Free.

There’s an episode of the office where Pam tells the camera that Jim has told her if Dwight ever asks you to be in something secret, you respond with “Absolutely, I do”.

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I don’t have a Dwight in my life. I’m not really a Jim either. I don’t have a Pam. I kind of aspire to be Creed, but probably I’m more of a Darryl. That’s beside the point. I have not let this line go to waste. There is a guaranteed way to get me to say, “Absolutely, I do,” and that’s when you’re asking if I want something for free.

On Monday, my boss asked me if I wanted his second Rockstar. He brought two, but didn’t want to drink both. Did I say yes? Absolutely, I did. That was a free drink. That costly like $3.50 or something like that. Yeah I wanted it. Because I like free things.

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I’m not just talking about a free energy drink, or when Chief goes to TeaHaus and brings me a free macaroon. I have this deep seated inability to say no when people are giving me things. I have to really not want it, or truly dislike the person to say no. Because, I’m that person who takes those ads handed to them by people on the street. Free pen? It’s mine now. Free ugly camo hat I’ll never wear? Why not? Free flyer I’m going to throw away in the first trash can I walk by next? Don’t mind if I do. Lots of flyers? Load me up.

I have this memory of being out with friends. My best friend held out a mozzarella stick to me and said, “Have some.” Without hesitation, I was like, “Sure,” and took a bite. She realized that was my natural instinct to say sure and then have a bite, which (like a true best friend) sh exploited. I still laugh about the memory, and, if memory serves, that brand of event happened a few times during college. It was funny, and an open display of one of my quirks.

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Quite possibly this has come from growing up poor, which goes both ways. Yeah, it will always suck to be poor. On the other hand, I have a deep appreciation for things that actually matter in life: family, friends, knowledge, loyalty, all those things that you can’t buy with happiness. Still, I’ve been left with a lingering fascination with possessions. It’s fascinating to own, to have, and to receive. Like, this is now mine. I’m in charge of it. I can list it under all of my belongings in my will if I so choose.

I don’t often give myself the luxury of buying and consuming. My money is often spent long before I receive it. Bills. Student Loans. Sometimes groceries. So when someone wants to give me free things, yes please? I don’t have to give you money but I get to own something new if even for a second? That sounds downright delightful.

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So, if you have food or toys or something you want to give me for free. I’ll probably take it. Because I have a problem.

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