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You'd think a job such as the one I have would hold a lot of perks.
Such thinking would be faulty.
Now, don't get me wrong. I still consider being the sports guy at the Bedford Bulletin to be among the greatest of jobs in the world.
Well, at least it's among the greatest jobs in this geographic area.
For which I am qualified.
Or, at least for which they're willing to make exceptions.
When I took this job, eight years ago, I assumed I'd get all kinds of side benefits.
That is, those perks beyond getting to see plenty of sports up close and personal.
Here is the total of free swag I've accumulated over my time in this job:
-One Jefferson Forest wrestling tee-shirt.
-One Staunton River girls basketball tee-shirt.
-One Chik-fil-A sandwich.
That was the extent of my paltry haul until recently. That's when I received an email from Laura Baumgartner. She's a Public Relations/Marketing type who is working with a product called Mosquitno.
She asked whether I would be interested in trying out her product. As the name implies, Mosquitno claims to keep mosquitos away from those that wear it.
I wrote back to Laura and asked whether it also worked on gnats, a huge problem for me when playing the outfield in softball.
Like any good marketeer, Laura told me that it worked well on gnats.
Now, I have a pretty good idea of how business works, having spent many working years in a big business setting before taking a job in a small newspaper setting.
Nothing is impossible for folks in marketing. Nothing!
-"Will this Smartphone make my look younger?"
-"If I sign up for this credit card, will I lose weight?
"Will your brand of lima beans make me irresistible to members of the opposite sex?"
When in business, I worked in operations. We always seemed to be scrambling to make our products match what our marketing folks were telling the public such products could do.
To this day, I'm still not fond of marketing departments.
So, when I asked Laura whether her product worked on gnats I knew a) she'd tell me it does and b) it doesn't.
Now, the only thing I like less than marketing departments are those gnats which dive-bomb me in left field.
Look, you're already sweaty. You're kicking yourself for hitting into a double play during your team's half of the inning. You haven't had a ball hit to you all day.
And you've got gnats that think your eyeball would be a great place to do whatever it is that gnats do (other then die in there, causing gnat-sting in your eyeball).
Well, Laura shipped me some Mosquitno product. Two wristbands and some stickers.
The only problem I could see is that she sent me child-sized wrist-bands.
And, by child-sized, I mean they wouldn't fit around two of my fingers, let alone my adult-sized wrists.
I checked with the wife (who spends an inordinate amount of time in yard work), but the bands were too small for even her slender wrists.
They'd have fit Razor the Dog's wrists, but he already uses Frontline to keep himself insect-free.
Fortunately, Laura also sent me some Mosquitno stickers.
About the size of a quarter, these stickers contain the same protective elixir found in those dinky bands.
So, one morning, I affixed one of the stickers to the underside of my ballcap.
To my amazement, it worked: The gnats left me alone in left field.
I used another one the next week and was relatively unmolested by gnats that day, as well.
Now, I'm not in a position to endorse this product, though I will say that, of the free stuff I've gotten on this job, it ranks ahead of the chicken sandwich.
But it doesn't rate quite as high as do those two tee-shirts of mine.