Wednesday, November 20, 2002


An old high school buddy of mine who was on the speech team with me used to get on the bus every weekend this time of year chanting the following like a mantra “Law of averages... Law of averages... Law of averages.”

It was his committed belief that the law of averages dictated that he would, at some point, hook up with a girl at a speech meet and finally have a girlfriend. Sooner or later it would be his turn, just like sooner or later it was everybody’s turn, right?

Well, it seems to have taken a bit longer than the four years we were in high school and going to meets, but, as his mother, my walking partner, has observed, he is now “cooking for a girl” and he has referred to said girl in email to me as his girlfriend, so I think I can say with confidence that he was right.

Sooner or later, the law of averages gets its way. Sooner or later, everybody wins.

I don’t think this is really an astonishing revelation, is it?

But why, then, does every single person to whom I offer to sell a “reverse drawing” ticket ($10 for a one in 300 chance to win $1000) insist that he or she “never wins anything” or “has the worst luck in the world,” etc? Do they believe that there are some kind of magical luck-sucking elves roaming the planet, that the Sewer King really does, in fact, win everything (a proposition to which I have been tempted to subscribe myself, as I’ve seen him win, what, two football pools so far this season?), that no one ever actually wins any of these things, what?

But... but... but... there’s a winner every year, dammit! Last year the guy who owns the Wolf won it... and he, also, "never wins anything." But he did win – ask him! He’s got the stuff he bought with it and everything! Granted, he spent most of his “Shop at Home Spree” at the Sewer King’s store, which might lend credence to the notion that SK really does win everything, but... I’m digressing again! The point is that there is an actual physical person working just across the street from me who won last year! Really!

And more of you would know and believe if you would come to the chamber office for the drawings, set for Dec. 6 (after Saratoga’s world famous lighted Christmas Parade downtown), when we’ll yank off the first 150 tickets from the “big board”, Dec. 14, when the next 100 will go, and Dec. 21, when we’ll pull the last 50.

We want you there so bad, my Enabling Assistant and I, that we’re adding an extra dimension of hilarity to the proceedings. You know those rubber ducks we raced on the ditch in July? We’ve labeled them with numbers, One to 300, and we’ll draw THOSE to determine which tickets get yanked. Won’t that be fun? Isn’t that worth showing up for?

How about if we pull out the chamber’s famous Duck Costume and put someone in it with a Santa Claus hat to do the drawings? Would you come then, huh, huh, would you?

Anyway, just wanted to let you all know... I’ve got tickets to hawk, and I’m going to be Janey-One-Note until all 300 are sold and on the board.

The law of averages is on your side, kids.

Monday, November 18, 2002


So, having apparently angered some kind of funky household gods or other this year, I have to date found myself intimately involved in two major moves in 2002, not counting casual help rendered to others in moving house, or our effort in midsummer to re-arrange the chamber office to make it somewhat more aesthetically pleasing, if not more ventilated.

Moving myself from the dungeon apartment I occupied for close to three years to the chilly paradise of Kate’s Landing did not even begin to prepare me for the then-unimagined move of the chamber of commerce to its (mostly) present location.

No one even knows for sure how long the chamber has been in the space next to the Donut Ranch, and while many have asked me that very question over the last few weeks, finding that answer is, well, not a priority. Too much to do.

Too much stuff to move.

Too much stuff to throw away.

Too much stuff existing in some kind of weird state between the two, the kind where its only by an effort of will to avoid channeling the Depression era-thinking of one’s forbears that can keep one from simply hauling everything over to the new place and trying to cram it all in.

Well, that and one’s ability to laugh one’s way through such perplexing questions as “What use will we ever have for a full box of brochures promoting the services of an outfitter whose business closed down back in the days when just one real estate office was considered sufficient for the needs of our entire town” (i.e., my toddler years) dovetailed with “Is this particular conglomeration of properties detailed in the Fall 2001 Real Estate Guide ever going to be for sale at the same time again, or can we maybe just throw these out and stock the rack with the Winter 2002 version?”

And I’m not even getting into the real absurdities. There is a whole box full of little toy boats. I don’t know why, I don’t want to know why, I’m giving them to the pre-school, I’m pretty sure I’m never, ever in my personal or professional life going to need a box of little toy boats, and if I do, I’m sure I shall be in a position to acquire a new box of little toy boats (if I’m not in such a position, then however could my need for same really be an issue?).

Also prominently featured in the cave-like back room I’m trying, in all my spare time, to dung out, are:

- Random computer parts that are not compatible with any computer I have ever seen functioning in the chamber office (and remember, once upon a time my own dear personal mom held my job, so I have a great deal more experience in dealing with the chamber and its eccentric equipment than my year and change of being the executive director might otherwise indicate).

- A box of artificially colored feathers. Your guess is as good as mine.

- Two extra Christmas tree stands. We need one, for our office tree. The other two are mysterious. Do Christmas tree stands breed in captivity? If so, what are their mating rituals like?

- Defunct telephone parts, including enough phone cord to double the (considerable!) length of same we presented to Sen. Mike Enzi as a gag gift at the 2000 chamber banquet to help him make the claim that his laptop computer was actually a desktop model and thus OK by Senate rules. Guess you had to be there.

- Crappy used toys people keep bringing in for the Giving Tree, despite our operatic pleas to give these poor kids NEW toys, that’s what the Giving Tree is all about. Since when did Santa Claus start delivering broken Etch-A-Sketches to even poorly behaved children, hmm?

- God, I just don’t even want to write this anymore. Especially since I should be over there clearing more of that crap out of the old office. But I’m too tired and I still have bronchitis. No, this is not a plea for sympathy, just a statement of cold, hard, snotty fact.

So now I have in my immediate future two plans: 1) Soak deeply in the hot pool for a while, and then 2) crack open a bottle of wine and watch really stupid movies with the Minister of Fun (like a housemate, only with a whole street between our bedrooms!).

Of course, all the while I’m enjoying these, I’ll still be wondering what the hell kind of mental disease it is strikes chamber people that makes them completely unable to throw anything away, and, probably, worrying when it will strike me. And if I’ll notice.

Or if I’ll be too busy watching Christmas tree stands breeding.

(P.S.: Word count, 18400, Body count: 1 over at