Oh. My. Beef.

Beef BriefOh my beef

Pissing me off this week: You know Him. You love Him. Some of you even worship Him. Ladies and gentiles, let’s give a hearty Write-in-the-kisser welcome to the One, the Only, GOD ALMIGHTY!…Ok, so to be fair, my real beef isn’t with the Big Guy Himself, but rather with certain members of His constituency. Still though, the Dude’s omniscient, so He probably coulda seen this coming. The fact that He didn’t — or worse, did, and then let me make an idiot of myself — only proves what I’ve always said: Sticks and stones may break your bones, but God doesn’t have any bones. He’s like jello.

But creepy, jiggly deities aren’t why I’ve called you here today, so let us return to your regularly scheduled ranting while I bring you back; back to a time of innocence and frivolity; back to a time when people were inherently decent and no one took advantage of poor young bucks like myself; back to a time I like to call last Saturday…

‘Twas the day of the Sabbath, and the young lass with whom I am living in sin and I decided to flaunt our cohabitation at the annual holiday fair held at the First Congregational Church near our apartment. We arrived all aflutter and were immediately rewarded by the heartlifting sight of miniature horses towing miniature people (kids, not dwarves) around the parking lot. Our spirits only improved after entering the church, where we heard the announcement that all books from the book room could be had for merely $1 per bagfull.

Two crock pots, a raffle, and a homemade relish later found us patronizing the afternoon’s main event: a silent auction. And what a silence it was. Children screaming and running about, adults exclaiming in delight over knick knacks and paddy whacks galore — and why not, for available at the auction were unimaginable treasures! Antique silver chafing dishes, antique elephant book ends, antique writing desks, antique Playstation 2’s with antique American Idol video games — verily, a sight to behold!

With so many priceless objects up for grabs, I wondered if I’d be able to afford even a single initial bid. Fortunately, that question was put to rest on my second pass around the crowded room when I spotted a potential bargain in the form of a mint condition Bodum® Fondue Set from Crate & Barrow designed by the Carsten Jorgensen. Best of all, it still had all its original packaging, as well as (and pay close attention here) “a gift receipt for possible exchange.

Yahtzee! With a listed value of $90, a high bid of only $20, and five minutes left in the game, I sprang into action.

And that’s when I made my first mistake.

Having grown up with digital commerce and an eBay mindset, it didn’t occur to me to simply make a slightly increased bid and then hover nearby to see if anyone would top it. Instead, hoping to discourage any “snipers” who might trump me at the last minute, I put down the overall highest price I was willing to pay for such a commodity (in this case, $45), passively and erroneously assuming that it would later be lowered to the proper incremental bid should I win the item.

Of course, that’s not how live silent auctions work, and when I eventually won the item I did indeed end up shelling out the full can of tuna for it. However, I did so ungrudgingly, knowing that I would still reap double its value in goods when I returned it later for store credit.

Or so I thought.

Instead, moments after bringing the box back to my car and checking it over one last time for possible defects or raccoons, there occurred something so horrible, so un-Christian, that I still get a case of the bulging bowels every time I think of it.

Oh yes, I won that mint condition Bodum® Fondue Set designed by Carsten Jorgensen fair and square. And yes, there was a gift receipt inside just as promised. However, the cruelest blow parsimony ever struck rained down upon me when I unfolded the receipt and read that it was dated December 2006 — and had expired in March 2007!!!

It all became clear in an instant. Those cunning, God-fearing bastards had done this on purpose! The ambiguous wording in the item’s description (“gift receipt included for possible exchange”), the irresistible allure of Bodum® brand products to enthusiasts of imported Swedish goods everywhere, the distracting pieces of shiny, shiny metal — all actively conspiring against me to commit the biggest financial blunder of my life.

Well hear me now ye ol’ First Congregationalists (if, indeed, you actually were the “first”). You have more than God to fear now, for you have just engendered the scorn of a genuine wegger. That’s right, I have put fingers to keyboard to warn the rapture-awaiting masses, and soon your illicit attempts to screw over the innocent — and, more importantly, me — will instigate a crisis of faith so powerful that it will bring the Church to its knees. (Not in prayer though; that would sort of defeat the purpose.)

Perhaps I doth protest too much, but if it’s a sin to carry a grudge, then bring on the glass slippers. Sinderella’s lookin’ for a date to the ball.

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