'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
HERE’S TO THE WINNERS
Last month I was a winner at a golf tournament.
The previous sentence might lead you to believe that I am a skillful golfer, and while playing in a golf competition my abundant athletic skills propelled me to victory. Well, the sentence is indeed true: at a recent golf tournament I was a winner. But the sentence also is similar to the pronouncements we often hear from marketing executives regarding their products or politicians regarding the latest economic data. That is, the sentence is technically true, but the impression given that golfing skills were involved is the exact opposite of reality.
At the recent golf tournament in question, what I won was a raffle prize. So the only skill I displayed was the talent to stand in line behind Joe and in front of Bob when purchasing raffle tickets, so that the ticket I bought would end up being the one randomly picked out of a jar later in the day. Pretty skillful on my part, huh?
Anyway, the raffle prize I won was a metal elephant. You heard me right, a metal elephant. Some golf tournaments raffle off vacations or a new set of golf clubs. The tournament I played in did indeed raffle off some decent golf-related prizes, but the very first prize chosen, the one for which I possessed the winning ticket, was a metal elephant.
When my ticket was drawn, I was in shock because I never win anything. But when I realized I was clutching the winning ticket in my hand, I joyfully bounded up to the head table to claim my vacation or my clubs or my whatever. They handed me the whatever: a metal elephant.
My prize was about two feet tall and weighed around 20 pounds. It had once been painted white but most of the paint had peeled off. When they handed it to me, my mouth mumbled, “Gee, um, thanks.” What my mouth really wanted to say was, “What the blank is this piece of junk?!”
The person who handed it to me gushed, “This is a very valuable prize!” The person standing next to her, who was assisting in running the raffle, laughed and said, “Yeah, a booby prize.”
I brought the elephant back to my table to show my fellow golfers. They had divided opinions about it. Some thought it might be a valuable antique or piece of art. The others thought it was a piece of junk.
When I brought it home my wife quickly sided with the “piece of junk” opinion. I thought about bringing it to an antique dealer for appraisal. “Bring it to the curb for disposal,” my wife suggested instead. So on the next trash day I put it out with the garbage.
And that night I had a dream. I dreamed someone came by in the middle of the night and rescued the elephant before the garbage truck arrived. The elephant was declared to be a priceless work of art, and the guy who snatched it away from my driveway was paid a million bucks.
I woke up in a cold sweat and went outside to retrieve my prize before the garbage truck came. Too late. Someone had already taken it away in the dead of night.
So if you happen to hear about a local guy who was paid a million bucks for a rare Ming Dynasty metal elephant, please don’t tell me about it. I wouldn’t want to know that I made such a blunder. After all, I am a winner.
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