Not too long ago, I entered a contest for some tickets to a local Renaissance Festival. Yes, SuperDad and I are Rennies at heart, and the Geeklet Six always enjoy the opportunity to cosplay in public (I say “in public” because I think I’ve figured out by now that our private life is just one huge, elaborate, very un-hilarious cosplay foisted on us by our collective subconscious, or The Universe, or perhaps some evil subsidiary of Google) so I figured, what that heck? I’m a writer, the contest had to do with writing, and there’s no harm trying, right?
The contest instructions were to write a statement, worthy of The Bard himself, about what you most look forward to enjoying this summer. Here’s what I came up with:
Midsummer’s Eve at last draws nigh;
Dance round the bonnefyre, my dear, with me!
I promise thee mead and love’s sweet sighs
And feast till morn perhaps shall we.
To my embrace retire; our hearts shall thrill
On sol sistere, when the sun stands still.
Sweet, no? I lost the contest, and the free tix. Meh.
But what really got me, I mean really got me, was the entry that won.
Now, I don’t want to get sued, so I won’t tell you the person’s name, or what he or she wrote, but I will tell you that it didn’t even rhyme.
I mean, come on! I put in at least an hour coming up with that cute little verse, I put The Geeklet Six in front of the TV so I could ignore them, I dragged out my Pelican Complete Shakespeare and my notebook and pen and everything, I wrote it by hand for gosh sakes, and this other person, this so-called “winner,” dashes off some blah prose statement about going to the fair, and it doesn’t have any meter, and it doesn’t even rhyme, and it probably took about two seconds to write, and it wins?!? Where is the justice, I ask you?!?
She must have known somebody. Or known somebody who knew somebody. Somebody who worked at the Festival, or had friends at the Festival, or owned the Festival. Or something. That’s what I’ve been telling myself, anyway.
Now you know it was a she. Oops. That’s not enough to be sued, is it? Hating on some random “she”? I hope not.
But, seriously, sometimes I think it’s all rigged – life, the universe, and every contest out there, including the Presidential election a certain country I know has every four years. Everything is being controlled from behind the scenes by some great big, rich Good Ol’ Boys Club. It’s either that, or I’m just one of those people who never wins. I lose. Constantly. Every time. Ok, I’m a loser, I admit it.
I pour myself a nice tall iced coffee , complete with colorful straw, and before I can even add the half-and-half, my force field or something knocks it over. Twenty-four ounces of delicious home brewed Cafe’ du Monde Coffee with Chicory and crushed ice all over the kitchen counter and floor, without me even touching it. I didn’t even get one single sip! This is what happens to me. I lose.
I try to enroll in a speech class at my local community college, mostly just for kicks, but also to force myself to get out of the house and away from The Geeklet Six, and be around other adults (besides SuperDad) once in a while, and I’m blocked from enrollment because of a library hold on my record. From back in 2001. Yes, ten years ago. I somehow ended up owing the college library six dollars, for reasons unspecified, ten years ago, which means the class I want is filling up as I speak, because the Bursar’s office can’t process payments over the phone.
Um, excuse me, is this the year 2012? Yes? But I still can’t pay off a $6 fine with a credit card over the phone? No? Well, howsabout just forgiving this miniscule fine and clearing my record, because it was ten years ago, and I’d really like to enroll in that class before it’s full up, and I just can’t bring myself to disengage The Geeklet Six from their gaming and Lego-ing and napping, stuff them all into poor old reliable Frances, and drive us all over there in order to pay a $6 fine . . . ? No? Fines can’t be forgiven? Even ten year old ones? For just six dollars? Of course not. It’s me we’re talking about here. I lose.
I fix lunch for The Geeklet Six; it’s peanut butter and honey on whole wheat. Pretty normal, except for the honey, but that’s because they all take after SuperDad and won’t eat jelly. Six sandwiches are glued together, six cups of chocolate milk are stirred up, and six shiny red apples are washed and ready to get munched on. We thank God for our food, I say “Dig in!” and I make a mad dash for the bathroom because I needed to pee before the sandwich-fixing started, but they were hungry, so I held it and worked fast, and now I’m about to burst. I successfully negotiate the hazardous toy-strewn hallway, make it unscathed to the bathroom, and breathe a sigh of relief.
One thing I need to say is that The Geeklet Six are pretty darn good kids, except when I’m in the bathroom.
So I get back out there after roughly thirty-two seconds and there are chunks of half-masticated apple on the floor, peanut butter decorating the wall and the baby’s hair, and someone has found an old Lip Smacker and scribbled with it on the window. I can’t even use the toilet without something terrible happening. I lose.
So I ask myself, what keeps me going? Why do I keep entering contests, making iced coffee, pursuing my education, and taking care of The Geeklet Six instead of paying someone else to do it all for me while I get a “real” job?
I don’t give up because, in the words of William Shakepeare, “Perseverance, dear my lord, keeps honour bright: to have done is to hang quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail in monumental mockery.”
In other words, if I give up . . . I lose.