Friday 2 April 2010


Anyone that knows me well will tell you that one of my favorite words in the English language is the word FREE. It makes me tingle. The possibility of it, the rewards, the sheer F.U. to the system, I’m getting something that I haven’t paid for. Fine, most things always come at a cost, even if it’s frustration or losing precious moments of your life, but in some cases, it’s worth it for free shit.

I’m not sure when my preoccupation for free things began. My Mom, bless her (in a secular way of course, don’t get me started), instilled within me a profound value for money. Where my father was the type to throw wads of money at you even to the point of annoyance if you didn’t take it, my mother was the barometer of taste and practicality. I have memories of the white sweater she would always insist we own as children, the greatest asset to any child’s wardrobe apparently. It went with everything, was easy to pack, and if you lost it, you better hide, that thing was worth its weight in gold.

I also grew up with tons of sisters - four to be exact. I have profound memories of coveting their stuff and waiting patiently until I got my hands on it. I didn’t even care if it was threadbare and out of fashion, it was mine, and it was free (although one of my sisters had the sense to start charging us for things. She always had an entrepreneurial spirit that one). Then I realized, there was so much in the world that one had to pay for, vs. the few things one could just have. Shameful and often embarrassing, but hey, are we all really expected to shell out full price for everything? That’s just bad economics. So a few sugar packets here, a toilet roll there….free tasters at delis - now there is a goldmine. Until of course I became a germaphobe and the notion of breathed on cheese made me want to puke.

As I got older, I soon discovered I was not the only one. There were many taking advantage of offers – and all of it, free! Free magazines, free one day passes to gyms, free samples of washing powder, perfume, lattes, condoms…you name it. And of course, there were the institutions built upon this notion. I mean can you get much better than the library. Suck on that Amazon, my books are FREE!

Okay, fine, I’m self possessed enough to admit that on some levels I may look cheap. But if I have extra money, I’m the first to shower it upon myself and those I love. But I figure in the new day of inflation, and airlines charging us for luggage, food, and even using the bathroom (they tried, but failed on this quest!), I say, the more free stuff the better. 
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