I used to be such —
Ah, ‘used to be’. Famous words that begin many tales.
I used to be a model. I used to be a salesman. I used to be very flexible. I used to drink more coffee, stay up late and party, and go to work early.
Words of memory, ‘used to be’ invokes a sense of gentle passing on what was, a point to pivot onto the current moment. In my case…
I used to be such a desirable customer. Oh, the offers that came in the mail. First were the weekly avalanches of credit card and banking offers, magazines, and book and music clubs. They all wanted me. Every day, I considered and rejected suitors. No, you’re not for me, American Express. No thank you, Delta. I’ll pass today, Discover. Come back another day, Book of the Month.
Ed McMahon and American Family Publishing dropped in sometimes, delighting me with the news that I MAY HAVE ALREADY WON. I didn’t win, but I appreciated their optimism. Sometimes, Publishing Clearing House also came by to tell me that I’m a potential winner. Both wanted me to buy magazines. I did, once, because I was a newly appointed young adult, with an income, and I liked car magazines. They billed me later.
Dating services targeted me for a while. I guess they thought I was lonely. Then came ways to save via coupons on buying new checks, eating out at restaurants, getting my car repaired or painted, my carpet cleaned, and my windows washed.
As we passed into the last half of the past decade, suitors come less frequently. Maybe they were giving up. Their pitches changed. Cruise lines and vacation resorts showered me with beautiful people having wonderful times in beautiful, exotic locations. Politicians solicited my support and donations. I started hearing from hearing-aid companies for a while. A few companies wondered if I had enough health and life insurance. Others wanted me to plan for how my loved ones and I were going to be buried. Concerned investing firms approached, offering to buy me a meal while worrying whether I had enough money saved for retirement. I appreciated their efforts, but gently tore their offers in half and deposited them in the recycle bin.
A few realtors approached, asking if I wanted to sell my house, telling me that I could really make some money because they already had buyers lined up. The Great Cable Wars brought more offers for a few years in my late fifties as satellite dish companies sprang forward, trying to gain market share. Sometimes I received three offers in one day from them, three, I tell you, in one day. Yep, I was a wanted man.
Alas, I’m no longer a young adult. The mail suitors have disappeared. Oh, some have changed with the times and approach me via email, notably AARP and Viagra, competing against Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, the DNC, all who beseech me daily to give, give, give, along with urgent requests to sign petitions. Then,of course, they’ve called, too, but with caller ID, they soon learned that I don’t answer the phone.
Now, they’ve all stopped trying, it seems. All that remains is Spectrum. Having taken over Charter, they’re trying hard to win me. They’re doing it the old fashioned way, too, first with people coming door to door (charming young men) asking me how much I pay for my phone service and what Internet service provider I use, assuring me that I’ll do much better with them.
Then came the mail pieces, one every day, (except Monday, a holiday), but a piece came Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Tears of memory sprang to my eyes as I realized, Spectrum wants me. It’d been so long. I almost hated tearing up their offers, and held off for a few minutes, thinking about their kindness, reaching out to me for my money, just like the old days.
“Thank you, Spectrum,” I whispered, and then tossed the offers away.
It feels good to be wanted.