It started out innocently enough...
When I was at work on Friday afternoon, Mr. Bizzle called. We had our usual exchange - said our hellos, he asked what was for dinner, I told him to bite me, the usual. But right as we were about to hang up, it happened. Mr. Bizzle said, "Oh, by the way, a package came for you today." A package? For me? "Who is it from?" I asked. "It doesn't say, but there's a return address in Tampa, Florida", he responded. "Were you expecting a package from someone?" Nope, I wasn't. I immediately scanned my brain for anyone I know in Tampa and came up blank. Then I scanned for anything I might have ordered online, which of course, I rarely ever do because of my fear of identity theft. Blank again. I said, "Are you sure it's for me?" After 17 years together, he felt pretty certain of my name and address. "Well, then what does the package look like?" He paused for a moment and said, "It's a package, not a box, but it's big and it smells weird." Smells weird? Smells WEIRD??? Did I have a faceless enemy who sent me something terrible in the mail (like a flaming bag of dog poo)? No, I think I'd know if someone hated me that much. Could it be a terrorist plot involving anthrax? If so, would I know what anthrax smells like? Did it even have a detectable odor? But why would someone send me anthrax? I can't imagine that I'd be a high-value target, like a senator or Britney Spears. So, I asked him to define "weird". He responded, "it smells like that foo-foo flowery crap that girls like." Ah, well I doubted anthrax smelled like that, so I ruled out a terrorist plot and continued to scan for possible senders. Was it a really belated birthday gift? An anniversary of sorts? Had I done something that warranted an award to be sent to my home (like the "major award" that was the leg-lamp in A Christmas Story)? The suspense was KILLING me! But, it was only 3:30 p.m. so I had to wait a couple of hours before I could find out. Sure, he could have opened the package for me, but that would have ruined everything.
When I came home, I didn't bother with pleasantries. I brushed past everyone and made a beeline for my mystery package. I smelled it first. Mr. B was right, it did smell weird. It had a faint, sweet vanilla aroma, similar to a Cabbage Patch Kid from the 1980's. Now I was really intrigued. I opened the package and pulled out two rustic-looking drawstring bags that appeared as if they were made on Gilligan's Island. The Cabbage Patch Kid aroma was really kicking in now and I was starting to get a little bit freaked out. I carefully opened the first drawstring bag and pulled out what appeared to be 3 recyclable shopping bags with a palm frond pattern. I opened the next drawstring bag and pulled out three more. WTF??? What were these? Who were they from? Why were they sent to me? WHY?
The fact that I was mysteriously sent a total of six weird bags stuffed inside two other weird bags that reeked of my childhood was simply more weirdness than I could handle and my psyche began to crack under the pressure. I looked at Mr. B and started firing questions at him. He lowered his head and muttered, "Here we go." He knew I was on a high-speed, neurosis-fed freight train and I wasn't getting off until I had some answers. Then Mr. B said, "Give me the package." He walked over to his laptop, Googled the return address on it and said, "It looks like it's the headquarters for People Magazine. Did you recently renew your subscription or something?" Oh. Why yes, yes I had. And come to think of it, I believe there was a free gift involved in my renewal. So, I looked at Mr. B and said the first thing that came to mind. "So what did you say you wanted for dinner?"
MORAL OF THIS STORY: There are some free gifts that are better left unsent.