The man who would become my stepfather moved in with my mom and I when I was around eight years old. This was important because when he moved in We. Got. Cable.
You guys. I literally remember nothing else about that time except for how excited I was to get cable. We now had Nickelodeon. Nickelodeon! I would now be able to talk fluently about all the cool shows with all the cool kids. I would no longer have to go to the sleepovers of girls I didn’t like just so I could watch SNICK.
Nickelodeon changed my life. I know, I know, that sounds like an overstatement, but it’s not. You see, Nickelodeon had a lot of sweepstakes and, as a kid, I was *in* to sweepstakes. My poor mother got a bevy of unwanted junk mail because she allowed me to fill out all the Publisher’s Clearing House letters we got. I also did this for my grandparents. (Side note: sometimes when people say that someone has an “old soul” they mean that person is wise. In my case, it means that I have always had the habits of a ninety-year-old white woman. I love prunes, I know the exact order of daytime court television, and I love to hear the sweet nothings of the good people at Publisher’s Clearing House.) Nickelodeon had sweepstakes for me and, unlike those crap cereal box sweepstakes, no purchase was necessary to enter.
My mom soon discovered that she could keep me occupied for hours with a 100 pack of 3×5 cards and $20 worth of postcard stamps. When the homework was done I would turn on Nickelodeon (obvi) and fill out postcard entries to the latest sweepstakes while watching my favorite Nick shows. I had a rudimentary understanding of statistics and knew I could increase my odds of winning by sending in multiple entries so that’s what I did.
How long did I do this thing?
Until I won.
No, I’m not kidding you. I was one of 1000 first-prize winners for a Nickelodeon sweepstakes. I don’t remember exactly which one because they seemed to have a lot but I think it had something to do with summer because the toys I got (in a box that was the size of a generously proportioned dog house) included a supersoaker.
In case you haven’t heard, the Women’s March on Washington has organized 10 actions you can take in the first 100 days of the Fanta Menace’s administration. (Check it out here!) The first action is to send postcards to your senators about what matters most to you.
A 100 pack of 3×5 cards is less than $.50 and postcard stamps are $.34 each. You can spend $35 and fill out 100 postcards to flood the mailboxes of your senators and representatives. Take a cue from younger me and fill them out while you watch your favorite show. Alternately, put together a postcard party. Have everyone bring $5 worth of stamps and a snack and fill them out together. Pro Tip: if you do actually mail a significant amount of postcards be kind to your mail carrier and rubber band them together.
Because, as amazing as winning that Nickelodeon sweepstakes was, keeping our democracy is 1000 times better.