“What is a lamp, you nincompoop? It’s a major award. I won it!”

Mr. Parker: It's a Major Award!
Swede: Shucks, I wouldn't know that. It looks like a lamp.
Mr. Parker: What is a lamp, you nincompoop? It's a Major Award. I won it!
Swede: Damn, hell, you say won it?
Mr. Parker: Yeah, mind power, Swede; mind power.
(Image and dialogue from Jean Shepherd's "A Christmas Story" - MGM)

I was recently named as a winner of the Versatile Blogger Award.

I was nominated by the presumably lovely and unquestionably talented Emma of In Other Words .  Thanks Emma – I’m not worthy of your praise.  While I appreciate the award, it’s made writing even more challenging than it already was.  It’s always been a bit daunting to hit the “Publish” button on a piece.  With my award, I now have to ask myself,

“Is this worthy of a Versatile Blogger Award recipient?

“Is it too trite?”

“Is it versatile enough?”

“Will posting this give Emma reason to doubt her judgement?”

Clearly the bar has been raised, and now I’ll need to consider my stellar reputation as a wit (or half-wit) before I post just any old thing.

I read how after winning the Academy Award for “Hamlet”, Sir Lawrence Olivier had the good judgement to turn down the title role in “The Incredible Mr. Limpet” – leaving the door open for Don Knotts to star as the man-turned-fish.  That’s the kind of foresight I’ll be needing from here on out.  I don’t want to be the Don Knotts of blogging – there are too many of those already.

To add further doubt to my already shaky self-image, I’ll be damned if I can figure out how to post a link to Emma’s site in here.  Fortunately, I stumbled onto a video tutorial on the VBA page, and after watching it an embarrassing number of times, I was able to negotiate myself through the process.

Now the other award shoe drops.

As if it wasn’t difficult enough writing with this massive new weight upon my shoulders, the award stipulates that I, in turn, award the VBA to no less than fifteen of my favorite bloggers.  Fifteen?!!  That means I’m going to leave someone out and undoubtedly hurt their feelings.  In addition, I’ll be saddling fifteen other bloggers to this same horrific batch of challenges and angst.  What fun!

The positive aspect of this is that all fifteen of my nominees write way better than I do, so they should skip through this effortlessly.  In the event that as a recipient of this noble chain letter award you choose not to follow through with your sworn duties, don’t be hating on the nominator.  It’s not my fault you write well and entertain me – that’s on you.

Here then, in no particular order, is my list of fifteen wicked-good blog writers.  I apologize in advance to both those who I nominated and to those I did not.  If you are one of the award winners, try clicking on a link besides your own, ferchrissakes!

The Good Greatsby

The Byronic Man

japecake

Prawn and Quartered

Paltry Meanderings of a Taller Than Average Woman

publikworks

Notes from a She-Hermit

blogdramedy

TEStazyk

Shut Up Dad

freddyflow

White Elephant In The Room

Perverted Wisdom

She’s a Maineiac

Peg-o-Leg’s Ramblings

I know that some if not all of my nominees are wildly successful bloggers who can’t be bothered with this nonsense, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to put some hack on my list and risk guilt by association.  Many of these blogging superstars have the good taste not to follow yours truly, so I have no idea when or if they will even hear about this.

The final requirement for winners is to tell seven previously undisclosed things about themselves to their loyal readers (This is a lot like work).   I’m not exactly a private person, but I’ve decided to just make some of this stuff up rather than risk boring people with nothing but facts.  In a wacky twist, you’ll have to decide for yourselves which of my following are facts and which are fabrications.

1)  Born in Vienna, Austria

2) I’m a physical therapist who works with special needs children

3) I have an admitted fondness for dessert wines

4) My middle child is a jet-setting professional poker player

5) My younger brother once met Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. – and I resent him for it (My brother, not Kurt)

6) I see my mother on TV sometimes

7) My basement is filled with survival gear and back issues of Guns and Ammo magazine

My god, I feel so exposed !  For those of you who don’t know me personally, I’d love to hear which of the 7 attributes you think are true.  For those of you who know me in the “real” world, don’t be tools and spoil it for everyone else.

YOU CAN’T WIN EVERYTHING

By this time tomorrow, this wallet will be the same damn size. (Photo of author's wallet, by the author)

I was standing on line this morning on my way to work waiting to buy a lottery ticket.  Actually, several lottery tickets.  When the jackpot gets insanely high, it’s hard for even the mathematically savvy to avoid the temptation of buying a few tickets.

There was a woman at the counter, and from the look of her, you could tell she was no fair weather friend to the lottery.  On the contrary, she appeared to have had a long love affair with playing the numbers.  As I patiently waited my turn, glancing at my watch, she played the Pick 3, the Pick 4, the Cash 5 and the Mega Millions.  She was playing numbers boxed and squared and speaking to the man behind the counter in a lottery-dialect which the rest of us could not begin to comprehend.  I glanced at the sheaf of papers in her hand and began to worry that she might be standing at the counter for another hour.

I distracted myself from the potential of my being late to work for the first time in…well..ever, by looking at her attire.  She had on a purple, black, white and pink blouse which looked like something Peter Max had vomited after too many boxes of Good n Plenties.  Her pants were a shiny black and the wrong size for one of her sizeable legs, let alone both of them.  Her shoes were equally garish.  Her hair, in curlers, was covered by a scarf which looked to have been purchased several decades ago with Green Stamps.

As she left the store, my heart just sunk.  I knew that despite my pending investment of five bucks, my long shot odds had just gotten astronomically worse.  In the ridiculously highly unlikely odds that this convenience store would be selling the winning ticket to tonight’s Mega Millions, the chance it would be one of my tickets just got much worse.  The perfect  candidate for winning had just waddled past me.

I could visualize her standing there with her idiotic grin, her Peg Bundy wardrobe and family of deliriously happy hill-folk, holding a check with more zeros than she had teeth.

I thought of how the makers of hideous clothing would see a sudden jump in profits.  How her sons and daughters would soon be festooned with more gold chains than Mr. T when he was winning big at “Pretty Pretty Princess”.  The gold on their necks nearly blinding oncoming traffic as they drove past us in the Mercedes SUV’s which they had spared no expense having converted into bling-tastic monster trucks.

She’ll move out of that trailer and buy a place with some land.  Her new home will be recognizable by the multitude of fountains, bird baths, those cork-screw pine bushes, and of course the aforementioned monster truck-converted SUV’s.  Architecturally, the house will be a mess of styles, with Corinthian columns, turrets, bow windows and a wing which bears some odd resemblance to a Miami Vice drug king-pin’s penthouse lair.

Despite the massive amount of money she’ll win, the house will eventually be shuttered and abandoned when the unthinkably massive amount of money disappears, and our winner spends the last of her years unsuccessfully trying to sue the lottery for ruining her life.  She will have failed miserably at being rich.  Having as much money as the filthy rich and elite, she will have learned the hard way that it’s impossible to buy the taste, security and grace with which the truly wealthy stroll the earth.

As these thoughts bounced around in my massive bald head, I stepped to the counter and bought my tickets anyway.  I drove to work without wasting a moment thinking about the changes my life would see if I somehow won.  My neck is  safe from the weight of multiple gold chains, and the beach realtors will not see me unless I’m renting a place for a week in the summer.  On the bright side, I won’t have to worry about changing tax brackets or time zones.  I was quite pleased to note that I wouldn’t be late for work.