Monday, February 25, 2013

Start the countdown: A year from today, I stand to take possession of a "complimentary sweet treat"


I finally got up the courage to check to see whether Jahn's still exists. Not in Brooklyn, it doesn't, or most anyplace else in New York and Florida where this fondly remembered ice-cream parlor once existed. But apparently there's still this one outlet in Jackson Heights, Queens.

by Ken

How can you write off as a hellish waste of 24 hours a day that draws to a close with arrangements very likely in place whereby next year on this date I stand to take possession of a "complimentary sweet treat" at a mediocre chain restaurant?

Somehow the prospects had seemed a little brighter when I got back to my desk late this afternoon from a physical therapy session for which I had somehow managed to forget to bring along my gym shorts and T-shirt. I mean, how many things did I have to remember? There was (1) the check for the co-pay and (2) the gym shorts and T-shirt. I remembered the check, which I guess was the more important thing. It was only when I got to the subway platform to wit for my train that I congratulated myself for traveling so light -- nothing be carried except last week's New Yorker -- only to realize that I was traveling a little too light.

A good save?

It was a pretty good save, though, I thought. Because I had left the office in plenty of time, I would still have a few minutes to scout the territory at the other end of the subway trip to see if I could find someplace where I might buy a pair of shorts of some sort. And sure enough, right there in my destination building, there was a place with big sale signs in the window, and I even managed to find a pair of shorts I was confident would fit even without trying them on, and they were on sale. True, they're a fairly horrible black plaid, but on the other hand, that means they can be worn most anywhere and be more or less equally silly and inappropriate.

My therapist was impressed that I was able to find a pair of shorts at this time of year. Okay.

So I got back to my desk, after thinking I would treat myself, in view of the day, to a frosted black-and-white at the chain baked-goods store down the block from my office, right by the subway exit, which sells frosted black-and-whites -- if you get there in time. Okay, so I didn't get there in time. They did, however, have one "standard" black-and-white left. Meaning a saving of 50 cents. Or, to look at it another way, if I thought of going the fancy-cupcake route, I saved a dollar or more, and a minimum of 150 calories!

I made myself some coffee to go with my standard black-and-white and glanced at my e-mailbox. There were still maybe three unopened e-mails with birthday greetings from organizations that have online access to my DOB, including one all the way from France. That was from the FNAC empire. Once upon a time, oh some 40-plus years ago, when FNAC was just a department-store chain, I bought a plastic slipcase there for $2 which I used for years and years until it finally cracked apart. Talk about getting your money's worth! More recently, I bought a whole set of Mahler CDs from FNAC for the sake of a single CD the set contained, to replace the copy I had mangled from obsessive carrying around. Ever since, I've been part of the valued FNAC e-family. AOL thinks they're spam, but we know better.)

Free food -- all right!

For some reason I decided to open the AARP birthday greeting. Miraculously, it turned out to contain, not some mindless greeting, but a whole list of links for practical applications relative to the day, including one that grabbed my attention: "Get some free eats," a treatise on cadging free birthday eats!

Once upon a time, when I was in high school, we often went to Jahn's in Brooklyn, that splendid ice-cream parlor, when one or another family member had a birthday, which entitled him/her to a free sundae! As I think back, though, I don't think there was much family clamor of the "Oh boy, ice cream!" nature in late February.

According to the AARP article, it's a cinch to score free desserts on your birthday. What the author had to offer was links for free entrées and free burgers. So one by one I checked the links, and found none with an NYC location, or at least one that participated in such folderol. And then I hit the link for the aforementioned mediocre chain restaurant, which according to the article was supposed to be hittable for a free burger. They actually listed a local outlet -- in the Times Square area, where else? -- and while the birthday bonus wasn't a burger but the aforementioned "complimentary sweet treat," and even though I didn't want a complimentary sweet, I wanted the damned burger, I went ahead and registered. The confirmation e-mail came through quickly enough, and I clicked through to complete my registration, and amazingly enough, the "welcome" e-mail, which was promised for within a day, came too. And among the wondrous benefits it promised was this:

Apparently it was too late, or too soon, to receive that promised "birthday message good for a complimentary sweet treat" for this year. That's why I'm thinking I'm golden for 2014.

Many happy . . . don't say it!!!

Then when the workday was over, I thought it would be worth sticking at my desk to knock out my daily blogpost, even though working in our blog software on that computer takes anywhere from two to five times as long. However, that would spring me from the office a free man -- and in a position to deal with some of the really important stuff that had to be dealt with at home. Forging ahead, though, I had the post all done except for a link I needed from a post Howie wrote a few days ago, and upon searching for it, I discovered that Howie had already written a post that overlapped much of what I'd just written. Of course I should have checked first. As I've mentioned, it's amazing Howie and I respond the same way to the same developments. I could still salvage some of what I'd written, but I decided I'd do that for tomorrow.

Somehow when the dust settled I had lingered in the office an unaccounted-for extra hour, and the trip home took close to another unaccounted-for hour -- well, a good part of the time was accounted for by my somehow overshooting my home subway stop. Not by one or two stops, as I sometimes do, but by (I think) five stops. At which point I was so close to the end of the line that the sensible thing seemed to be to just continue the extra couple of stops and take the next train heading back -- on the same platform, no steps to climb. Only as my train inched its way into the station, the next downtown train -- on the other side of the platform, closed its doors and headed south. When we finally made it all the way into the station announced that the next downtown train, which would now be the very one I was sitting in, would be leaving in nine minutes.

The next person who says "Many happy returns" will get . . . um, a rude response.

MORNING-AFTER UPDATE: Since I wasn't trawling for "Happy Birthday"s, I'm relieved that there weren't any. It seems somehow fitting, though, that the one comment added to this post was spam.


At 9:49 AM, Anonymous mediabob said...

You see, not a total waste of 24 hours. I can't believe you give out a perfectly good email address to so many perps. Oh, yeah, happy birthday, Ken. Belatedly.

At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Bil said...

Second that MediaBob.

Happy Birthday Ken, and your local pancake/bfast place often will welcome you on your bday with a free entre that I look forward to.

I was thinking about a happy return on those just in time shorts but I won't go there...

At 8:07 AM, Blogger KenInNY said...

Thanks, guys!



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