I was contacted through the mail last year by some ratings company asking me to fill out a short survey. Included in the envelope was a dollar, and apparently that’s enough to buy me off because I filled it out with zeal and sent it back the same day.
A week later, they sent me a thank you letter and a ten dollar bill. Now I can feed my child! I thought happily, hugging the crisp bill to my chest.
This happened again a few weeks ago, except instead of a survey to send back, it was conducted via phone. It only took about five minutes, and they sent me another ten dollar bill for my time.
Two weeks ago, another letter came from them but there was no money in it so I didn’t read it. However, Henry did and he informed me that I was selected to go to the next level in the world of media ratings. There was a pamphlet inside, explaining that there would be small cash awards at the end of each month, with a $50 bonus at the end of 90 months. Also, every weekend, I’d be entered in their sweepstakes. Henry only cared about this because in the literature it said that any household member ages 6 and up could participate and he was dying to be part of something great, I guess. He’s always trying so hard to keep up with me.
So he kept hounding me to call them and opt in for the both of us.
Now we have to wear these fucking pager-things on our person at all times, except while we’re sleeping. It picks up TV and radio signals (and probably bowel movements, too) and the longer we wear them, the more points we rack up which will determine if we’re eligible to be entered in the sweepstakes at the end of each week. The lady I spoke with asked what names I wanted on the devices, and it took every last ounce of my maturity to say “Henry” and not “Lola Sausagesucker” or “Peddy Filer.” He really owes me for that. It was a pretty big deal.
“We should just watch porn for two years straight. Really fuck with them,” I suggested to Henry, who gave me no argument on that one.
Henry and I rack up points while the device is off the charger. Of course this means I’m in heated competition with Henry. The problem is that he gets up for work around 3:30am so he clearly is wearing his device way longer than me, and the points reflect this. I’m really stressing myself out over it. I even goes as far as to throw myself at him in an intimate embrace, distracting him long enough for my hand to slip down to his pocket and unclip his device.
The other morning, I even forced myself to get up at the same time as him so I could take my own device off the charger and go back to bed with it. AND HE STILL ACCUMULATED MORE POINTS THAN ME.
I only wore it to work once, on that first day. (It came with another $10, holla! Henry got $10 too though so now he thinks he’s a part of the club or something.) I felt so conspicuous though, like a drug dealer from the ’90s, so I eventually took it off and clipped it the side of my purse. Two days ago, I forgot to take it off when I got there and still had it clipped to my waistband, which made my shirt jut out as though I was pregnant with a pack of cigarettes. Keepin’ it classy as always. I caught it within my first hour at work, at least, and tossed it into my purse while muttering.
Meanwhile, Henry wears his with pride, like he WANTS people to notice it and think he’s an outdated weed-slinger. And he still has so many more points than me! I can’t stand it! It’s literally all I think about. I even cried about it the other day and screamed, “I QUIT!” which made Henry laugh and tell me I was sad. It’s easy to laugh when you’re WINNING.
“God help me if I ever win one of the sweepstakes,” Henry nervously laughed. “You’d probably kill me.”
Competition is pretty much what I excel at in life. I have little other talent.
I’m going to start wearing this thing on my person again and telling people it’s my organ transplant pager. Get some sympathy out of this gig, you know?