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Not a "Grab Bag" Kind of Person

Posted Oct 21 2008 12:12am

I strolled past this cute little shop the other day and there was a sign that said "Grab Bag:$5 each." I just stood there and looked at those bags, not knowing what was inside any of them and wanting to know, but knowing in my heart that I am simply not the kind of person who plops down five bucks for something sight unseen and item unknown. I show up early everywhere I go. I don't gamble. I check the weather. I'm not a "grab bag" kind of person. Even though I try to "embrace the journey" as it comes, there really isn't one little iota of the journey that doesn't get quickly Googled so that I have an idea where the road is taking me.

Yet, here I am, Monday morning, ready to embark on Every Monday Matters. And it is blood donation week. That time, years ago, when I fainted, was when I worked with my dad at the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company headquarters on 23rd Street in New York City. My dad had worked there for 35 years and this was his final year before retirement. My friend Brendan, with whom I used to dance in the elevator if we were the only two on board, recruited me to donate because the company was running a promotion, if you can believe it. Every fourth-time donor for the year and every first-time donor who came with him or her would both be invited to a cocktail party featuring jumbo shrimp. This was what the poster said. Give blood, get jumbo shrimp.

Anyway, so I gave blood, felt weak, presented a project to a senior vice president and proceeded to faint in his office. Not exactly a career-enhancing move. He called my dad, and after a period of recovery, my dad said he'd take me home. I assumed this meant in a cab. But no. My dad said to me, "Today we won't walk. Today we'll take the subway." To this day, I have no memories of ever being in a cab with my father. But, just like my father, I love to walk as much as possible, too. Just not right after fainting!

So, my brother was here this weekend, helping take care of my mom, and I told him about donating blood, about how I could save 120 lives in ten years of donating quarterly. And he had just one piece of advice:

"Pattie, ya' gotta' eat the donut."

I wouldn't eat the jumbo shrimp today, of course, now that I'm a vegetarian, not to mention all the environmental issues with shrimp. And, of course, donuts have trans fat in them, not to mention all the other junk. And, as we know, I'm not a risk-taker, since I ultimately did not buy that $5 grab bag. And I'm not even motivated by the 8" foam teardrop-shaped blood drop that the American Red Cross is giving to parents who donate blood on Saturday.

"It has arms and legs and bulging eyes, Mom," my younger daughter told me, aghast at the thought of it. "I mean, who would want that thing? Why do they have to give you things all the time for doing something good, anyway?"

Keep the shrimp, the donut and the blood drop. I'll take the risk.
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