My friend Stella is a die- hard sports fanatic, who plays charity games every month for a Breast Cancer awareness organization.
Even when she badly sprained her ankle, she tried to hop onto the basketball court (crutches, leg cast and all) and attempted to snatch rebounds. Her coach had to drag her off the court.
“I’m fine! It doesn’t even hurt! Look, I can still shoot the ball!”
She protested until her teammates forcibly ushered her out of the gym. Stella would be out of commission for an entire two months, the doctor said. She sulked in her apartment and did pull-ups (and ended up falling and bruising her knee). I had to visit her frequently so that her stubborn attitude wouldn’t put her into a coma.
“Why can’t you just relax?” I asked, taking the spaghetti out of the microwave.
“Every moment I rest, the opponent is getting out there getting better.”
“Aren’t these friendly charity games?”
“Charity, yes. Friendly, no.”
She digs into the spaghetti.
“I hate this,” she says, near tears. “I’m stuck here. In this god- forsaken dungeon.”
“Your condition isn’t permanent. You’ll be up before you know it,” I said.
A month earlier, Stella and I had both sold our televisions (we were trying to remove procrastination from our lives, one useless electronic at time).
“Man,” she sighed. “I’m having second thoughts about selling that television.”
“There are better, more productive things you could be doing.”
Stella wheels herself over to the window.
“I feel like James Stewart in Rear Window right about now.”
“You know,” I said. “People used to tell stories to one another, to pass the time. Like, Fairy tales.”
“Those are for kids.”
“Actually,” I said. “Fairy tales were intended for adults. Originally, they were all about murder and infanticide and rape.”
She raised an eyebrow.
“Ever heard of the Juniper Tree?”
Stella shakes her head.
“Well,” I said, “It’s about an evil stepmother who accidentally chops off her stepson’s head. She freaks out and tries to cover up the murder by reattaching the head to the body and by tying a handkerchief around the neck to keep it steady. When the stepmother’s biological daughter comes in and playfully pokes at her stepbrother, the head falls off. The daughter starts going totally berserk, screaming at the top of her lungs. She actually believes that she killed her stepbrother.”
“Pretty convenient for the stepmother,” Stella says. “Then what happens?”
“Well,” I start, “the stepmother convinces the daughter that they should dispose of the corpse before the father gets home from work. And so they chop the kid up and make a pie with his body.”
“Sick,” Stella says.
“And when the father comes home, they serve him the pie!”
Stella looks down at her spaghetti and then back up at me.
“Maybe I should tell this story another time,” I said.
“That’d be a good idea.”
“How about earning some extra money?”
“Oh man, not that survey stuff again.”
“I’m telling you: It works. Besides, you’re a sitting duck. And it’s free to sign up for 5in5Now. Just unsubscribe if you’re not convinced.”
We spent the next thirty minutes signing up for a new accounts, filling out a few online surveys, going through some online programs (she chose the $500 Sam’s Club gift card as a reward).
“Okay, James Stewart,” I said. “I have to run.”
“Thanks,” Stella called out as I closed the door behind me.
When we attended the charity games, Stella felt hopeless that she couldn’t help her team on the court. But with the extra time she had, Stella did a lot of promoting for the charity games (and some online surveys on 5in5Now, too). The stands were packed and the donations tripled.
“How’d you get so many people to come?” I asked.
“We’re having a raffle,” She said, holding up an envelope. “Winner gets a $500 Sam’s club gift card.”