Contest – Confidence, Boasting & What Others Think About This

message in a bottleThis is a true story. Catch up here: The Contest.

I threw my loaded bottle into the tide, putting a vibe on it for good measure. Or you may think it was overkill, I don’t know. I liked my entry. To tell the truth, I was so fond of it, I had trouble letting go.

“Do you think the mailman will steal my entry?” I asked my husband.

“I don’t think so. They’ll notice it, that’s for sure. They may pick it up and smile. They may look to see who sent it, but no… I think it will get where it’s going.”

“And you think I’ll win?”

“Yes I do. I can’t see why not.”

“You can’t?”

“I can’t.”

I exhaled. I needed this kind of reassurance. I was pretty sure, if my entry got to the contest, I would win. I wanted to double check though, because I wanted to start bragging right away. The next day, this is what I did. I went around to all my sales calls telling everyone that I was going to win this contest and meet “what’s his name”. I laid it on extra thick for people I knew to be NBA fans.

“What’s that guy’s name I’m going to meet?” I asked.

“Tom Heinsohn.”

“Oh yeah! Him!” I’d roar laughing. “That’s him all right. Now who is he again, did you say? And he has a team that he is associated with? What’s his team’s name, again?”

“Celtics, Elsa. They’re called the Boston Celtics.”

“Oh yeah. That’s right. I don’t know why I keep forgetting that. Maybe I should write it down.”

This was fun. It was fun banter and I kept it up. I kept it up all week, and I kept it up the week after. The customers played back.

“You know, Elsa, I’d really like Tom Heinsohn to sign something for me.”

“Well, when I meet him, I’ll see what I can do about that.” I wink.

“Do you really think you’ll win?”

“Of course.”

I went on. I was relentless, insisting I would win. No one especially believed me, and I would feign hurt feelings at their lack of faith.

“I don’t really see how you’re going to win.”

“Well, I don’t really see how I am not going to win, in spite of your lack of faith.”

More time passed. When the major eye-rolling began, I started to take side bets. I told you I was a gambler. Bets on what? Shelf space. If I win the contest, then I get the premium end cap in the store for one month, shutting out my pathetic and paltry competition for thirty days! Lose? Well, I’m not going to lose, so forget about it.

Weeks passed. No call came, but I kept up the spiel, which was now a running joke with regular customers. I insisted that the call coming, and it was imminent.

“Did they call you about Heinsohn yet, Elsa?”

“Who? Oh yeah! That basketball guy. Nope. No they haven’t, but they will probably call today. How was your weekend?”

I didn’t stop with my customers. I told my boss that I was going to win as well. I told him this repeatedly, but the most I could get out of him was a chuckle. He thought I was making a weak joke. You know. Save that shit for the public, Elsa. I worked in the middle of nowhere. He’d come down from the city…

“Hey, boss! Did they call me yet? They may call you, and tell you to call me. You know. Chain of command and all. If they do, would you call me right away? Most the people in this town are waiting to hear the good news that I have won.”

boston gardenHe’d just shake his head. I’d look at him quizzically. “What don’t you get?” I asked.

A couple more months passed. I have to admit that it wasn’t looking good, but I was not ready to admit defeat. Not quite yet. I went on vacation and very earnestly told my boss, “If they call you with my prize, tell ‘em, hold on. I’ll be back.” I winked at him and he shook his head. He thought I was certifiable, and he was actually the only person who told me to my face that I was not going to win.

“You aren’t gonna win that thing, Elsa.”

“Yes, I am”

“Do you know how many people want to win that contest? I don’t know why you even bothered to enter. You don’t like basketball.”

“So? I like Boston. And I have never been. I want to go there and have a beer.”

“What? Since when do you drink beer? And there are a lot of NBA fans out there. The NBA gets more popular every year. I think a fan should win.”

“Well, I am a fan. I am a fan of Boston. It’s not my fault they bundled it like this, Boss.”

He shakes his head. “It’s a NBA thing. It’s supposed to be about basketball. Anyway, I don’t know why you think you’re going to win. And there are people right in my district who live and breathe the NBA. They would kill for a chance to meet, Tommy Heinsohn. I wouldn’t mind meeting him myself.”

“Really? Well I’m sorry about that, but they are going to be out of luck, because that prize is mine.” I smile.

“I don’t see how you can know that.”

“And yet I do.” I cackled and he shook his head. He would’ve taken a step back, but he knew I wasn’t dangerous.

He doesn’t know what to say, but he tries. “You can’t win a contest because you will it, Elsa.”

“Oh!” I smile and wink. “But I think that I can.” Big smile.

“And you are telling your customers this?”

“Of course.”

“What are you going to tell them when you don’t win?”

“I just told you that was not going to happen.”

“You sound confident.”

“I am confident.”

frito“What is this? Have you already won? Are you sandbaggin’, me? Did they already call you?”

“No. But they probably will today.” I laugh. “There is probably a message on my machine at home right now.”

“Okay, Elsa. You’re crazy if you think you’re gonna win that contest out of all those people. I have been with Frito twenty five years and I have never known anyone who has won anything. Not once. There are just too many people that work for this company.”

I don’t answer that. How many times do I have to tell this guy? He is in town from the city to certify my inventory.

“Never mind about my prize. Let’s count this stuff and go home.”

“You’re something else, Elsa.”

“So are you. I tell you something, and you don’t believe me.” I laugh. I slap the boxes as I count cases. “You know I don’t lie, Boss. I have one, two, three, plus seven. Thirty seven blue Doritos…”

“Are those selling down here?”

“Yeah. Yeah, they’re selling good. Are you going to do my route when I go to Boston?”

He chuckles and rolls his eyes.

More months pass. It had been three or four months. I never quit talking about this, but I admit that the joke was getting stale, and then, “Brrrrrrinnnng Brrrrrrinnnnnnnnng!”

I pick up the phone and hear a drum roll. Literally, a drum roll plays in my ear and I smile. This is the call.

“Blah blah, blah,blah from Frito Lay. You have won the blah blah contest, trip to Boston, and dinner with Tom Heinsohn!”

“Oh good. It’s about time. I was getting worried that I wasn’t going to win.”

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Contest – Look, I Don’t Mean To Be Rude

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