Free Tickets

I used to watch the TV program Cheers. More than once Sam or Norm or Cliff came up with a pair of free tickets to a Celtics game or a Bruins game or a Red Sox game. The only question was who would attend with this lucky dog and who would be left out? Everyone in the bar except Diane wanted in on the good fortune.

My experience with free tickets has been more like the time a fellow dropped by my house with five pounds of homemade sausage. He wanted to give it to me. He’d put way too much salt in it, and from his point of view, it was inedible. But if I could determine how to get the salt out, I’d have some fine eating.

Obviously, with less-than-desirable free tickets it’s not determining how to get the salt out. It’s determining how to get me out. Out of accepting them. My fear is that if I don’t accept the tickets, the donor will kill me. Like in the cult movie, The Ticket Scalper. (Who saw that one coming, huh?) Or that I’ll be thought of as ungrateful, which I grew up thinking is even worse.

Some of the free tickets offers I get really aren’t that great. Like for The Antique Road Show.  No, not that one. This was an exhibition of  antique road – patches of dirt, gravel, asphalt, concrete, and the star of the show, macadam. Fortunately, the exhibit closed before I could get there. Got caught in a traffic jam. .

My question with free ticket offers is oftentimes, “Who do these people think I am? Their profile of me isn’t even close. Why would they think I am interested in watching the original cast of American Gladiators sing show tunes?  Or watch Herbie, the Volkswagen that uses gasoline with a steroid additive, compete against monster trucks?Or go hear the Goo Goo Dolls perform on the same stage as Lady Gaga, the Goo-Goo-Ga-Ga-Palooza?

Then there are the football fans who are going to be out of town this Saturday and want me to use their season tickets to watch New Mexico State play Alabama. What I really don’t like about using people’s season tickets is that they say, “And you’ll love meeting the Tordsens! They’ll be sitting right behind you. We told them you’d be filling in for us, rooting the team on.” These are the same Tordsens who will notice if I show up or not.

There was the one time I was actually happy to have received free tickets. A neighbor and his wife had bought movie tickets only to be called out of town because of a family illness. “I hate that we can’t go,” he says. “This is a gonna be a great movie!”

“What’s it about?” I ask.

“It’s a comedy. Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman. The same lady who directed Tootsie is the director.”

“Sounds great. Ishtar, I’ve heard about it.”

Be it sports, movies, plays, concerts, exhibitions, etc., the reality is that people don’t want their tickets to go to waste. I understand that. They paid good money for them. What I so often don’t understand is why they think I’d be interested.  Truth be known, I might even pay good money not to go.

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