As a branch manager for a bank, Diana is “highly encouraged” to attend community events. Sometimes I get guilted into going along with her. One Saturday night we attended a charity fund raiser by a local civic group (Elks? Eagles? Rotarians? Opus Dei? Illuminati?) which had a kind of western theme and included line-dancing lessons, barbecue, and a raffle. As soon as we got in the door, Diana bought raffle tickets. Diana is physically incapable of walking by a raffle without entering it.
Since I didn’t actually know anyone and didn’t bring a cowboy hat or spurs, I slunk over to a table in the corner and watched the line dancing lessons while Diana worked the room. Then we ate. The meal was great, but I still didn’t know anyone around me, and it was getting past my bedtime. I was in full fidget mode.
“That was good, Diana. Can we go now?”
“Honey, we have to stay to see if we win anything in the raffle.”
“How much did you spend on tickets?”
“What’s the big prize?”
“A Nebraska Cornhusker quilt and pillow shams that one of the ladies quilted.”
“That’s the big prize???”
“Around here, it is.”
“We don’t even like the Cornhuskers.”
“It’s not about the prize. It’s about WINNING.”
“Well I am now using every bit of my mental powers to will you not to win anything.”
“That’s ugly, why would you do a thing like that?”
“So you’ll feel bad for making me sit here two extra hours for nothing and never make me do it again.”
“Just for that, I’m going to win the big prize. I’m calling my shot like that baseball guy.”
“Baseball guy? You mean Babe Ruth?”
“Yes. Didn’t he point out in the field and say, ‘I’m going to hit a home run for a sick kid!’… or something?”
“Yeah, well, not exactly.”
“Doesn’t matter. I’m winning the big prize, and you’re staying to watch me do it.”
“Yeah, good luck with that.”
The first item raffled was the quilt. I don’t know about prayer or meditation, but if there is some karmic force that allows very good things to happen to very bad husbands, I was using all of my spiritual energy to access it. “Please, oh please, just this once… ” Diana didn’t have her reading glasses, so it was up to me to check the numbers.
The line-dancing-cowboy-Illuminati-in-chief MC up at the microphone read out the winning number for the Cornhuskers quilt. I looked through our tickets, ready with my best “HA! Now, lets go home!” the minute I couldn’t match the winning number. I stopped on the third ticket. Crap. It was the winning number. I thought about telling Diana none of our tickets matched, but I just couldn’t do it. This was going to hurt.
“Good job, Babe Ruth. You just went yard on me.”
“You won the quilt.”
“Really. Here’s the ticket.”
Grinning ear-to-ear, Diana skipped up to the MC and retrieved her prize. When she came back to the table, she didn’t say a word, just looked at me and smiled that I-own-you-now smile. Then she made me sit there for another hour and a half as they doled out the endless lesser prizes. On the drive home, Diana tried to be magnanimous in an attempt to salve my bruised ego. She almost succeeded.
“Thank you for coming with me tonight. That was very nice of you.”
“And even though you did a terrible, hateful thing and tried to jinx me, I still had a good time.”
“Because I came with you?”
She leaned into my ear and whispered:
“Because I’m a winner.”