Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Costly Freebie

Wednesday April 2nd, 2014 – Rosemont, IL

   No matter how hard anyone tries to disprove it, there truly is no such thing as a free lunch. The concept sounds wonderful - but then again so does world peace and true love. That’s why people continue to try to attain all of them, but to no avail. Some things in life were just not meant to be.

   That’s not to mean all of the people trying don’t mean well, I just don’t think the end result can ever be achieved. There’s always a glitch, hitch or hiccup in the mix, and the end result proves to be nothing but wasted time. I had an example of it shoved in my face today, and I’m still hurting.

   I have some friends in Kenosha, WI that insisted they wanted to buy me a birthday lunch. That ship has sailed in my opinion, since my birthday is March 14th. I appreciated the thought, but it’s not necessary to belabor the point this far after the actual date. An email or call would be enough.

   But no, they weren’t going to stand for that. They were going to take me to lunch if it was their last activity in life, and it got to the point where all I could do was bow to their command. Never mind that since I moved recently, Kenosha is now a 40 mile trip one way. Lunch was on them.

   Not only did I have to cut several hours out of my day to plan for this event, it put 80 miles on my car. Even though my Toyota Camry gets decent mileage, that still means burning about three gallons of gas at these rock bottom prices of $3.89 a gallon in the Chicago area these days. Ouch.

   So before I took my first bite, my ‘free’ meal has already cost $12 - not to mention all the wear and tear on my tires, brakes, drive train and transmission. It all adds up in time, and this was one more drain on my total resources I just didn’t need today. Truly, a birthday email would suffice.

   Nope. I was special. They needed to prove that by taking me to an all I could keep down buffet that cost $7.50. Again, I truly appreciate the thought but it’s not like it was a five star meal at the Ritz Carlton. I chose to eat healthy, so it was basically just a couple of bowls of salad and water. 

   Halfway through the meal, one of my friends happened to recognize someone he knew that had won an election yesterday and was now a local alderman. He invited the guy to join us for lunch, and the guy asked me what I did for a living. I never like to say I do standup comedy, as that’s an open invite to hear every horrific ‘joke’ ever thought of. It’s one of the worst tortures imaginable.

   Sure enough, just as I feared my friend said “He’s a comedian!” That started it off, and I had to painfully endure a barrage of old jokes that sucked any remaining pleasure out of my ‘free’ lunch that might have still been there. Basically, I’d paid a $12 cover to hear them rattle off old jokes. I know they meant well, and I really appreciate their intentions – but this was a very costly detour.

   Wednesdays are supposed to be my booking day. I had fully intended to put in my time and do my due diligence in establishing a pattern of making the rounds with the bookers I already work for and more importantly looking for new ones. With an hour there and back and two hours gone at the restaurant, there was no time left for what I needed to do. NO more ‘free’ lunches. Please.

There never have been, aren't now nor will there ever be any free lunches.

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