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By George Cunningham

Colorama commercialI want to surprise my wife with a little gift every now and then. But there is a gang of evil-doers out there with nothing better to do than thwart my efforts to be a good husband. Those evil-doers go by the names of American Express aka AMEX, MasterCard aka MC, and Visa, aka Visa.

Here’s an example. My wife has a birthday coming up in a few weeks and I thought I would surprise her with a funny gift. This is not a big deal – just a little gag to make her laugh. How much is my wife’s surprise and laughter worth? Let’s say 20 bucks.

So, I go on line and I order her a Colorama coloring book. You may have seen the ads for the Colorama book on TV. This is the commercial where the woman enthusiastically declares, “I look forward to jumping into bed with my Colorama book, and melting away the stress of the day,” then it shows a picture of her in bed, coloring her heart out. It’s so sad, that it’s funny. And every time we see the ad, we laugh at that poor woman, who after all is just an actress.

So I figure when the Colorama book arrives, I will wrap it up real pretty and give it to my wife and wait for the howls of laughter to begin. Unfortunately, that’s never going to happen, because my wife is a woman of the 21st Century. Within hours after I order her gift, American Express sends her an email saying our joint card was used to order a Colorama adult coloring book, and is that OK with her. American Express claims they do this for security reasons, but I suspect they just have a grudge against me and want to break up my marriage. Why would they harbor such animosity against me? You’ll have to ask them.

All I know is that instead of howls of birthday laughter, what I got for my money is my wife, sitting at her computer, saying why in hell did you order one of those stupid Colorama books? Well, I explained, and of course, she forgave me … no thanks to American Express.

I liked the old days better. Back when if you used your credit card foolishly, you just threw away that little receipt and nobody was the wiser until the monthly bill arrived in the mail. As they say, “that ship has sailed” and here I am standing on the dock with a stupid look on my face and a coloring book in my hand.

Thanks a lot, American Express. I hope you’re happy now.