have my hair blow dried. I’ve just had a Brazilian Blow Out.”  We learned from Sally that this special blow dry process means that her hair will look just as it did from that very moment through the next 10 weeks!  All Sally needs to do is get up in the morning, wash her hair, and let it dry.  One blow dry. $250.  Perfect hair for 10 weeks.  Shazam!

Mary and I weren’t even discreet. The laughter was uncontrollable.  I offered to blow dry Sally’s hair for $200.  Mary upped the ante — her rate was $150.

The moral of this story about impulse buying and frivolous spending is that you can throw away your hard-earned dollars on useless things, or you can be wise with your extra cash and invest in your community. 

Our community is busy at work supporting Legacy Circle of Emanuel’s annual fund drive.  We need to raise $1 million by the first week in October to bring advanced cardiovascular services to our Turlock hospital.  I’m asking you to dial 664-5180 to pledge what you would otherwise breathe, steam, deal, or blow away in just a few minutes on frivolous things. Please, bond with your community.

— Pennie Rorex is a member of and volunteers for Legacy Circle of Emanuel.