More humor from my favorite funny lady, Erma Bombeck . . .
Anyone old enough to have been a part of the savings stamps era will especially enjoy Erma's take on this. I have fond memories of sitting at the kitchen table with my mom and grandmother, filling one savings book after another, so this really brings back memories.
S&H Green Stamps, anyone?
Diseases I'd tell my doctor about if it weren't
Wednesday afternoon (Part 1) . . .
"It happened the other morning, Doctor. My cleaning woman approached me and said, 'You may fire me for this, but you've got glue-breath.'
"Like most other housewives in America, I succumbed a few years ago to the lure of trading stamps. At first, it was innocent enough. We saved a couple of books and got a croquet set for the kids . . . than a few more books for a lawn trimmer for Dad .. . and finally eight or so books for a leg shaver for me . . . things we really needed.
"Then one day we read a story in the newspaper about a New York zoo that bought a gorilla for 5,400,000 trading stamps. Just reading about all those stamps gave our family a case of redemption fever. We gathered around the dining room table after dinner and began to speculate on what would happen if we upped our consumption of gasoline, oil, tires, windshield wipers, and sunglasses from Bernie's Service Station. 'In three years,' my husband shouted, 'we could buy the New York Mets!'
"Our son figured out if we could get doctors, lawyers, and the sanitary department to issue trading stamps, we might even amass enough to earn a Rhino hunt weekend for two in scenic Kenya. We went half crazed with desire. One of the children vowed to start saving for a do-it-yourself missile site for the back yard. I personally wanted to visit the Senior Citizen Center to which Cary Grant belonged. The possibilities were crazy and without limits.
"From that day on, our entire buying habits changed. We often ran out of gas looking for a station with our brand of stamps. We bought food we hated to get bonus stamps. In desperation, we even switched to a newly-formed church across town that gave one hundred and twenty trading stamps every time we attended.
"I know it sounds ridiculous, but I have pasted stamps in 1563 books. Someone in the family guards them twenty-four hours a day and we count them once a week. We stage mock fire drills from time to time so we can evacuate them quickly in case of fire. Trading stamps have possessed me, Doctor. What do you think?"
The doctor tapped his pencil slowly on the desk. "I personally think you are some kind of a nut with fuzzy breath, that's what I think. What in the world are you going to buy with 1563 books?"
"When I fill five more pages, Doctor," I said stiffly, "I will own this office building. And if I were you, I wouldn't have any more magazines sent to this address!"
- Erma Bombeck, At Wit's End, Nelson Doubleday, Inc., 1965