July 25, 2005

Just Say No

I walked into the General Assembly Exhibit Hall Sunday afternoon determined not to get loaded up with paraphernalia. Every booth/exhibitor at General Assembly feels compelled to give away some sort of "favor" in the hopes that we will remember them and use their services. Among the items I saw being handed out were pens, pencils, rulers, squish balls, floppy "frisbees," books for counting carbs (?), bookmarks, keychains, candy, and rubber band bracelets.

Those rubber band bracelets seem to be quite a trendy item. I actually acquired two the week before General Assembly started. One, I paid two dollars for. It's blue and says, "cure diabetes," and I bought it in honor of my son Ethan, who has type 1 diabetes. The other one is green, has an image of an owl, and the date "July 16, 2005." I received that one at the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince book release party I attended with Ethan and his brother, Tristan.

It didn't take long for me to realize how annoying those bracelets are, the way they make my wrist all sweaty. So I gave them away. Nevertheless, for about an hour yesterday afternoon, I could be seen wearing a green-and-white rubber band bracelet that said, "Global Ministries." I soon passed it off to my "new" son, Chris, telling him that it matched what he was wearing better than it matched what I was wearing. He then pulled out a red rubber band bracelet from his pocket, gave it to me, and said, "Here, this will match what you're wearing."

Gee, thanks.

As I wandered through the exhibit hall, I was also handed a sample set of plastic communion cups, all sealed up in a clear plastic bag. The both handing these out was selling communion dispensing machines.... "Just place one of these devices over your communion tray, release the lever, and the non-stick plastic cups fall right into place. No human hand ever touches the cups, amking this a very sanitary method. Next, place the tray under the automatic juice dispenser, and all the cups are filled instantly. Think of the time that is saved!"

I looked at the juice dispenser, with its tangle of clear, flexible tubing, and tried not to laugh. Two ladies from Texas standing next to me did the same. I walked around the corner and tried to pass off my bag of sample communion cups to an unsuspecting wanderer. "Pssst," I whispered. "Hey kid, you want some communion cups?" But the kid was too smart for me, and said no.

After a while, I surreptitiously walked back by the communion dispensing machine booth and placed my sample back on the table. Like that kid, I too am learning to just say "no."

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