A Confession That Does Not Cast Me in a Flattering Light

I fill out every contest form I can find.

I’m talking about the little index-card-size forms you see in magazines, at grocery store checkout stands, in gyms, at hotels, etc.  You enter for a chance to win a vacation, a car, spa treatments, money, etc.

Of course, no one ever wins these contests.  The only reason companies have you fill them out at all is so that they can put you on a junk mailing list that you will then stay on until long after you are dead.

You may say to yourself, why would somebody who hates all contact with the outside world do something like that?  That’s where I should mention the following:

It’s not my name and address I’m filling in on those little cards.

It’s my cousin Louis’.

I don’t know when I started this quaint little Louis tradition, but I know it goes back a number of years.  At least a dozen.  And now that I’ve gotten the ball rolling like that, I think it would be wrong of me to stop.  I feel pangs of guilt if I walk past one of those forms without putting Louis’ name on it.

The cards often ask for information regarding your income and career.  I always give Louis the highest income possible, as I think this increases his odds of getting more junk mail.  That’s always the goal.  If it’s a contest in a hunting magazine, and they ask how often you hunt, Louis hunts every day of the year.

Louis has tried to win trips from Sweden to Thailand to Nova Scotia.  Boy, has he tried.  He’s tried to win living room furnishings, a date with Pamela Anderson, a trip to the Oscars, a boatload of DVDs, soda for life, pedicures, boats, weightlifting sets, encyclopedias, tropical fish and spa treatments.  I can’t even count the number of trucks he’s tried to win.

And as far as I know, poor Louis has only won one thing.

A mailbox he can no longer close.

I know I should stop.  But I can’t.   I do not want to cut myself off from the joy I get from thinking of Louis’ face every time he gets to his mailbox and sees he signed himself up for another hunting and fishing catalog.

I’ve also never told Louis I do it.  But I plan to one day.

That day will be when Louis calls me to tell me he’s won a vacation to Hawaii in a contest he didn’t even enter.  And I will tell him for only one reason:  He will owe me half of that prize.

Hey.  I did all the work.

26 thoughts on “A Confession That Does Not Cast Me in a Flattering Light

  1. This is why I respect you. How the little guy at the grocery store, by the way?

  2. My older brother does this to me and I end up with all sorts of random stuff in my mailbox. Condoms, nudie girl posters, all sorts of weird beer ads. I think he just tries to sign me up for all the free incriminating stuff he can find.

  3. My dad has a friend who does that. But he fills out the email adress of those people who always send him those scamming emails about the people need your bank acount number to get their mothers out of south africa.

  4. Your cousin will be grateful someday…
    Anyway, my guess is that he will find out your “confession” soon enough. Especially if he checks this blog.

  5. Once a friend signed me up for a free subscription to For Him magazines without me knowing (note that I’m female). So one day, I’m sitting in my dorm room, and a girl who I assume lived down the hall or in an adjacent dorm knocks on my door. She’s holding a rolled up magazine in her hand. I have no idea what it is at the moment. She says, “Are you Stacey? They put this in the wrong mailbox.” She seems a little hesitant/embarrassed but I don’t know why. So I very gratefully thank her for bringing my mail, close my door, and then find out what it is… my first issue of For Him. By that time, it was too late to go find her and try to convince her that I don’t actually read men’s magazines. AWKWARD.

  6. You’ve made my day, Pastis. No — correction! You’ve made my week. (:

    Good luck on that trip to Hawaii.

    You want us to help? Spill the Louis info d:

  7. I used to do this to a colleague at work. I signed him up for a “free septic inspection.” They called his wife to set up the appointment and she had no clue what they were talking about. They got rather testy with her asking why she sent in the card in the first place. I felt a little guilty for doing it but not enough to confess to it. It still makes me laugh.

  8. Wow… I thought I was the only one.
    I used to do that to an ex… you should sign him up for those correspondance schools, they are the worst and will send stuff for years. I personally like to sign people up for flower arranging or fire arms repair.

  9. i fill out script cards for incriminating mags for people whos guts I hate…lately I haven’t been doing that..hmmm you reminded me of my nefarious deeds!

  10. I’d hate to say this, but let’s face it… there aren’t any confessions on this whole site that do not cast you in a flattering light, Stephan.


  11. Well, It’s better than putting in a fake address. Which is what I used to do. And need to start doing again. Now.

  12. I’ve finally come to the conclusion that the Fleetwood Mac “white” album, with “Say You Love Me,” “Rhiannon,” and “Over My Head,” is waaaaay better than Rumours, even though Rumours was Number One for a bajillion weeks and sold a bajillion-and-two copies.

    What say you?

  13. Stephan – sometime I think you and I lead parrell lives, just with you in SF and me here in western North Dakota. Because they are similar you know.

    Anyway, I sign my husbands ex-wife, a very crazy religious zealot, up for pagan and witch magazines. You know, the ones that sell candles, robes, incense, potions, books on magic, etc, etc. I get them a great deal and order from them and they always ask “Would you like to recommend this magazine to a friend?”. Of course I would! What religious zealot doesn’t like seeing a magazine with a robed priestess on the front putting purfication stones on her semi-nude body?

  14. I’m assuming, of course, that Louis does not read your blog, even though perhaps hundreds, nay thousands, of Americans do? 🙂

  15. Not to stroke your ego, or any of your other 2000 parts, but you are a God among men. That is amazing. It’s even better because it’s not that you dislike this person or have some evil reason for doing it. You just do it because you can. 🙂

  16. I do that, too. Not with the same person always. You should have rat do something like that, it’d be so funny!

  17. I probably would start making calls to find out the name of the @$#& jerk who did that. But that would only be if I were Louis. If there were an award for successfully annoying someone to death, would you sign your address or Louis’? 🙂

  18. every time somebody calls and asks me to take a message I tell them, “I’d like a large pizza with olives, mushrooms, spinach, and anchovies. I’m sorry you must have the wrong number.” then I hang up. I have no idea why I do this.

  19. So that’s why my boyfriend won’t give me his mailing address. Brilliant. And as soon as I get it, he’s a gonner. Ta for the idea(s). You’re a crafty wee fecker Pasties *snorts*

  20. I thought only my husband and his friends did this, only they go beyond contest forms into: 1. Job applications (the applicant always wants to work weekends and nights, so he always gets a call), 2. Singles’ services (Did you know these places still distribute direct mail?), 3. Surveys (Restaurant customer service), and so on. They also leave cans of Spam and rotten fruits on each other’s lawns. (Hrmm…what HAVE I gotten myself into here? Or perhaps I am married to a famous cartoonist who hasn’t found himself yet?)

  21. When I was in a fraternity in college, one of our favorite pranks was signing fraternity brothers up to receive free samples of periodicals or consumer products by mail. Needless to say, there were always plenty of Rogaine pamphlets, Playgirl magazines, and feminine hygiene products in the mail room garbage can. We also had imaginary fraternity brothers who would receive subscriptions of magazines we DID want until the bill came due and the collections calls started. (“Sorry, there’s no one at this address named ‘Jake N. Elwood-Blues.’ You must have the wrong number.) You’d think the mailing houses would have wised up and put all the addresses of the fraternity houses on a “Pre-Pay Only” list.

    I have a fake phone number (actually my real cell phone number from 15 years ago) which I use anytime I’m forced to give my phone number to a company which doesn’t (in my opinion) have any legitimate need for it.

    I guess I owe an apology to some poor Qwest Cellular customer with a phone number commencing with (206) 399-.

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