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Won't Get Fooled Again

 I would consider myself a skeptic. When the boys were younger and said they were too sick to go to school, for the most part I didn't believe them and packed them off. And most of the time I was right...except for one missed case of Pneumonia that I recall with son #2. At work, the people that SWEAR that they only EVER hand wash their jeans and don't know HOW they could POSSIBLY have ripped both knees simultaneously, get met with the glare-over-the-glasses look of  the mother who has heard that BS before as I pack them off with the name of the tailor upstairs that can patch them.

But it's surprised me that I've had the proverbial wool-pulled-over-my-eyes this year more than once and in more ways than one. From being told "You'll be comfortable for life when this deal goes through" to being asked "want to go to a game? to the disappointment of  hearing "I'll call you later" and not, has had me doubting my own judgement.

In my defense, I am proud to say that I didn't fall for the Indian-speaking IRS agent who, when I asked if he was calling from the home office in Roswell New Mexico and he said yes, was able to put the receiver in the kitchen junk drawer until he got mad enough and hung up.

But then again, I was a victim of "THE SWAG BAG CAPER"

Now, I have a great BFF who is the best Type A friend you could want. She is the Ying to my Type B Yang, and that's why our friendship has lasted almost half a century. Last spring we went to Amsterdam, and she perfectly coordinated everything for five of us from our car service to our accommodations to our day trips. All I had to do was Venmo her what I owed her and pack my bag, and even that I screwed up by forgetting a hat and gloves for our frosty day-stay in Iceland. The week of my summer vacation, I assumed we'd spend some time at her beach club...but instead, she planned a second vacation-a romantic anniversary trip to Italy with her husband. Which left me with time on my hands.

As luck would have it, another friend invited me that week to her birthday party. It was at the lovely beachfront apartment of a woman, who, from the get-go, I could see was someone I wanted to hang around with. Her great ocean views aside, she exuded confidence, loved to entertain and have fun, and best of all, was single. As we talked, we acknowledged our mutual need for female friends and exchanged phone numbers. We have gone to dinner, heard bands, seen concerts and even, on our mutual birthdays, threw axes.

When the BFF got back from Italy we went to the movies. There, I saw a sign for an upcoming event-it was the anniversary of  "Clerks" and there was going to be an original cast and crew party, featuring the film "The Making of. Clerks" as well as showing the original. As an added bonus, they were giving out SWAG BAGS. And while I realized that, at $28 a ticket, they wouldn't include Oscar night trinkets like Botox treatments, I thought it would be fun.

When Clerks first came out, Wingman insisted we see it as my birthday present. I was not impressed at the time of having to pay a babysitter to watch a black and white film shot locally about two low-lives in a convenience store. Even seeing a guy I went to high school with in the funeral home scene didn't make me love, much less like it. But Wingman loved it and proclaimed him a film genius, and we saw every subsequent film this guy made including "Chasing Amy" which was partially shot in his office. By the time Jersey Girl came out, I too, was a fan.

Here, I will digress and say that Wingman enjoyed some of the most sophomoric, contrived movies ever made. He once rushed the entire family through dinner, making us leave our plates of food on the table, to be the first to see "Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery" and guffawed through the entire film. As appalled as I was with the boys watching a character called Alotta Fagina, you can only imagine how embarrassing it was when we got home. Wingman had forgotten to turn the oven off, with a tray of French fries in there. The new neighbors heard our smoke detector and called the fire department who smashed in the door and left the pan of charred fries on the lawn. What was worse was that my mother heard that the fire department responded to a call at our house, and reamed me out for leaving dirty dishes on the table because it was embarrassing to her and my fire department life-member dad. I lived with THAT for months.

Back to the Swag Bag.

I looked up the event, and asked the BFF if she was interested. She wasn't a fan, and her Friday nights were usually a pizza date with her hubby, so I asked my new fun friend. She was in, as was the woman who introduced us.

We got to the theater, and through the crowd, I saw the guy who made the film. Score! We were actually going to meet some celebs, albeit ones we might not ever recognize in everyday life. Then, this haughty little man with a British accent asked to see our tickets. He sniffed his approval, and motioned for us to enter. "But we have to get our Swag Bags first" I replied, gazing longingly at...plastic grocery bags???

"Um, no. You bought your tickets too late. You don't get a Swag Bag."

Too late? It couldn't be. The BFF wouldn't have bought tickets too late. I couldn't have bought them too late.  I protested, but that snotty midget with his annoying Cockney accent wouldn't budge. Just like The Soup Nazi, it was "No Swag Bags for you."

I pulled out the big guns. "Oh yeah? I'm going over to Mr. Smith and tell him you won't let us have our Swag Bags." To which he replied "That's NOT Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith is filming in Toronto." I looked over at the celebrity that I saw as we walked in, and low and behold, it was a damn look-alike. "So who is here from the original cast?" I asked in a voice that was now at least two octaves higher than when we walked in. He ignored me to greet other people and give them their grocery store Swag Bags. By now, the two women with me were getting embarrassed, and suggested we sit down. I pulled out my phone, and saw that tickets for this event were still available...AND INCLUDED WERE...SWAG BAGS. "I'll be back" I said to my friends, as I went to find Shorty.

"EXCUSE ME" I yelled as he tried to look important to a bunch of younger fans. I shoved my phone in his face. "It says right here that if I bought tickets today, I'd get a Swag Bag. So what's the difference with my tickets from last week?" "The difference" he said "Is that you didn't buy them when we were offering Swag Bags." I wanted to do a smack down on him, but just then, my woman posse came and rescued him. Or me. Or both.

"Do we really want to see this movie?" my friends asked. I told them that if they didn't have a problem with some of the new president's vernacular for cats, they wouldn't have a problem with this movie either.

"Then let's go for Margaritas" they replied.

So we walked out, not meeting any cast, not seeing the movie and not getting a Swag Bag. And every time I have to go out in the yard or neighborhood and pick up the dog's poop with a grocery bag, it reminds me of getting scammed that night.

I vowed to myself: before I ever plan anything like that again, I'm asking the BFF to make sure I do it right.

And I'm going to practice my axe throwing...just in case I don't.


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