Sales for frog phone hoppin’

Originally published in the Sep 3, 2006 edition of The Joplin Globe.

I’m one of those people now.

You know the people I mean. The people who have kids in school. The people who bring school fund-raising stuff to work for you to buy. Stuff like – oh, I don’t know – Christmas wrapping paper, magazine subscriptions, candy, cheese, meat or meth.

Ha. I’m just kidding about the meth, but it does make you wonder how come schools don’t sell meth as a fund-raiser.

Oh, sure, there are the obvious legal and moral reasons why schools don’t have their kids sell meth, but let’s be practical for a moment. There is, apparently, a certain segment of the population that does want to buy meth. So if those people are going to buy meth anyway, doesn’t it make sense for the schools to benefit from the meth-buying segment of our population? Call it a modest proposal.

This year, our 8-year-daughter, Emma, brought home a fund-raising catalog and announced that she needed to sell 25 items.

I thought that was a lot, so I asked Emma why she needed to sell 25 items.

“So I can get a frog telephone for my room,” she said.

“Well, as long as you have a good reason,” I said.

Look, when you’re 8, wanting to get a frog telephone is a pretty good reason to do just about anything.

First of all, you have the fact that my wife and I are not so sure we want Emma to have a telephone in her room. That’s one reason to want a frog telephone. The other reason, of course, is that it’s a FROG telephone. Oh, and it’s not just any frog telephone. It’s a “hands-free, light-up and ‘Ribbit’ sound frog phone.”

Emma has to have that phone.

But the thing is, the stuff in the catalog that Emma has to sell isn’t exactly cheap. Even if my wife and I wanted to order 25 items from the catalog, we wouldn’t because that would be dumb. We would be better off taking the money we would have spent on the 25 items and just buy Emma a frog telephone. If we did, we would still have enough money left over to send her to college at a moderately priced Ivy League school.

Instead, we did what any parents would do. We badgered our relatives, friends and co-workers.

See, I have this theory that people get married and have children because they get tired of having to buy fund-raiser things from their married friends who have children. I mean, after a while, it’s cheaper to just have a kid of your own.

Normally, I feel guilty hitting up relatives, friends and co-workers to help out with Emma’s fund-raisers, but this time it was different. This time, there was a frog telephone at stake. So Monday, I brought the catalog to work and put it under a sign that Emma made. The sign basically was a desperate appeal to help Emma get a frog telephone.

As I write this, things are starting to look good for the frog telephone. Emma has sold 23 items which means she is two shy of her goal. When I called my wife to give her the good news, my wife said, and I swear this is true, “Well, if she sells 30 items, she gets a pizza party, too.”

So if you’re not married and you don’t have kids and need Christmas wrapping paper, magazine subscriptions, candy, meat or cheese, give me a call. But if you need some meth, I’m sorry, I can’t help you.

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