Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Run along and be active honey, Mommy will sell your shit.

Cookie dough. Chocolate covered almonds. Lobsters. Entertainment coupon books. And my favourite – the "Glass Turkey" – a laundry hamper full of Triple Sec that parents dragged out of their liquor cabinets.

Ya, I'm talking fundraising, and the psychotic and cyclical exchange of money that goes from parent to parent, in doorways, offices, and rink parking lots. Like crack dealers, we lurk in alleyways waiting for someone who may need a fix, or an entire freezer full of shitty fruit pies – all with hopes of keeping our kids off the streets.

Swim teams. Girls' Choir. Band trips. Dance. Volleyball. Baseball. Football. T-ball. Can we all not agree to just pay for our own kids and stop the incestuous, labour-intensive insanity?

Take for instance, the best marketing idea ever – spending $80 bucks on gas, driving around delivering frozen cookie dough for a $100 profit. And let's not forget bottle drives. An entire weekend spent rummaging through pissy blue bags like a homeless person, searching for a ten cent bottle deposit refund. By the end of it, you're so tired and pissed off, you fill up your own blue bag – ready for next Saturday when the girls' basketball team comes a knockin' all the way from Cole Harbour.

Oh! And another thing. The Little Bastards do absolutely nothing. Shovel snow? Rake leaves? Bag groceries? Nooooooo... they're too busy jerking off and texting and dryland training and being actively involved in the sports that have sucked any chance of parents ever owning a single solitary RRSP, let alone a decent coat to stave off hypothermia in a fume-filled rink built in 19fucking69.

Over the years, I've eaten caseloads of anaphylactic almonds, flogged fair trade coffee beans, nibbled on frozen cookies, and sold enough raffle tickets (that I had to design) on trips that no one I know ever seems to win – and quite frankly I'm sick of it.

This morning, I experienced exactly how the seal hunter feels as he wields the club high up over his adorable prey. I bounced the Ziploc baggie full of unsold tickets at the sleeping giant's head and screamed, "Wake up and go sell some bloody tickets, I just got an email saying the $800 is due tomorrow and I am NOT paying for them."

I remember the first time I enrolled the Little Bastard in Timbits. After purchasing all the gear, (that I had no clue how to put on) and while sweating like a pig in pyjamas in a filthy dressing room at 6am – I then wrote several cheques to the Halifax Hawks, figuring the $600 or so bucks was astronomical – but worth it, because he was happy – and so much for me thinking hockey was cheaper than skiing – but, what the heck, this wasn't going to stick, and we'd be back on the ski slopes before that roll of tape was gone.

Imagine my surprise at the first Timbits parents' meeting – after the fair and equal playing time bullshit speech was over – when the annual budget was passed around. I figured it was a typo when I saw the bottom line: $18,000. Of course, I also thought the Coach was joking when he listed off "away" tournaments, extra ice time, dryland, the end-of-year party, and the first of many hideous track suits and jackets you were forced to buy in order to stave off the sheer humiliation of your kid being the only one on the team NOT wearing a black and red monkey suit with his name and number on it. (I have at least 12 of them in various sizes for sale, if anyone is interested.) But, $18,000? The Little Bastard could barely skate, and spent the early morning ice time licking his snot.

And, so here I am – a decade or so later, still on my knees, too old and tired to offer sexual favours, begging for mercy because the parents voted to sell $800 dollars worth of tickets on a trip to see the Celtics and the Bruins (minus Brad Marchand, that naughty and kinda sexy local dirty boy) instead of putting in the time and effort of hosting an auction, where you feel obligated to buy shit you couldn't give away at a garage sale, but you can at least drink too much and overbid on the very items you had to grovel and get donated from clients and local businesses.

Hey, I work at home, and the only people I see, are the other hockey parents flogging the same damn tickets. Besides – in a gallant effort – I pulled up to Donny Reardon's house to sell tickets last week, and ended up buying $20 bucks worth of raffle tickets from his kid. Fuck that.

So here's the deal:

You buy the Little Bastard's tickets and I'll enter your name in a draw for a $50 gift certificate to Flaunt Salon that you can use toward a fabulous cut and blow, or a massage, or a pedicure, or gentlemen... you can get your back waxed.

Tickets are 1 for $10, or 5 for $20 and the draw is Saturday! It's so easy to purchase... use the handy PayPal button to the right, do an email transfer, or mail the Little Bastard a cheque. (Details below). There are two prizes. The grand prize is a trip to Boston to see Celtics vs Memphis and Bruins vs Penguins (or you can take $1000 bucks and stay home). Second prize is $400, which reminds me, I have to bring $20 bucks to the rink to chip in for that. I think there's a third prize, but that escapes me.

As for kids getting involved and learning a life lesson, all I can say is the best ever sales person was the young, clipboard-toting Mr. Nathan Clarke. Our future Prime Minister rolled into my backyard this summer after hearing the blender going from blocks away. There we were, neighbours, knee deep in birthday margaritas and willing targets for Nathan's enthusiastic sales pitch. Only problem was, no one remembered purchasing anything until Nathan arrived weeks later with a shitload of pies. Or was it cookie dough? I do remember writing a cheque to a lacrosse team. Or was it baseball?


It is all for a good cause, and as they say, "cheaper than bail."

If you don't want to do the Paypal thing you can:
A: Email money through the Interac button your your online banking site to
B. Mail, or drop off a cheque made out to Jack Flinn, 1589 Preston Street, Halifax B3H3T9
Just let me know it's coming and your contact info so we, okay, I, can write up your tickets because the draw is this Saturday.
Thank you.