Through one of the wildly complicated telephone promotions now being phased out, I was entitled to cash in my AT&T points before the program disappeared. Rather than just throw away this opportunity, brought to my attention by a mailed brochure and reply envelope, I must have selected a $10 gift certificate at The Gap. I assume so, because I just received said certificate, along with a cover note from Denise Janiec-Domino, the Program Director for AT&T Rewards.

This is a woman who believes in what she’s doing. “Congratulations!” her letter begins. In a world of humdrum commercialism, here we had something to celebrate! Enclosed, she said, was my “invaluable” reward.

Now, I don’t mean to get all Bill Safire on you, but what is there about a $10 gift certificate that makes it invaluable? Is it not one of the relatively few things in life that can be more or less precisely valued? Is it not worth, at most, ten bucks? Would Ms. Denise Janiec-Domino consider trading me, say, a week’s pay, for my invaluable reward?

I think not.

Come on, guys! Relatively soon, thanks to the Internet, everyone in the world may be speaking English. Let us not destroy the language before they get here.


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