While I was on my regular Sunday morning excursion to my local Shoppers Drug Mart, I was reminded of an episode that occurred last summer, which I know will be of burning interest to readers of this blog.
Before I venture any further, let me elucidate a few things. First, when I say “my local Shoppers Drug Mart,” you can simply visualize your own local Shoppers Drug Mart, for as I found out in Stratford, Ontario last fall, they are all exactly the same. The shampoo is over here, the cheesies are over there. I find this both freaky and comforting at the same time.
And second, and more to the critical understanding of this post, it should be known that I possess an extraordinary number of Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum points. It’s quite an astronomical number, actually, putting me in the $85.00 free merchandise redemption neighbourhood.
I don’t like to brag about it (being a humble man), but I do believe this is a remarkable enough achievement that I include it on my resume.
One of the reasons – certainly the most important reason – for my trip to Shoppers this morning was to grow the Optimum fund.
As I say, I was reminded of a situation last summer. I was living, surviving more than living, really, in a most depressingly impecunious manner. The job had ended and the EI was moving about as quickly as a glacier. Adding to the merriment, my daughter Hanna had come back to Calgary for the summer.
She was not destined to stay, however, and before long had made arrangements to test the waters in New York City. Before she left, in need of toiletries and such sundry items as can be found in any Shoppers Drug Mart (on the same shelf in relation to the other shelves in any store anywhere in this fine land), she suggested that I give her my Optimum card so as not to strain my fractured finances any further.
I felt a pain in my chest, like a knife had been plunged into my heart.
“Use our Optimum points?” I asked, clutching my chest, slumping into a chair, chest heaving as I sought to get my breath.
“Why not?” she rejoindered.
“Oh no, oh no no no . . “ I opined.
“But dad, we’re broke!” she reasoned.
And so it was with tears in my eyes, I took my daughter’s hand in my own and looked deeply into her eyes so I could teach her one of life’s essential lessons. And I said, “It doesn’t matter, love. We’ll find the money somewhere. Even if it means I have to go out and find a job like a normal human being, we will find the money somewhere. Somehow. But we must, at all costs, preserve the sanctity of the Optimum fund. For once it’s gone, then it could truly be said we have nothing left but the skin that covers our bones and our nerves, and I truly will be up the proverbial creek of excrement with no paddle.”
We held each other and had a good cry, alone together against the enormous indifference of the cosmos. And I can’t remember what I had to do to come up with the money, but some was found, and Hanna was able to get her deodorant and a toothbrush and those other things that women are always getting, that men know nothing of.
And the points were preserved, dear reader. The Optimum fund remained intact, as it does to this day.
Safe. Growing. Flourishing, even.
And that was what I was thinking of when I went to Shoppers Drug Mart this morning to buy some invigorating shower gel, hair conditioner and a new 5 blade razor system with two replacement cartridges, thereby swelling the fund an additional 140 points.
It’s a wonderful life after all. Thanks for reading!