This I believe

One of my favorite radio (NPR, of course) segments is This I Believe.
Ever since I heard the first installment, an essay by Isabel Allende, I have wanted to write my own this I believe essay, but have not been able to distill my beliefs down into three minutes. One of my core beliefs is that creativity, that being creative, is important in ALL aspects of life whether you’re a business owner, a scientist, a writer or a painter. Creativity is where the ability to solve problems comes from, among other things.

Today I heard an essay by an Affrilachian poet. (don’t you just LOVE that word!?)

Frank X Walker is an assistant professor of English at Eastern Kentucky University. The author of three poetry collections, he was awarded a prestigious Lannan Literary Fellowship in 2005. (which is probably why he writes so well!)

This man stole my essay! He reached right into my heart and grabbed it. At almost every line, I wanted to shout “YES” or maybe “NO.” Instead, I lounged in bed, and let the words flow over me, seeping into my soul.

Morning Edition, March 27, 2006 · I believe that what we often call survival skills is simply creativity at work.

Here’s a little from my, uh, I mean Frank’s essay:

“I believe that the highest quality of life is full of art and creative expression and that all people deserve it. I believe in a broad definition of what art is and who artists are: Barbers, cooks, auto detailers, janitors and gardeners have as much right to claims of artistry as designers, architects, painters and sculptors.”

So, what do you believe??

eBay

I’ve figured it out, why eBay is so popular. It’s fun! Fun, fun, fun! You don’t actually BUY anything, you WIN! How cool is that! and if you do it by beating out 25 other bargain hungry shoppers, and pay twice what the item is worth, then it’s even better!

We had that happen at work. We have an eBay store where we list some of our regular items, and auction items we’ve taken in on trade. We listed two welding machines, used, not tested. We don’t regularly sell or service these machines, but thought we could make a little money, and clean out some space in the warehouse so we put them on eBay. A massive bidding war ensued. I mean seriously. For one machine, the bidding ended at $850. Another similar machine went for $462 on eBay. But that’s what happens when people get into bidding for winning sake, not for buying sake.

I had a similiar experience myself. I went on eBay to look for a Barbie. First let me tell you why. It started right here in this very blog, “Barbie A Love Hate Relationship”. I then developed it into a piece I read at San Diego Writers Ink First Fridays Open Mic at The Grove in South Park. Then I took it further once the news of Ken’s makeover hit the wires… only I decided to write the real story. I researched Mattel and Barbie and told the “real” story about his alleged makeover. I won’t tell it here, I’m trying to sell the story to The National Enquirer, but let me just say, makeover or rehab?

At any rate, I became interested in Barbie again, and headed off to eBay to see what a vintage Barbie goes for. My first turn with the cyber bidding paddle netted me a pretty good deal. I got a vintage 1961 Barbie, just like my old Madge, for $30. Considering a 1959 Barbie (mint condition of course) had recently sold for over 4K I felt like I got a deal. She arrived safe and sound, and even clothed!

My next turn at eBay almost ended with me emptying out my checking account, or maybe maxing my credit card, whichever was higher… I wanted a “Stacey” Barbie, and I wanted her real bad. And so did some other Barbie collecting bitch, who kept outbidding me. I’d think I was safe, go do something, and come back a couple hours later only to find I was no longer the top bidder. I WASN’T WINNING. I was mad. And I had money. I wanted to WIN WIN WIN. Something came over me. I became a maniacal shopper, clicking furiously on the Bid Now button, 47 dollars, 52 dollars, 60 dollars, 65 dollars. It was crazy. Sixty-five dollars for a Barbie doll? I suddenly realized how NUTS that was, and I bowed out of the race… but I’m tellin’ ya, I coulda taken that other bidder down if I really wanted to.

Could it be True??

Here’s an email that recently showed up in my Inbox…

WINNING FINAL NOTIFICATION

We are officially informing you of the result of the Lottery Winners International programs held on the 3rd of January, 2006 as part of our promotional programs for the year 2006. Your e-mail address attached to ticket number 77007742781005-18721 with reference number 414-3721060 drew winning numbers 7-00-71-00-66-49 and credited to batch number 121cfc,which consequently won in the 3rd category via our electronic ticket as stated above. You have therefore been approved for a pay out of £1,800,000.00 (One Million Eight Hundred Thousand Pounds).

Just in case you can’t comprehend 1,800,000.00 they spell it out for you.

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Total funds have now been deposited and insured with our affiliate security firm (Bank) for transfer into your nominated bank account either by means of wire transfers through any of our correspondent banks or any other means suitable to you. We also advice that you keep your winning information very confidential as our security policy demands to avoid double claims/impersonation and unwarranted abuse of this program by some individuals.

Think I should give them my bank account number so they can DEPOSIT in my account? perhaps my SSN would speed up the transfer, and while I’m at it I’ll just give them my place of birth, my mother’s maiden name, my first pet’s name, and my favorite super hero.

BLA BLA BLA !!!

All participants were selected through a random computer ballot system drawn from over 800,000 company and 1,000,000 individual email addresses and names from all over the world. This promotional program takes place annually and we hope with part of your winning you will take part in our next year £20 Million Pounds International Lottery.

Wow, they picked me out of all those people?? I must be “special”

To file for your claim, you will be contacting our Verification Department authorized to verify and process your claims for your total payment (You will receive more information upon your acknowledgment of this email).

I won’t be contacting the Verification Department.
I won’t I won’t I won’t

Please Note that winnings must be claimed not later than 31th of March, 2006. After this date all unclaimed funds will be included in our subsequent program coming up later in the year. In order to avoid complications always quote your reference number in all correspondence.

Hmmmm think I’ll wait and let the lottery get really big with even more unclaimed funds.

To file for your claim, please contact our Verification Department:
Mrs.Doris carl

Reply Email : doriscarl11@edumail.co.za

If anyone wants to reply and claim the price… well it’s your identity to give away as you see fit.

Now where’s that offer from the son of an ousted Nigerian minister of something? I think he needs my help.

A conversation

“What time do we need to leave?”

“We have to leave no later than 12:45,” I said.

“OK, well, better tell me 12:30 so I won’t be late.”

Please oh please don’t be late. I said to myself. My sister is always late. Usually she calls, but she’ll call when she is supposed to be somewhere and say she’s on her way. I don’t know why she does it. Maybe its because she always tries to fit too many things into a day. Maybe she’s afraid she won’t have enough time. That life is too short. That maybe her life is too short. Sometimes its hard to get mad at her, because I know she’s right.

“12:30” I said, then took a deep breath, quietly, trying not to make it sound like an exasperated sigh. “Please don’t be late. This is really important to me.” I repeated “12:30” at least six times before hanging up the phone.

I had made our appointment for the StoryCorps mobile booth two weeks earlier. I had a hell of a time getting through the crashing computer system and the phones, and trying to pin my sister down on a date and time that she would be available.

Thursday February 23.

Debby showed up on time, 12:30. We got to Balboa Park early, but the people before us had gotten there late, so we had a bit of time to kill. We chatted with the local KPBS volunteer, N.S. “No Say” Wright
and wandered aimlessly for a few minutes. Soon, Jackie, one of the StoryCorps facilitators invited us into the booth. She gave us the 411 on how the whole think works, gave us paperwork to fill out, and asked what we were here to talk about.

I could hardly get a word out without crying. I thought for sure I was going to totally blow this, that I would just cry through the whole thing and my voice would be a blubbering mess, incomprehensible… Debby said, “I don’t know she didn’t really tell me much of anything.” Which of course was not totally true. I had told her about the StoryCorps and that I wanted to sort of interview her about mom, and that the recording would be in the Library of Congress. Forever. And, I sent her a link to the website….

I finally managed to cry/talk something along the lines of “I want to remember our mom who died in 1978.”

When it was our turn to go into the recording studio, Jackie got us settled into a sort of restuarant booth like table rigged up with a couple of big microphones. Jackie’s job, she told, was to manage the sound equipment, take notes for cataloging the recording, and keep the time. She also said she might ask for clarification if we talk about something or someone and its not clear…

It was a wonderful experience. Too often when I talk to my sister, we have so many other things going on. People in and out and around. Dinners to be cooked, dishes to be cleaned phones, televisions, music playing… this was just the two of us. Quiet time. Reflective conversation. Remembering or mother.

I managed to pull myself together, and only cried a couple of times. The more amazing thing was that Debby actually cried. She never cries. She’s the one who always has it together. Solid as a rock. Composed. She drives me crazy but I love her anyway.

We received a CD of the conversation, with the instruction that we can make as many copies as we like, give them to as many people as we like, but we cannot sell it.
I may post snippets here on my blog if I can figure out how to do that.