I Am a Winner!

As a result of poor timing on the part of my parents, I missed the brief era in American education when it was fashionable to emphasize self esteem at the expense of excellence. My public-school teachers, in callous disregard of my tender little heart, stubbornly insisted that my grades correlate with my performance, so that I graduated from high school with more B’s than A’s. In college, this worrying trend persisted, and I was forced into a much closer acquaintance with my deficiencies than I would have wished. Sadly, being a grown-up isn’t all it is cracked up to be, and opportunities to rise above the mundane are infrequent.

Every once in a while, however, life offers an opportunity to reverse the negative flow; last week I found just such a chance.

I'm a real Winner!
Wouldn’t you award this man a prize?

I don’t read many blogs, but I do sporadically follow the adventures of Scott, a clever and quirky Dad, husband and pastor in the wilds of Indiana. One day I happened across a post in which Scott apologized for a recent blogging hiatus. (His blog is pretty new, and I’m sure his wife encouraged him to post more regularly, if he wanted to attract a readership.) Scott said he had a bunch of prizes from his desk drawer and asked for people to comment with regard to how they used the time they saved from not reading his blog. I was compelled to speak from the heart, hoping to encourage him to keep blogging. Little did I know that he was serious about sending the ‘valuable’ prizes.

Today I received in the mail a mysterious package, with not one, but five valuable prizes:

  • 2 packets of hot cocoa mix
  • A DVD of Holy Moses!, a children’s musical from Scott’s church
  • a mostly-eaten package of tic-tacs
  • a sheaf of play money
  • and the Pièce de résistance, a ‘B’ scrabble letter (worth 3 points)

Enclosed was a short note, which I provide for your edification:

Congratulations on winning this wonderful set of prizes in the contest you entered on my blog.

If this is the wrong Tim, I apologize, but you may still enjoy these random prizes scrounged from the back of my pencil drawer. Or throw them out. I’m not particularly an advocate for accepting used containers of breath fresheners from complete strangers.

And to be absolutely clear, the money enclosed is FAKE. The “Milton Bradley” imprint should be a dead give-away. If you try to spend it anywhere, about 60% of retailers have specific training for employees for how to spot counterfeits, so don’t be surprised if you end up in the slammer. I think it’s actually from a game of “Operation” so you might be able to use it at your child’s next doctor visit.

Happy Birthday and best wishes,


I learned a number of things about Scott from this letter, some positive, some worrying. He is apparently a very generous man, and a man who loves to celebrate, sending me five prizes where only one had been promised. The note was signed in pencil, which suggests a lack of commitment to our relationship. (In fairness, since we’ve never met, it might be best if we start out as ‘Pencil Pals’, in the finest traditions of Charlie Brown.) On the other hand, it tells me that he is a man of his word (in that he really does have a pencil drawer). Frankly, the precision of his estimate with regard to retailers who train against counterfeiters, made me wonder if he’d already tried (and failed) to spend the Milton Bradley money. Noting his apparent need to emphasize that the money was fake, I discovered that Scott doesn’t see me as the sharpest knife in the drawer. I suppose this is to be expected, since he comments on (and presumably reads) my blog entries from time to time.

I was delighted (to state the obvious) to receive this valuable package, especially so close to my birthday. The hot cocoa will probably be slurped up by my children, but I can hardly wait to view the DVD musical, in all its glory. The mints (all five of them) will come in very handy, and I need hardly mention the utility of an extra ‘B’ tile for our Scrabble game (9 points if I can finesse a triple-letter-score square). We’re in the market for a new fridge; it may be that Scott’s failure with the Milton Bradley money was due to a lack of confidence on his part — it might be amusing to succeed where he failed so woefully.

prizes galore
Hard to believe Scott sent this package without insuring it!

It is at times like this when you are on top of the world, and you want to go out on your driveway and shout to the world, “I Am a Winner!” And so I did.

The neighbors already think I’m weird, what did I have to lose?

Project 365, Day 285

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16 thoughts on “I Am a Winner!”

  1. What FUN! I’ll have to watch for some of this man’s comments on your blog now. It’s fun to connect the lines for different people. I’m pretty sure your family won’t let you use the extra Scrabble tile since your kids do read your blog. (LOL)! Sorry to be the bearer of bad news on that one.

  2. Congratulations on your award! Spend the money “carefully”!!!! What part of Indiana is Scott from? I am originally from northern Indiana.

  3. Ooooohhh! You ARE a winner Timmy!!! That was a prize package worth photographing for your posterity! Isn’t it fun to win things – even if it’s not that valuable??!!

    congratulations on your half eaten package of tic-tacs!!

  4. Tim, I think you and Scott would be a good pair. I laughed so hard reading what you wrote.

    When you see the Holy Moses video, be sure to watch our oldest daughter who is holding commandment #3. She was SO good at it. ;)

    Congratulations. May you always remember the thrill of victory at winning such an important contest.

  5. The way you analyzed my letter left me feeling naked and vulnerable.
    But perhaps that is the level of intimacy I should expect with my new “pencil pal.”
    if THOSE prizes thrilled you to very marrow, I can’t wait to clear out the glove compartment in my truck.
    Oooh. I feel another give-away coming on!

  6. Sorry, Scott, didn’t mean to scare you off — I was, after all, a Psychology major in college (mostly to meet girls), in addition to my boring Computer Science concentration. The ebb and flow of these new relationships take time to work out, don’t they.

    I was a little surprised to hear you talking about feelings on a Saturday, though. Is it only on your own blog that you limit that kind of talk to Fridays, or (now that we’re pencil pals and all) are you coming out of your shell?

    Oh, drat, there I go, psycho-analyzing you again. :)


  7. Well, I can thank your wife for sending me over to check out your fa-bu-lous win and very amusing post.
    You guys are a hoot.
    The women have nothing on you guys!
    I have been thinking about doing a prize give away–I now see that I will be able to save quite a bit of money if this is what people are getting excited about receiving.
    I have a kitchen drawer with some really great things in it–and they are not even used!

  8. I think you and Scott are destined to graduate to ‘pen’ pals.

    Haha. Congrats on your prizes!! Love you, AK

  9. you guys are a hoot! i just discovered your blog a short time ago and have had so much fun reading it. thanks for putting a smile on my face.

    i love your pic of mt rainier. when i lived in the puget sound i got to see it often driving around the area, now that i’m in idaho i miss its proximity. there were several places i drove where it just loomed, and was so majestic.

    blessings, gail

  10. Trying not to show my jealous side…but wow, what cool prizes. I feel inclined to warn you about taking candy from strangers, if used tic tacs can be considered candy? My mama told me it could be DANGEROUS.

    Wondering what you will do with the B tile…perhaps you could post your plan?

    thanks for the laugh…

    mama to 6
    one homemade and 5 adopted

  11. O.k. You guys were so funny that I posted about you. Relax, I am a new blogger and my readership is low so servers won’t be crashing or anything.
    What a hysterical combination you are!
    Thanks for the belly laugh today!

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