I googled “fifty” today, mostly because I’m avoiding writing next Sunday’s sermon which is currently a 9,000-word hot mess. I’m pretending that if get my writing muscles moving by blogging about a random word prompt, I will move seamlessly back to my sermon.

My “research” turned up many sites that teach us how not to look, dress, feel, act, smell, or have sex like we are fifty or (gasp!) older. But mostly the word “fifty” just brings up the continuing obsession we have with that banal bit of sticky fluff, Fifty Shades of Grey.

I suppose that the internet is to blame. Everyone is trying to increase their PPC (pay per click) and SEO (search engine optimization) numbers — they figure that “fifty shades of anything” will bring traffic, and traffic brings sales, fame, or both.

We’ll see what kind of response I get to this blog post. Perhaps the stats will shatter everything I’ve ever written on love, world peace, racial reconciliation, grief and healing, environmental apocalypse, and similar frivolous topics.

Several of Fifty Ways to Waste Your Time & Money

  • There are the predictable spin-off books and movies, Fifty Shades of Freed, Fifty Shades Darker and so on, and of course — God save us — multiple fan fiction sites honoring the original.
  • If I weren’t a vegetarian, I’d certainly spring for the Fifty Shades of Chicken cookbook. Maybe it’s got photos of naked chicken wings and breasts in risqué poses.
  • Here’s something almost as appetizing as grey chicken: you can purchase a Mixed Pack of red and white Fifty Shades of Grey wine. Eeeew.
  • How about the Fifty Shades of Surf detergent — their “naughtiest fragrance yet?” Because that’s what I’m after when I do laundry.
  • Or the Fifty Shades of Grey teddy bear, which comes dressed in a suit and holding handcuffs and a mask? In case you are looking to draw in girls younger than the twelve-year-olds already hooked on the original sticky fluff.
  • There’s the Walmart FSOG gift basket for a mere seventy bucks — of course it has handcuffs (chrome-plated with double locks) and an eye mask, but also a theater-sized box of “Untamed Love” Hot Tamales and a large bag of Twizzlers Strawberry Twists. Plus tea and pretzels because they had to fill up the basket.
  • My personal favorite, which I want for Christmas, is a coffee table book featuring portrait-quality photographs of fifty psychotherapists in their offices. Snore.
  • For those of you with newborns, you might be interested in this one (not):

    OMG

    Fifty Shades of Tasteless

Oh wait, my fifty-second attention span has expired. I just came across this site of fifty-word fiction stories. I should really try to get published there. And then I’m going to get serious about that sermon.

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