We love free stuff!

by | February 23, 2005 12:00 am

Jacquie Brasher

We get free stuff here all the time. It’s not always “good” free stuff, though. There are the intangibles—free advice, free criticism, free insults, free…well, you get the picture. However, the tangibles are more interesting. Like most people, we love to get free stuff in the mail. And at a newspaper, the free stuff can be quite prolific.

A few months ago I received a box of free chewing gum. Not just any ordinary gum, mind you. This was made out of green tea. Sugar-free green tea gum claims this: “Now you can get all the great antioxidant benefits of Green Tea just by chewing this delicious spearmint-flavored gum. Each piece equals 2 cups of Green Tea antioxidants. Recent research studies show that Green Tea, known as ‘Nature’s Super Antioxidant,’ fights free radicals which damage cells. These are found in food, smoking, pollution, sunlight—even our own bodies. Green Tea has also been recommended as part of a weight loss plan.” The company that sent me the gum wanted me to write a review, which I didn’t do. However, I did enjoy the gum. Later, when the representative called to ask me if I had received the gum, I told her that indeed I had and it was delicious. I then had to tell her that I don’t do reviews, but that I appreciated the gum and had enjoyed it. She seemed satisfied with my feedback.

The gum claims to be chock-full of antioxidants, which is, in the parlance of Martha Stewart, “a good thing.” Antioxidants are “cell protectors” and are found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables. So, basically, antioxidants are a fancy way to remind you to eat your colorful fruits and veggies. Some weeks ago, I acquired a bottle of Thai-Go mangosteen juice, which is high in antioxidants. The juice also includes wolfberry, sea buckthorn, red grapes, grape seeds, grape skins, raspberries, blueberries, apple extract and, hello, green tea. An ounce a day of this potent juice is supposed to keep all the baddies away. It also tasted wonderful. Alan and I subsequently bought two more bottles and are ready to get more. If my immune system isn’t any stronger, at least my insides are partying with rainbows.

Speaking of colors, Wally gets a lot of free books in the mail, some of which he passes on to me. One book we got recently was “Showing Our True Colors,” a book that attempts to determine what colors mean in your life. The book jacket claims that “by determining your own True Colors spectrum you can validate yourself for being who you are.” Hmmm. Since I’m not someone who worries about “validation” (if I were, I’d be in a different profession), I doubt that this color thing can tell me who I am. Still, I was drawn to Green, which was described as Conceptual. Key words and phrases about this color that jumped out at me were “analytical,” “global,” “natural non-conformist” and “in childhood, appeared older than her years.” Other colors in the book were Blue (Compassionate), Orange (Spontaneous) and Gold (Responsible). Like most personality studies, we could probably identify ourselves in each color and most of us are blends. But only Kermit the Frog and I know, it’s not so easy being green.

Last week, Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites sent me a free media pass for a year. Included in the media packet was a brochure of all the marvelous state parks in Georgia. In our younger years, Alan and I frequently camped at state parks. I like them because they have hot showers and bathrooms. Back then, tents were fine. These days, my comfort zone tells me that if I ever decide on camping again, the operative word is “cabin.” Other gifts we receive in the mail which we classify in the Excellent category are chocolate, candy, cookies, and did I mention chocolate?

Even Dharma the Cat gets free stuff. A couple of years ago, we received some free cat food in the mail, which, of course, proves that my cat is on some mailing list somewhere. I knew I should never have taught him to type.—Jacquie Brasher is senior staff writer for The Forest-Blade. She can be reached at jacquie@forest-blade.com

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