Thursday, August 27, 2009

Do you Feel Lucky? Well, do Ya?

I don't enter many contests, whether they're writing contests or author contests, or name that tune contests, or any other kind. I'm not sure why. People tell me I have a strong competitive streak, and I'm reluctantly beginning to acknowledge they may be right. I'm not sure why the concept of being competitive packs such a negative connotation. Our country was built by competitive people. The American Dream is all about being competitive. But somewhere along the way, we began to lose sight of just what made us great. 

I'm not sure how or why it happened, but in the past few decades "we" started to think of competition as negative. Anyone who showed signs of being competitive was wrong--unless they were an adult male athlete. Then it was okay, I guess.  But heaven forbid we should teach our kids that there are rewards in this world for making the effort, and that life rewards action, not intentions. The collective "we" decided, in our infinite wisdom, that our kids' feelings were far too tender to survive not being the best, and we set about giving trophies to everybody for everything they ever did. I'm sure there are other components to the cultural cocktail we've been downing for the past 30 years or so, but the result is a society fueled by an attitude of entitlement. 

But I digress (as I often do.) This blog isn't about that.  This blog is about the fact that the other day, as I was writing away on my romantic-suspense-in-progress, a Tweet came in from the Attorney General of the state where I live. I'm not sure how he saw my name or why he started following me, but I decided turn-about was fair play, and I clicked the button to follow him back. Being the polite Tweeter I am, and all. 

Anyway, he sent me a nice, polite note about how he's running for senate in 2010, and I said, "aha! No wonder!" because, after all, my Tweets are hardly the thing a state's attorney general might want to be reading in the course of his day. 
Tuesday's Tweet from the AG contained a message about a trivia question of the day and announced that the winner would win an autographed cap. Boy howdy! My competitive nature clicked on before I could even fully absorb what the message said. I mean, nothing against our illustrious AG, but really, I don't wear caps much (or ever) so, you know, an autographed one isn't exactly the sort of thing I fall all over my feet to get. 

Unless, apparently, I'm sitting at my desk on a Tuesday morning dragging words out of my pores with tweezers in an effort to make my daily page quota. Apparently, under those circumstances, I'll trip all over myself to zing back an answer.  

Which I did. And then reality clicked on, and I laughed at myself because, really, I had no idea what I'd do with an autographed baseball cap.  

I told my kids about it, and we all had a good laugh, and that was that. 

Until Wednesday morning when I logged into Twitter and discovered a message that said "Congrats! @SherryLewis...." and went on to leave the impression that maybe I had won the trivia contest. I wasn't sure. The message wasn't completely clear, so I had another good laugh and went to work on my synopsis. 

A few hours later, when the synopsis bogged down in mud, I decided I really should follow through and fhind out whether I really won or not, so I sent Mr. S a private message and asked if his congratulatory message meant that I won, or if I was just one of many who sent in the right answer.  A few hours later, back came this message:  

You are the winner!! You get the cap! .... Congrats!
As you can imagine, this news was just too splendid to keep to myself, so I once again went through the round of phone calls with my kids. My youngest asserts that she should get custody of the cap for 6 months out of every year since she provided moral support in the early hours of the contest process.  

I contend that since the contest was apparently somewhat controversial (the AG/candidate is awarding a second hat to someone who might have beat my time, but who missed the win on a technicality because the park's name was changed 10 years into its history) the value of my winning cap has increased exponentially, and it's now way too valuable to entrust to the USPS or some courier service.  

But again I digress.  

Because I realized last night that this is my second contest win in just a couple of weeks. I was kicking around online one day and decided to check out my friend Michelle Monkou's blog. Lo and behold, she was holding a contest to celebrate her book Trail of Kisses. The prizes were goodies she'd picked up on a recent trip to England, and I thought what fun! and entered with a little "essay" about my critique group. A few days later, I found out that I'd won the random draw, so besides my autographed cap, I also have an autographed cover flat, a cotton tea towel featuring Warwick Castle (built in 1068) in Warwickshire, England, and a 2010 calendar from Stratford-on-Avon and Shakespeare's home heading my way.  

Is it any wonder I'm feeling lucky?  I wonder what's coming next??? 

_______________________________Copyright © 2009 Sherry Lewis

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