An Offer You Can't Refuse


So I was slammin’ the web pretty hard the other day, cruisin’ some giga-surfs, browsin’ some mad-layouts, or “grooming the hypertext pony”, if you know what I mean. I was doing all that good stuff, when this thing appeared on my monitor.

This amazing offer sent violent tremors of delight down my spinal column. Such was my enthusiasm, I momentarily forgot to wonder why Firefox, a theoretically pop-up blocking browser, failed to block this one. But there was no time to investigate that. Haunting visions of Olive Garden’s legendary bread sticks were gamboling about my brain, paralyzing me with their garlicky aroma, undressing me in preparation of the imminent gang rape. Luckily I halted that fantasy before it got ugly, but now it was time to address this “offer”.

There are two irresistible things about the offer. One, of course, is the anticipation of cramming vast helpings of already bargain-priced pasta for the dime-savvy family into my face for FREE. The other is the irresistible opportunity to voice my undoubtedly strong opinion on this controversial president to some faceless spam conglomerate. This was very clever of them, because whenever I see an outlet for my strong opinions, no amount of personal willpower will prevent me from broadcasting my viewpoint. It doesn’t matter if doing so will seem inappropriate, inconvenient, or even personally endangering, if there is a toilet somewhere for my opinion, I am first in line to flush it down. If I were walking through the woods and there were two bear traps on the ground, labeled “Is Bush a good leader? YES: Smash face into left trap, NO: smash face into right” the rusted steel and my mug would be wed without a moment’s pause.

And I especially appreciate this format of opinion solicitation for its simplicity. I no longer need to wage the uphill battle against my brain to come up with insightful justification for my opinion. I don’t even need to say anything! I just need to click a button, and as if offering a spammer my strong opinion weren’t gratification enough in itself, my reward is all the soup, salad and bread sticks my digestive system is coerced to handle!

But as the mouse cursor hovers over my opinion of choice, before I click, something unsettling occurs to me. Is there a right or wrong answer? I am properly absorbed in my own political beliefs, and treat them as part of my identity as any good American should. They aren’t very well thought through, and comprise a bizarre cocktail of ill-founded self righteousness, irrational biases, and flagrant misinformation, but damn it, they’re MY half-assed opinions. As such, I feel a certain ethical contraction in contemplating “throwing” this poll in favor of free pasta. And even though I’m an honorable man, and by an ass-backwards ideology I think a lot of colonial-looking guys in wigs were skewered by imperial bayonets for my right to stubbornly believe in retarded things, it would sure be a damned shame to let that Olive Garden coupon go to waste. I don’t know who is running this “poll”, maybe someone from the “Left Coast”, who daily pores through the poll logs while sitting in his Jacuzzi, getting a tan, wrapped in seaweed while hugging a tree and saving a penguin or something, stumbles on my “YES” vote and says “Sorry buddy, you just cost yourself some steaming, succulent chicken alfredo.” Or maybe it’s Karl Rove himself evaluating the answers. He sees my “NO”, hits the delete key and says “Pasta la vista, dipshit!” and chuckles to himself over his wordplay, while stuffing some shrimp primavera into his corpulent face to sort of rub it in.

In the end, I have no way of knowing, and this is as good a reason as any not to compromise my morals. I go with my gut answer, and sure enough, it worked! The free* Olive Garden meals were mine!

*with participation in their program and completion of one sponsored offer.

Feeling high on this victory, I went through the various protocols that were asked of me to acquire the coupon, and after installing a variety of exotic, system crippling spyware, and signing up for numerous premium accounts for porn sites, I can expect my coupon in the mail in six to eight weeks.

But all this talk of Olive Garden really got me in the mood for it now, so I just went out and bought my own damn dinner. It was pretty heavy, and I think I filled up on breadsticks too fast. I probably won’t be in the mood for Olive Garden for another year or so.