Mark Hunter (ozma914) wrote,
Mark Hunter
ozma914

next week's column: Can You Spare a Buck for a Song and Dance?

SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK


The other day I woke up and thought to myself, “I smell chocolate.”

We don’t keep a lot of chocolate in the house. Not for long, anyway – ‘cause I eat it. Yet there lay two huge boxes of wonderful, miraculous, life affirming candy bars. Snickers, Hershey’s, Reeses, M&M’s – Heaven in cardboard.

I gave my youngest my best doe eyes and wheedling voice. “Can I have a candy bar?” Picture me stretching the words out, in that same begging tone she uses to get stuff.

“Sure,” she said. “It’s a dollar apiece.”

Huh. Guess I don’t do the doe eyes as well as she does. “Okay, there’s an ATM machine across the street – I’ll be right back.”

It’s my daughter’s show choir fund raiser, which means lots of candy around the house until they’re all sold out. The bad news is if I take any without paying, it comes out of her profit margin. The good news is, I don’t have to go anywhere to buy chocolate. But I shouldn’t be eating that much chocolate. A guy can get very confused.

Like many school activities, show choir requires a financial involvement from the student – meaning, often, from the parents. Jillian’s show choir has to raise their own gas
money, just to get to competitions, as my sail idea didn’t work out. They have to pay for dresses – well, the girls do. They tried dresses for the boys, which ended badly when the boys started disappearing faster than a campaign promise. There’s also makeup (do the boys wear makeup? Haven’t worked up the courage to ask.), shoes, and accessories like earrings. They even have to buy their own tights. (Again – it’s a girl thing.)

The first year of show choir, I asked one of the experienced parents how much money we needed for the kids. She replied, “Just sign your check over to the treasurer.” It was a bad sign.

So they do fund raisers, because financial contributions from the schools are limited and look to be more limited in the future. I assume the football players pay for their own uniforms and helmets too, that being the fair way to go. Still, I’m guessing a helmet is less expensive than one of those fancy sequined dresses that can be ripped off to expose another dance outfit, which the members also have to pay for. Usually if you pay to get someone’s clothes ripped off you end up arrested and thrown out of Congress.

The candy sale is the most fun, because hey – candy. Not only that, but inside the wrappers are coupons, which snags a lower price for a Subway sandwich. This gives me an excuse to get one, which is a nice break from the boxed macaroni and cheese diet I’ve been on ever since I did my taxes. Pardon me, while I observe a moment of silence.

They do lots of other fund raisers. For instance, they sell various snacks and little gifts, designed to arrive just before Thanksgiving or the Christmas holidays, and if you think that’s coincidence you’re nuts. (They sell nuts.) I bought a neat little adjustable measuring spoon, which helps with making macaroni and cheese.

When people complain that these seem expensive compared to what you could get at Giant-Mart, I reply: – it’s a fund raiser. One must make money to raise funds, two terms that have pretty much the same definition. The only people who make money from Giant-Mart items are Giant-Mart execs and the managers of certain child labor shops in China. Although in fairness, maybe the Chinese kids are saving up for their show choirs.

Anyway, the items are cool, the food stuff can be very tasty, and once or twice I’ve ordered something for Christmas presents and just kept it for myself. Don’t even bother trying to pry the chocolate covered peanuts from my hands. I bite.

Some of the fund raisers are pretty straightforward. At the car wash, the members wash cars. Kinda makes sense. If you want to a car wash and they gave you a cheesecake, you’d have questions.

Last year they did a food booth at the car show in downtown Kendallville. Again, straightforward – they served food. Looking at cars you can’t afford can work up a person’s appetite, and almost everyone can afford a hot dog. They don’t sell macaroni and cheese.

They helped with the coat check at East Noble basketball games, and worked on cleaning up the gym. So, they were organizing a closet and pickup up after people – if only they could transfer those skills to their home environment.

Then there’s the Haunted House, which comes along just before Halloween. They tried just before Thanksgiving, but didn’t get nearly the positive response. Go figure – I thought the Zombie Turkey was terrifying. The Haunted House is a lot of work but also fun, which is something that can be said about many of the best hobbies. Last year Jillian scared all the parents by dressing up as a show choir kid with a negative balance in their account.

The show choir helped out at Raise A Ruckus, one of the events at the Apple Festival. At my house, Raise A Ruckus time is when the cell phone bill arrives.

They sold Poinsettias candles, and cookie dough, which – yum. (I mean the dough.) Students and parents did numerous jobs at the Invitational, when other show choirs were brought in to compete at Jillian’s school.

Are your eyes starting to blur yet? Then there’s the golf ball drop.

I had all sorts of problems explaining the golf ball drop to people. Finally I came straight out and told the truth: It’s a lottery. You pay money for a golf ball with a number on it, just like a lottery ticket. Then all the balls are lifted up in a big garbage can (by fire department ladder truck) and dropped over the green at a golf course. The one that gets closest to the hole is a winner.

Seriously, how complicated is that? It’s all for a good cause: Paying for a group of kids to sing and dance, and generally stay out of trouble. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Keep it in mind when I show up next fall, wanting to sell you a golf ball.
Tags: column, new era, slightly off the mark
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