Have you ever read about lottery winners who won a huge jackpot, then messed up their lives?
That’s not the kind of contest I’m referring to, but even winning on a smaller scale has its drawbacks. Trust me on this.
Husband and I were at store recently and they had a drawing for a $25 gift card. As the guy was reading off numbers, I realized I was the only one not holding a ticket.
This was no accident. I duck past drawings, raffles, ‘guess-how-many-marbles-in-the-jar’ contests I see. Because I know, with my luck, I’d probably win.
And I’d probably hate it.
Because having my name announced in a room full of people brings back painful memories. Dark memories.
Such as the time I was in college…
My First Major Case of Winner’s Remorse
I’m telling ya, my pain goes waaay back. I remember they were having some sort of big dinner in the cafeteria. The reason for the to-do escapes me, but the Beef Wellington was exquisite.
Yes, it was a private college.Yes, I was one of those kinds of students.
I studied hard, okay? So sue me.
Anyway, there was a stage at one end and a group of upperclassmen announced that in tribute to the upcoming last episode of M*A*S*H (I told you this goes waaay back) they were having a lookalike contest for their favorite characters. And if one of the upperclassmen told you to go on stage, you had to do it.
Let’s pause now and reflect on the perils many of our youth may be facing at the hands of treacherous upperclassmen, intent on forcing them to do things against their will. It is a sad, sad thing, my friends. Very sad indeed.
Okay, so there I am on stage.
There were ten of us altogether. Five short guys wearing glasses, five taller gals with long blonde hair. I was at the end.
Oh, and there was a guy with a microphone too. Let’s not forget him. Where was the faculty? Where was the administration? Who knows. Probably in a room somewhere, counting money.
The guy with the mic asked each of us our name and where we’re from. Thank God I was last, as this gave me time to practice. Also, I’m praying the Beef Wellington stays in my stomach. (It does, by the way.)
I won, of course. They voted by applause.
Imagine a large room full of people erupting into thunderous applause, all because you have blonde hair and chubby cheeks.
My prize was a pair of big plastic lips mounted on a cheap stand. It said, “Call Me Hot Lips.”
Sorry, I don’t have a picture of the award.
I didn’t keep it, because it wasn’t the sort of thing a mother would understand.
My Second Case of Winner’s Remorse
Two months later, during a bout of temporary amnesia, I entered another contest. This time, of my own free will.
No, that’s not exactly true. I had to enter the contest, as my friends were entering and they were doing it all wrong.
It was at a Christmas party in the student union. We passed through a line for the food and at the end of the table, an upperclassman told us we should enter the drawing.
I wasn’t buying it, but both my friends filled out tickets and let them flutter into the big bowl.
“You’re never going to win that way,” I told them.
“Why? How would you do it?”
And that’s where I made my mistake.
I took a ticket, wrote down my name, carefully folded it twice and stuffed my hand in the bowl. Fluffing the tickets a bit, making sure mine was in the thick of it.
My friends rolled their eyes. We sat down.
You guessed it. My ticket was drawn. The prize? I got to sit on Santa’s lap!
Actually, let’s be clear: I got to walk through the crowd, get up on stage, sit on his lap and have a microphone shoved in front of me.
Yeah, cause Santa’s on stage with a mic. (Of course he is.)
“Hey, it’s Hot Lips,” someone said.
Because this was a small school, and a name like Hot Lips is hard to shake.
And while we’re at it, why is some old guy dressed up as Santa and hanging out at a college, getting young coeds to sit on his lap?
(Don’t answer that.)
After it was determined I was a good girl, I was given a present.
I’ve no memory of what the present was, but I do remember stumbling off stage. That part I’m sure of.
At the end of the school year, I transferred.
Was it due to my harrowing contest experiences and being called Hot Lips all year? Can’t say. But I wound up transferring to a large in-state university where I met Husband.
So you see? You don’t have to enter a contest to be a winner. Sometimes it just happens naturally. But trust me, going about it naturally is a lot less embarrassing.
Just take it from me, Hot Lips. 💋