Groupon Schmoupon – or – I’ve Carried Many Watermelons

I’ve had my share of “Duh” moments that led to nausea. These are moments my friends and I refer to as “I carried a watermelon” episodes–anything we do or say that is less than a shining example of our actual brilliance.

Number 1 on my list is the time I went to a friend’s wedding in which my husband was an usher, and during the rehearsal dinner I walked up to the head table to receive the wedding-party gift I thought was meant for me when I heard the name “Jessie” announced by the groom–even though I decidedly was not in the wedding party and another usher named Jesse decidedly was. (That Jesse was in the bathroom when his name was called; otherwise, maybe I would have been stopped halfway through my long walk to the head table and been saved from embarrassment. As it was, I reached the head table and had to be told, “No, not you” by the groom as a hundred people looked on. I mean, what wedding couple don’t give the wife of an usher a gift?)

I felt pretty sick after that episode. But there is a close second.

Even though I decided to stay home for a few years when my first child was born, I’ve always looked for odd jobs to keep my mind sharp. (As we’ve seen, this is vitally necessary.) For awhile in 2008, I vacillated between starting my own little cafe and going back into public policy or public relations part-time. To the latter’s end, my friend’s husband told me, “I know someone you should know. He just started an online company called The Point.”  The point of The Point was to organize groups of people to make change–an online version of the field work campaign organizers had been doing for decades.

Friend’s Husband told me the founder of The Point was interested in getting in touch with me because of my campaign background. Friend’s Husband gave me this person’s email address: AndrewMason@….

Yes, that Andrew Mason. Out of The Point grew a little company that didn’t stay little for long: Groupon.

Needless to say, I didn’t act on Friend’s Husband’s suggestion. At the time, I was more interested in starting a cafe. (You can all visit that cafe in my head.) I hadn’t even emailed the guy to say, “No, thanks. Good luck on your little venture.” Usually, I’m not so rude. But when I decide to screw up, I really go for it.

When I first learned about the opportunity that I had passed up, I could not eat the fried dough covered with powdered sugar, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream that was in front of me at that moment. I could only think, “Carrying. So. Many. Watermelons.”

I remind myself, though, that it was a potential opportunity. And, at the time, I really didn’t want to go back into public relations. So, yes, I could have possibly had a job that I possibly would not have liked but that possibly would have made me very rich.

But–and this is actually a big but–had that all happened, I would not be writing a novel, which is what I’ve wanted to do since I was five. It is my Life Goal. And I’m doing it.

Is that worth millions? Maybe not in dollars. But it’s definitely worth something.