Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I like to think that I am not an impulse buyer, that I have control over my desires and am able to hover over the absurdities that draw countless into purchasing useless items…but alas, I am a rube. I cannot tell you how many nail clippers and eyeglass repair kits I have purchased over the years, dangling before my eyes while waiting to pay for my loaf of bread, carton of milk and stick of butter; they beckon, saying, "Be prudent! We are cheap and oh so useful!" And that lovely salesgirl from the craft brewery giving samples by the cheese aisle…she needs the commission, for goodness sake. A twelve-pack is the least I could do. Oh what the heck, my brother could use one, too.

My wife refuses to send me to the store for anything. She knows me too well. "Get a gallon of milk"; I return with prosciutto and asiago cheese. "Get a loaf of bread for sandwiches"; my bags are stuffed with mussels, limes and Corona. "Get two bottles of wine for our guests tonight"; six Cabernets, a white burgundy or two, a pair of Chardonnays, a Merlot and Riesling later and I'm loading the trunk like a sommelier on speed. Not to mention a Dewar's White Label for good measure.

At my place of employment the fund-raising arm of the hospital (the "foundation") holds fairly frequent "sales" whereby loyal employees such as yours truly may purchase items and have the cost deducted over two or three pay periods directly from one's paycheck. In other words, YOU CAN PICK OUT ALL KINDS OF COOL STUFF, LEAVE THAT DAY WITH A HUGE BAG OF GOODS, AND NOT PAY A CENT UP FRONT. This is, to the impulse buyer, like shooting the winning goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs while Aerosmith sings a song about how awesome you are.

At the most recent sale I bought a four-CD set of Elvis Presley's greatest hits, a rain gage for the garden, a book on how to build stuff from lumber, and a hummingbird feeder. I have thus far listened to two CD's, the rain gage has about an inch of water sitting in it, and the book has been read and now sits in the reference library (the cabinet across from the toilet). The hummingbird feeder is another story.

It’s a gaudy affair…with a stained-glass hummingbird hovering over a fluted red reservoir of sugar water with crystals hanging to the left and the right. It isn't something I would normally buy, but I went to that blasted annual "Garden Walk" in Buffalo and have been buying garden kitsch ever since. It hangs over the front porch, and I have not seen a hummingbird within miles. Quite frankly, I have never actually seen a hummingbird; I take everyone's word that they actually exist though I can't positively confirm it…sort of like the lunar landing. So it hangs, gently swaying in the breeze, attracting nothing.

I bought a bird feeder about two weeks ago and hung it on a bracket on the garage. The children and missus stood vigil for hours, waiting for a bird to land on it. Nothing came. Just when it seemed a flop, the very next morning every bird within ten square miles was crapping on the lawn furniture while throwing the seed all over the driveway. Success. No so much with the hummingbirds. It has been nearly a month. The instructions said to change the sugar water weekly; I did so once and felt like an ass, so I haven't in three weeks.

That ridiculous hummingbird feeder irritates me.  I want results.  I want a hummingbird...but to quote Yukon Cornelius, "nuthin".