Monday, July 19, 2004

The most complex conundrum ever presented to mankind

In my virtual possession is an item of strange value and history.  It's origins have faded into the mists of time, and one day, it's presence will only be the stuff of legend.
It was late in the year 2000, when people were stockpiling canned hams and propane devices of all types in preparation for the coming apocalypse that was due to strike on midnight of that year.  On the radio, I had even heard one caller to a talk show speaking about his upcoming move to Costa Rica.
I kind of got the impression that some people were hoping that the foretold disaster would come- everything kind of wiped away in an electronic Alzheimer's.  I admit, I often daydreamt of forging through a post-apocalypic wilderness, but then I remembered the things like hot water, food and medicine- the small luxuries of life.
It was then that I received the email: "Happy Birthday! Here's a gift certificate".  My former girlfriend and current friend had sent me a $30 gift "certificate" at the above mentioned website.  I was joyful, and sent an appropriate response, then proceeded to the site for my reward.  In no time, I was registered, and the $30 credit was in my possession.
But something was wrong- I clicked through all the sections- computers, sports and on and on.  Nothing caught my eye, or if it did, it was an item with a price many times what I could afford.  Even so, I thought nothing of it, and logged off, confident that I would be able to find something the next time.
Fast forward 4 years.  I have just logged out of the website for the 8th time or so, my hands still empty, the $30 still mocking me.  I now realize the problem, and it's nefarious in it's intricities.  I won't buy anything for more than $30- The gift certificate should be enough to pay for an item, in my mind.  And yet, if I wanted anything for less that $30, the taxes and shipping push it past $30.  It's a thin line I tread, and I have yet to find anything that falls into that sacred category.
Damn thee, shipping charges.  This is why we need teleporters.
Of course, I could just stop being such a whiny baby and spend more money, but it's the very principle of the thing.  And it is for principle that this certificate will linger deathlessly until my own death, the termination of, or some sort of Y2k7 bug.
I'm going to start storing canned ham right away


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