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Laura Kessel is managing editor of The News-Herald in Willoughby. She writes a weekly column and shares her thoughts here.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

$3 a small price to pay for dinner with Clooney

I’ll be the first to admit that I waste a lot of money.

When I was a kid, it was magazines. I’d often get two copies of a periodical, because I knew that, over time, I’d wear the ink off the pages from flipping through the same articles over and over, and I didn’t want to miss out on the stories about Richard Hatch (the one from “Battlestar Gallactica,” not the guy from “Survivor”) and Shaun Cassidy (star of “The Hardy Boys”).

As I got older, sports stars joined my periodical obsession. I still remember riding my bike to the drug store on the morning of my first day of high school to pick up the new Sports Illustrated, because there was an article about the Browns’ new linebacker inside.

When I got to the store, I saw Tom Cousineau on the cover! At the register, the clerk asked if I realized I had two copies, and I nodded.

Oh, to not care what people think anymore.

Over the years, the waste has taken on different forms, depending on what I’m obsessed with at any given time.

Clothing, of course, is a big one. We’ve already covered my recent cardigan addiction.

In case you’re wondering, I wore a cardigan sweater to work for 32 consecutive days during March and April, before I got so sick of it that I gave up. Mind you, I just went back into the pile and wore some of those that I had work a month before, but it was refreshing. It was almost as though they were new!

But I’m not here to talk about clothing. I’m here to talk about money.

(That might have been one of those situations where Jim Collins would say “digress.” But I’m not sure.)

It’s easy to waste money. The opportunities are everywhere.

When you’re at the grocery store waiting in endless lines, magazines and sugary snacks are temptations. At Marshall’s and TJ Maxx, customers ready to make their purchases have to wind through a sea of merchandise on their way to the registers.

The goods are all low-priced, which makes it seem like you’re hardly spending any money at all.

When you’re weak like me, it’s really difficult to resist. So, I have a ton of ear bud-type headphones, Danish cookies and chocolate-covered sunflower seeds after spur-of-the-moment pickups while waiting to “Proceed to Register No. 3.”

The other day, though, an unusual offer caught my eye from an equally unusual source — Huffington Post.

I was sitting here at work, minding my own deadlines, when a tweet showed up touting the chance to have dinner with George Clooney for the small cost of $3.

Dinner? With George Clooney? I’m in!

The dinner, for the winner and a guest, will take place at Clooney’s home in California.

As it turned out, though, the $3 was a donation to Barack Obama 2012, the president’s re-election campaign.

I sat back and thought about it, and said to myself, “why not give it a shot?”

I upped the ante, and donated $5, hoping to improve my chances. I’m thinking, every Clooney fan is going to give $3. I want to stand out.

What really is standing out, though, is the number of emails I’ve gotten since then asking for more money.

I got two within five minutes after I clicked the OK button on my entry. One of those even had a link at the bottom in case I wanted to make another donation.

Who are these people? And, how many people have they trapped in this donation cycle?

This was officially my first donation to a political campaign.

I should admit that I know I won’t win, because as part of the donation, you have to disclose your employer and your job title.

If they pick out my card and see the words “managing editor,” how fast do you think they’d pick another name?

It feels a little weird to have donated to a candidate.

My donation isn’t an endorsement of Obama any more than it would be if Clooney had signed on to feed a Romney supporter. I’m an undecided voter, and, the way this campaign is going, probably will remain so for a long time.

So, wish me luck. If I win, I’ll write a column about my dinner with George Clooney.

When I lose, though, you’ll be stuck with one about something dumb I picked up while waiting in line to buy another cardigan.
Twitter: @Lauranh


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