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. 💋
15 thoughts on “Why I’ll Never Enter Another Contest”
It could have been worse. There was a girl at our school called Klinger. (I didn’t find out until years later it was her real name.)
Hahaha, that’s pretty good. Yeah, I guess Hot Lips wasn’t too bad. It just seemed like a lot to live up to. 😉
I never enter contest either — just in case.
This made me laugh 🙂 Reminds me of the time I was in middle school (such awkward years), we were at a dance in the gym. There was a drawing to win an album, I think it was Journey… I was hoping it wasn’t my name they called, but of course, it was. I won the album and had to go up in front of all the kids at the dance. I should’ve been happy, but at the time, I was mortified. I’m like you, I don’t want to enter contests/put my name on a ticket because I don’t want to be called. Well, depends what the prize is! 🙂
Yeah, I suppose a better prize might be worth it. Though usually the bigger the prize, the bigger the spotlight! Yikes!
So true, haha! 🙂
Years ago my company had taken a bunch of engineers on a three day retreat/conference. Once night they hosted a casino night. I didn’t really want to participate, but didn’t want offend my overlords so I went. We were given a stack of chips and told the one who had the most at the end of the evening got a prize. I and another engineer figured that if we lost all our chips early, we could leave in disgrace and get to bed early. As I was very tired, that seemed like a good plan. We sat down at a poker table and started betting wildly – on anything and everything. After an hour we each had gone from 500 to 5000 chips and word spread of the two unbeatable poker players. By the end of the evening we’d cleaned out at least 15 people and each had about 30,000 and it seemed like everyone was standing around our table as we recklessly bet and broke all challengers. I should note that I don’t really know how to play poker and it was the dealer that most often had to point out that I’d won the pot.
I don’t remember the prize we one, but from then on I was regularly introduced in the company as, “The guy you don’t want to play poker with.”
and we all know that this would never work with real money…
That’s hilarious! I remember reading something about how the people who do best on gambling and chance games are the ones who are completely apathetic. I guess you’re proof!
In a recent raffle, we won a $25 gift card for lunch at the local tennis club. The gift card had expired, and we had to pay up.
Oh man, I’ve had that happen before, it’s the worst! I’ve since learned to check the balance on every card before we use it, even if they’re brand new.
Look at the bright side. At least it wasn’t the large in-state university where everyone knew you as hot lips…
Very true! I learned I do much better in large schools and large cities. Anonymity is a lovely thing.
Oh, this was very brave of you because now you are never going to lose that moniker here in the Blogosphere! And there is no escaping by transferring to another site. Our secret blog Radar will find you. (Just kidding. I’m not like that.) BTW – that is one creepy Santa!
Just do a google image search for ‘creepy santa’ and you’ll be amazed at the number of pictures before you.
And yes, I debated long and hard about my final sentence, eventually deciding that the most successful bloggers are the ones who take great risks. Embarrassing monikers and all. 😁
You’re a brave woman after my own heart!