I felt honored for a total of five minutes this week.

That fact probably needs a little explaining.

One day this week [it really doesn't mattr which one], I received an unusual envelope. It came from a civil-rights watchdog organization, which I've respected for most of my life. It invited me to "represent New York" in it's annual 50-state survey on civil rights.

Of course, the request flattered me. I've never been asked to remember New York beforte in any similar study. I wondered if I needed a sash, like Miss New York State wears in the big pageant [of course, I don't own a sash. But I know a former Miss New York State in Maryalice Demler. I figured she'd loan me hers, if I really needed it].

Then my world was shattered [or, at least, I was very disappointed]. I read the letter that came with the survey. It encourageed me to fill out the survey ASAP. But then it said I should add "a generous donation" to the civil-rights grouyp in question. What a disappointment [or, as the French say: Quel disappointment!!]!!

I mean, the letter said I should fill out the survey, whether I was donating or not. But the whole thing started to look like one of those magazine subscription contests. You know, the ones that offer $5,000 every 20 minutes for life. Sure, the instructions always say, "No purchase necessary." But does anybody ever really believe that? If you can't afford a subscription, you useually don't even bother sending in your form. Right?

Well, my chagrin is measurable [meaning I was kinda disappointed about the whole thing]. Then again, what were the odds that I could wear Maryalice's sash?