I love entering contests. Coloring contests, writing contests, prom-queen contests, and contests of skill or luck. I mostly lose, but occasionally I win. You know — the triumph of hope over experience.
At age 6, I was in a square-dancing contest, but twirled too much, got separated from my partner, and ended up in last place. I never square danced again. Then at age 9, I misspelled the word “vacuum” in a spelling bee and was eliminated. For the record, I still feel it’s wrong that a word should have two u’s smack beside each other. But honestly, I’m no longer bitter. Really.
Ever hopeful of being named the winner of something, I recently entered a contest on my favorite MORE.com. Yesterday, I checked the contest scoreboard and was shocked to see someone had over 8,000 votes all ready, with a month left to go — unbelievable! I had to work hard to muster up 44 votes by emailing all my kind friends, who, despite thinking I was nuts, vowed to be devoted clickers. Even my friend, Sandra, who took it upon herself to lead a campaign to get votes for me, threw in the towel after only two days when she saw the scoreboard gap. To get more votes than the leading lady, I would need a daily “yes” click from every human being who lives in, drives by, or even flies over North Raleigh. Ain’t going to happen.
Many women have trounced me (not just this leading lady) — even women with no heads. I guess I overestimated the need for an actual head in the headshot, a requirement of the contest. Given that many of the headless beauties have more votes than me, they may be on to something.
My Love God, who can always pick the beauty pageant winners on television, offered his wise opinion once he studied the competition carefully. He declared, “The reason they have way more votes than you, Di, is that they have run marathons and you haven’t.” Whoa, didn’t see that coming.
“But I walked in the four mile Furry Scurry with the dogs and even in the eight kilometer Turkey Trot last year,” I protested.
“But you didn’t write about those in your story, so nobody knew what a good walker you were,” he responded.
“Maybe it’s not too late. There’s still a month left, you know,” I offered. “Maybe there’s a marathon I can walk in somewhere in this country.”
“First of all, Diane, people actually run in marathons, they don’t walk,” he said. “And besides, you can’t make changes to your story once you submit it. You’re too late”
Those are harsh words for an incurable contest addict to hear. I optimistically thought that a picture of me with no spinach in my teeth and an amusing little story would put me on the podium. Maybe I was too honest about my wrinkles. Maybe I should’ve spray-painted my hair for my picture. Maybe I should’ve volunteered at the hospital or joined the Peace Corps to be a better person. And of course, there’s that marathon thing too.
Oh well, there’s no point doing shoulda’, woulda’, coulda’ now. I had my chance. I only hope I don’t come in dead last. At least I managed to get 10 unsolicited votes from strangers before I started twisting my friends’ arms to click on my entry!
With each contest I enter, I learn something valuable. Here are a few big ah-ha’s: