Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Claw Picked My Name

They called my name!

I won something.

I as in I, the person whose name has never been called.

Just typing that makes me smile and lift my arms in triumph.

I NEVER win anything.


Never ever never.


One time, when I was in Jr. High, our school had this yearlong raffle.


Yearlong is one word. Who knew.

You got raffle tickets for lots of “good student” kind of things.

You got a ticket for every A you made.

You got a ticket for every book you read and took a computer test over.

You got a ticket for every mile you jogged.

You got a ticket for every bean burrito you ate.

Not really, but you should have.

Being the disgustingly over-achiever I was, I got a red ticket for all my straight A’s.

I read until my eyes crossed.

I perfected the art of walking, but your coach thinks you’re jogging.

This is one of my most prized accomplishments.

It’s a gift.

It’s a talent.

It takes great skill and self-discipline…and practice at home in front of a full-length mirror.

Every six weeks, I practically had to carry my raffle tickets in a wagon I had so many.

I didn't carry them in a wagon because I didn't really have THAT many, (although I did have a lot...really) and because no one should pull a wagon behind them in Jr. High. You would SO get shoved for that.

And yet…every six weeks, I would watch our vice-principal, Mr. Adair, on our black and white classroom television, draw out 10 names of the grand prize winners of things like Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pizzas for lunch instead of bean burritos, a bike, a bag with a butterfly…and NEVER…never…never ever, ever, never…not once…in real life…did I win!

All year.

I never won.

A single thing.

I had not one personal pan.

The butterfly bag went to some girl who stapled her fingers for fun.

The bike went to a boy who I was positive could not even write an A, much less make one.

The injustice was intolerable!

Since Jr. High, my luck has not improved.

If the only element in the competition is luck…I’m a loser.

Every single time.

I never even hope anymore.

I stopped daydreaming that I’ve won at the end of 8th grade.

I just have faced the facts…hands hate my name written on paper.

They hate me.

They never want to touch me.

My name on paper immediately turns into a flounder and buries itself under the sand of the other names.

Brown bags eat my name so it can’t be drawn.

Maybe it’s the way I fold my name.

I’ve tried all different types of creases to no avail.

I've tried all kinds of handwriting and prayer.

Something funky went on today.

There was a cosmic turn of events at Tanglewood Park today at around 2.

There I was, surrounded by lots of people I don’t even know and chicken strips…

When it happened.

The tide turned.

The old has gone.

The new has come.

This is the age of I win things.

I can feel it.

I won a $30 gift certificate to Wal-Mart.


My name got called.

My name.

Out loud.

And I did not imagine it.

It really happened.

In reality.

People saw it.

I have witnesses (MELODI!!).

I think I levitated.

Anyone who knows me, even halfway, knows that someone would have to pay me $30 to go to Wal-Mart, but that isn’t the point here, people who know me.

The point is I won something.

I…as in me…the raffle ticket reject.

$30 to Wal-Mart.

I wouldn’t have cared if I had only won the envelope that cradled the gift certificate.

I may never spend it.

I may frame it.

I may make cupcakes and sing Happy You Won Something to Me. Happy You Won Something to Me. Happy You Won Something Dear Heather Hendrick (and they really called my name, and people saw) Happy You Won Something to You.

October 14.

Mark it down as the day I forgave Mr. Adair's black and white hand.


Pauline said...


Go get you some new leggings girl.


CarpioFamily said...

Congratulations!! Hope you have spending you gift. Enjoy!

Master Kaycee said...

I feel the same way about Walmart. My first night I moved to College Station, I went to Walmart to pick up somethings for my apartment. It was close to midnight or so. I was needing a garbage can. I went to pick one up but it was really heavy. I looked in it only to find that it was a quarter full of water and that it had an AX in it...what is up with that!? To this day I worry about leaving my fingure prints on a crime scene.

Melodi said...

It's TRUE, people! I saw it. It really happened! Congrats, Heather! This is your year. First, Wal-Mart. Next, the Oscars - for those amazing skits you write!

Hendrick Family said... way...that's so weird and disgusting and only something that would happen at Wal-Mart.

Someone should write a book about everything odd that has ever happened in a Wal-Mart. I would buy that book and laugh a lot. I think we would all be SHOCKED at the weird things that happen in the twilight zone called Wal-Mart.


Jennifer Bacak said...

Wal-Mart...oh so cheap, and yet oh, so horrible.
Anyway, congratulations Heather! Your name has been called. Yea! What I want to know is did you do a dance? Did you scream out loud, or did you act like a composed, normal person, which you're not!
I hope you screamed out loud!

Anonymous said...

I'm stunned. Both at your unfortunate contest history, and your ability to turn such a topic into a brilliant literary piece. Nice work!

Back in 2nd grade there was a girl in my class who stapled her finger. She started bawling. Then 3 seconds later the fire-drill alarm went off. She bawled even harder. It was elementary drama to the max!

Fun memories. Thank you Heather.

Good ol' Sam Walton would be proud.

Anonymous said...

I'd buy groceries.