by Barbara Olson

I struggle with addictions. When I was 5 and started kindergarten, I was addicted to glue. I glued sparkles to the cut-out hearts. I glued cotton clouds beside the yellow sun on blue construction paper. I glued gold stars to all my spelling tests, whether I deserved them or not. And sometimes I ate the glue.

My glue habit started with just a taste every other week or so, but quickly turned into a daily binge. Fortunately, my kindergarten teacher caught me one day – I had overdosed a bit, and my lips were stuck together. She and my folks quickly staged an intervention and only allowed me to use scotch tape. I have been glue-free ever since.

In high school I became addicted to cheerleading. “Go. Fight. Win.” was constantly on my lips with whispered enthusiasm – for football, basketball and sometimes food fights. I made hair clips that looked like miniature pom-poms and earned money to buy a silver megaphone bracelet. My skirts were all pleated and I started dating the football captain. I was in deep.

One night my mother caught me secretly practicing my splits before I did homework. My father heard me chanting “Push ‘em back, push ‘em back, waaay back” in the shower. Concerned with the all-consuming nature of my enthusiasm, my parents called a quick family meeting and then called the gym teacher. I was excused from the squad.

I spent the summer in Palm Springs at my Aunt Betty’s house. When I returned, I attended weekly Science Club meetings to keep me on the straight and narrow and away from cheers.

My addiction-string became serious during college. I studied in France for a semester and started smoking cigarettes with the rest of the country. My motive was pure. You see, to be polite in France you either smoked their cigarettes, made love to the men, or drank their wine – which resulted in sleeping with men anyhow. I chose cigarettes.

When I returned back to the states, I continued the habit. I thought it made me seem sophisticated. Like eating continental style (fork in left hand, upside-down/knife in right hand) or singing poignant torch songs in smoky cabaret clubs. Unfortunately, smoking was the hardest habit to break.

Finally, my friend, Penny, forced me to quit the filthy habit. She said that when I turned 30 years old the next year, I could either smoke or take the birth control pill but not both. I chose sex, quit cigarettes and I haven’t looked back.

Regrettably, at my age, I am still addiction-prone. This time it is with QVC. It all started when I came home late one evening and turned on the TV to discover that there was an incredible sale on “Breezy Bras.” Not only were they true-to-size but they breathed comfortably with a wicking material and were engineered using the construction secrets of the Golden Gate Bridge. In a panic, I picked up the phone and ordered two: one black, one white. My QVC addiction began.

Through the years, I have been able to curb my addiction. For starters, I just avoid the QVC channel, and I have been fairly successful. Occasionally I accidentally hit the channel while cruising with the remote – but I have weaned myself away from the clothing and jewelry spots.

To date I have been able to maintain moderation – as opposed to total abstinence – and my last purchase was absolutely justifiable. It is a wonderful hair product called “O-Jo-Biana Shampoo and Conditioner,” created deep in the rain forests of South America. It not only has a guarantee, it has a promise, they say. I bought a package for myself and then quickly called back and ordered one for my mom. Total: $262 plus shipping.

Feeling so proud and smug that I had found such a stellar and useful product, I have been tuning into QVC just a wee bit each day now. It can be overwhelming – glazed rod-iron shoe trees, re-chargeable batteries that attach to night-lights, or quick-chill Jello molds shaped for all the major Christian holidays. Fortunately, I have been able to abstain from those attractive products. Obviously, I can handle this addiction.

Now, my only worry is finding just the right someone who would love owning the Marie Osmond Doll I ordered yesterday.

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