One Contest & Another

Have you ever seen The Cooler? It's a very good movie, with wonderful performances by William H. Macy and Maria Bello and a stunning performance by Alec Baldwin. It's about a guy (Macy) who is not just a bad gambler, but is so atrocious at it that it transcends merely bad luck and becomes part of his genetic makeup. Because he is so phenomenally unlucky, he has gotten himself into a heap of debt with a casino and to pay it off, the casino boss (Baldwin) hires him as "the cooler". This means that if a customer is having a lucky streak, our hapless hero gets dispatched to go stand next to the person, which immediately causes them to start losing.

I'm kind of like that. I don't win things. To a really significant degree. My mother wins things, as does my sister and we've had great fun travelling to Las Vegas together, where both of them will win and I am relegated to hold the bucket for part of our winnings (it's like in Dirty Dancing, except instead of carrying a watermelon, I hold the bucket). At times, it has been necessary for me to physically bend over the bucket to prevent them from filching the quarters that are going to pay for the snazzy dinners we'll have if only they would continue winning. Which they usually do. Me? Not so much. Although I'm not as bad as Macy's character in that my mere presence does not seem to greatly inhibit their luck with slot machines, it's really better if I don't touch any of the one-armed bandits. Or the roulette table. Or lottery tickets. And scratch tickets are best chosen by the cashier at the grocery store, since when I choose, I win nothing and if they do, I may win the price of the ticket.

Despite this, I enthusiastically enter any and all contests offered up by Ree over at The Pioneer Woman because have you seen her prizes?? I have special enthusiasm for the contests with prizes of a $500 gift certificate for Amazon - pardon me while I wipe the drool off my keyboard - but her contests rock so much that I enter all of ‘em. And never win. Anyway, the point of this story is on its way… Ree is having a passionate love affair with her Keurig coffee maker and recently had a contest offering up three of the beasties (I can only suspect she's an enabler). I don't drink coffee, but entered anyway, thinking that my mother might like it. And whaddaya know, totally unexpected and much to my surprise, I won! And I'm quite sure that there's a lesson in here somewhere about selflessness and the universe rewarding same, while ignoring blatant avarice and I'll think about that another day. Mor loves her new coffee machine - here seen in its adopted habitat )slightly askew)(and rather fuzzy. For pretty pictures of the thing, click on the link to Pioneer Woman)

and I foresee a long happy coexistence between the two of them.

So it's occurred to me that I should pay it forward and no, that doesn't mean that I'm offering up a Keurig coffee machine. This contest is a little more modest - the prize is an 8 x 10 print of one of my photographs and I’ll be spending the weekend updating my Flickr page to give you oodles of choices. Okay, maybe not oodles, but many, anyway. To enter, simply answer the following question in the comment box:

What’s the nicest unexpected thing someone has done for you?

Contest closes 6 p.m. Sunday evening Toronto time. The winner will be chosen randomly by some fancypants high tech method. Or I might try to involve the cat again.

late addition to clarify: I did not mean to imply that I hang out over at The Pioneer Woman merely for the contests. I'm there for many reasons - Ree's funny, she takes fantastic photos, I've learned many things about Photoshop for her, I love the look into ranch life, etc., etc. I enter the contests despite my horrific track record in such things because she has kick-arse prizes and hope springs eternal within my breast.