by David Sisler

I was heart-broken when I read this Sunday's Parade magazine. For the second week in a row there was not one single "tribute to Princess Di." No postage stamps, no books, no lithographs, no plates, no dolls, no samplers, no stained glass windows. Absolutely nothing for me to buy as a lasting tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales. Last week, however, that crushing blow was soften by a "tribute to Frank Sinatra" officially licensed by the family (they evidently had that one waiting for "Old Blue Eyes" to have passed From Here To Eternity). But this week, nothing. Oh, the heartless cruelty of it all!

The day was saved, however, when I went through some mail I had missed. I needed something to spend my money on, some great (or not so great) purchase to make me feel better about myself. That is the American way, is it not? If you buy the latest "whatever" you will feel better at least that's what the ads say. Spend, spend, spend. Then pack it away in a closet, and have a yard sale in a year or two. Of course, with the cash earned from the sale, you can buy more stuff. Or maybe just rent a storage building in which to put all of your current goodies that, once upon a time, you could not do without, but now strangely can.

I was born into a family of collectors. Over the years, someone named Sisler (either by being born to the name or marrying into it) has collected depression glass, glass swans, baskets, cookie cutters, rulers, pencils, antique toys, miniature furniture, McDonald's Happy Meals toys, Pittsburgh Pirate souvenirs, Pittsburgh Steeler souvenirs, stamps, postcards, professional wrestling figures, Star Trek memorabilia, baseball cards, crystal figurines, hand tools, Nancy Drew novels, Boy Scout memorabilia you get the drift. And we have had some incredible yard sales.

But with no new "Di's" or "Frank's" how was I to spend this week's allowance? Note: My "allowance" is whatever I can spend before Bonnie says, "Don't you spend another dime this week!"

Lottery tickets are a great way to waste your money. One local player was highlighted in a recent feature article for stopping at his local gambling dispensary and dropping $4 or $5 a day. He boasted that he once won $40!

That's an easy $1500 a year spent on tickets, since he probably misses a day now and then. If he invested that sum at 12 percent (an average mutual fund will do that well) his money would double in less than seven years. But then he would have missed the thrill of spending almost two grand and winning less than half a C-note.

Shame on me for speaking badly of the lottery it is, after all, for our children's education, isn't it? Lesson One: You should base all of your hopes on getting something for nothing. Lesson Two: Dumb luck is more important than hard work. Lesson Three: What's yours is mine, and I want it (that's what gambling is all about you put yours in and lose, I put mine in and win yours).

But, as I said, my spend-thrift ways were saved. I uncovered an amazing catalog: Things You Never Knew Existed... and other items you can't POSSIBLY live without! This thing is amazing for several reasons: someone thought up this stuff, someone else manufactured it, and some goober out there will buy it.

For less than 30 bucks you can purchase a marvelous discovery by European scientists French pine bark extract, billed as "The Fountain of Youth." It "may" prevent arthritis, senility and cataracts. Actually, the ad asked, "Have European scientists discovered TFOY?" I guess so. Have you ever seen an arthritic beaver, a senile termite, or a woodpecker with cataracts? If it works for them, it must be worth $29.95 for 100 time-release tablets.

There were Laminated Photo I.D. Cards and replica Police Badges all sold, please note, for novelty purposes only; pages of self-defense books each promising that you can cripple and maim anyone who read any of the other books; and the ever popular weight loss breakthrough pill that soaks up to 12 times its weight in dietary fat.

Things you never knew existed. Send your money. Don't forget to add shipping and handling.

If the good folks who put out that catalog are looking for ideas for their next selection of things you can't possibly live without, I would suggest a brief mention of eternal salvation available without delay through simple faith in Jesus of Nazareth. You cannot live forever with God without it. It is absolutely free, having been paid for by God's Son. The rewards are eternal. Shipping and handling are included.


Published in the Augusta Chronicle 6/27/98

Copyright 1998 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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