How Club Z Ruined My Life
Back when I was in my late 20s, I noticed all my
30something unmarried women coworkers at my tax software company were bitter
and resentful. After a lot of questioning, I discovered they were bitter and
resentful because the life plan they envisioned when they were 21 never came
to pass. They had this idea that by 30 they would be partners in a Chartered
Accountancy firm. They would have a husband and a house. They would be
starting on their first child. Here they were 32, no husband, no child, and
they were working in software. As a final indignity, they had to work with
geeks like me (Are you sure you don't want to come to my
It never occurred to me I should have a life plan. Life just generally turns out pretty decently all the time. I'm never overly frustrated how the course of my life is going. Glitches happen but things smooth out.
Peer pressure being what it is, I sensed I better get on side and develop my own life plan. After careful analysis of the failed life plans of my friends, I determined the key was to pick some arbitrary numerical marker and then set some unrealistic goals. The understanding was that if I did not reach those milestones, I could -- guilt free -- slip into the easy and rewarding life of a bitter and resentful thirty-year old.
I decided my life plan would be of the following:
Get married by the time I collected 500,000 Zellers Club Z points.
I had 370,000 points and figured I'd easily pass the half mil mark by thirty. While seemingly arbitrary, it was seemingly a romantic thing too.
Here's how I envisioned it. I'm down on one knee. I ask my beloved if she'll marry me. She says "Oh yes, Karl, yes. This is the happiest day of my life." Or so she thinks. Because, baby, it's only going to get better. I then say to her "Sarah, oh, Sarah. I have a confession, something I've not told you for all these years we've been dating. Sarah, I have 500,000 Club Z points and they are all yours to spend on a deacon's bench or some pot holders or whatever."
Alas, I hit the 500K mark and found myself unmarried. Now I'm bitter and resentful.
Club Z: The Math After
A few years later I met and briefly dated this horrible, horrible woman. She left me with the distinct feeling I was not only unloved, but I might be unlovable. You know the type. In the same way it began to dawn on me in third-year university that I would never get into grad school, it began to dawn on me that I may be single for the rest of my life. Marriage was no longer something assured. I guess I mostly assumed if I waited around long enough someone would marry me.
I took another look at my Club Z points (now well over the 800K mark) and began to toy with the idea that, since I might never meet a woman who truly deserved those points, I should cash them in and get a 7-piece copper cookware set (899,000 points) or a Bissell Spotlifter (569,000 points).
Upon that harder squint, I noticed a funny thing. My Club Z points were no longer over 800K. They had slipped below 600K. There was certainly no mistake on my part. At any given moment, I could cite to you how many Club Z points I had with an accuracy of 500 points. No worries, I thought, it was some strange computer glitch and it will sort itself out. A week later my Club Z point total was below 400K! This was no mere glitch. Someone must have gotten a number transposed and they were cashing in my points. Or maybe I was the victim of Club Z identify theft! Whoever this creep was, I'd find him. I'd make him pay. Club Z rage! No jury in the land would convict me.
I called Zellers' customer service number. I gave them my account information and asked them why my total was declining. The woman clicked some keys.
"Oh, it's not your Club Z card. Your card is a companion card. The owner of the card has been cashing them in. The owner is a Mary Anne Mamer."
My own mother!
I hung up. I was stunned. For years I had been collecting these points under the impression they were mine! I thought back to that early summer day when I was lying in bed, eating Voortman cookies, and watching CBC's . My mother came into my room and gave me a Club Z card with my name on it. She never told me it was a companion card!
I shouted "I have no mother!"
As it turned out my mother never really paid too close attention to her point total. Not like her prissy son. One day she looked at her Zellers cash register receipt and discovered she had racked up over 800,000 points. She started cashing them in to buy things for my nephew.
I never once worked a nephew into my life equation or my Club Z point life plan. I realized, while no woman might ever deserve the points I could bestow upon her, this beautiful innocent life, this little boy that calls me "Uncle Karl", deserved the lot of them. And more.
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Copyright 2002 Karl Mamer
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