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02/11/2003

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Many of you may remember the golf trip to England that I won. The trip that I never actually ended up writing anything about except this one bout of idiocy. Well we got the 1099 form from ABC Network Promotions recently. Valuing the trip at just over $14,000. "Whoa", I hear you say. Shhh. Quiet, I'm telling a story. "But", you complain, "don't shush me, that sounds like a great trip!" Shut up. It WAS a great trip. But it wern't worth no 14 G. Allow me to explain. No really, allow me. You've been running your mouth ever since you got to this entry.

When my pregnant wife and I checked in to the British Airways counter at Newark Airport one March evening ready to enjoy a luxurious trip across the "pond" in our Club Class seats, we were informed that we were entered on the Standby list and would be notified if we would be placed on the flight. Swa? Gluh? No, no, you don't understand. We're contest winners. A contest run by your company British Airways and ABC Television. And we were told that no, we didn't understand. Turns out that contest winners are given "complimentary" tickets. The same tickets that staff or guests of British Airways are allowed to purchase at hugely deep discounted prices whenever they want to fly. Yeah. I'll give you a minute to recover from that one.

To make a long story short, we were put on every flight we were scheduled to be on. Thanks, in large part to my incredibly blatant and obvious displays of affection in front of the female ticket personnel that illustrated that my wife was pregnant. Shameless, but effective. I don't know if they thought I was sweet being all loving to my pregnant wife or if they were being sympathetic to the pregnant woman whose husband takes her to England. In March. To play golf. But, whichever the reason (and I know which reason I choose to believe) it worked. By the way, we didn't plan it this way, but the events of September 11th made us think twice about flying on an international for a while. The trip was only good for one year. And the baby was coming. March was the best we could do.

To resume. The biggest issue, other than the uncertainty, was when we flew home we had a connecting flight from Manchester to London and then back to Newark. And we weren't allowed to check our luggage through. And of course, the domestic flights and the international flights were on opposite ends of the airport. We had a verytinywindow of time to drag ourselves and our luggage (including my golf clubs) across the airport to wait out another standby list. And did I mention my wife was pregnant?

To try to make a long story short again, the last page of the airline tickets serve as a receipt. The value for each of our tickets was $196.59. That's U.S. dollars. Less than $200.00 each to fly Club class from Newark to London to Manchester roundtrip. The problem is that ABC valued the airfare at $11,000. Boy, it's a good thing I'm a packrat and keep my receipts, huh? I'll let you know how this turns out.