Big Winner

A few years ago, while cruising around the Texas State Fair, we came across a contest which could have potentially secured a new Chevrolet Corvette (which just happens to be my son’s favorite car). I resisted, though my friend took the bait and entered his information. This was very distressing for my son, as he already making plans to make a space in the garage for his new addition. (Kids are not born with a firm grasp on statistics and probability. And old ladies seem to have lost it. See “lottery, state”.) It turned out, predictably, that our friend received no less than 3 million calls related to this entry, not one of which was a free Corvette. Lesson learned. Or at least reinforced.

I have a more historical reason for shunning these kinds of sweepstakes offers. Sure, I have signed up for one or two of these things before and won all sorts of awesome prizes. Like timeshare tours, countless anonymous calls, a spot on the Pfizer mailing list… But even before that, I endured a deep scarring in a brush with possible sweepstakes triumph.

Once, as a young child, I viewed a continuous repetition of a commercial featuring a contest promoting the exciting upcoming movie “Herbie Goes Bananas”. The winner of said contest would win a 1963 Beetle. Well, despite being about half the legal driving age, this was still about the most fantastic prize one could imagine receiving. I was determined to win the Beetle! All I had to do was send in a postcard to the listed address. Simple, right?

So I procured a postcard which would soon be my ticket to Volkswagen heaven. My efforts were met with mocking derision from my elder siblings (who apparently knew a little bit more about probability than I did), but I was undeterred. On went the posted contest address. On went my return address. On went a stamp. Probably about a nickel back then, I’d guess.

Anyway, in the mailbox it went. I’d show my brothers and sisters! I could imagine the look on their faces when we came home from school and Herbie was waiting for me in the driveway. Time is a difficult concept for children, but at some point later I did receive something in the mail regarding the contest!

I held it in my hands. It was a postcard! It had the words “Herbie Goes Bananas Contest” on it! Amazingly, it looked a lot like the postcard that I sent. In fact, it WAS the postcard that I sent. Something was going on here. There were no markings on the postcard. It had the proper postage. Things were coming together. In addition to having never driven a car by that point in my life, I don’t think I had ever sent a postcard or a letter, either. Apparently, I had put my name and address in the middle of the postcard, and Herbie’s in the upper left corner.

I had indeed successfully sent myself a postcard.

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2 thoughts on “Big Winner”

  1. Richard, you better not insult the nice YOUNG lady in charge! I think it was your mother’s fault for not checking your postcard before you mailed it. I’m sure you would have won if it had been addressed correctly. Herbie would have been a cool ride!

  2. Aww, a cute moment from the life of Richard Spall! It would have been something if you won the Beetle. And what do you mean old ladies and the lottery. I like to play Powerball and I firmly believe I will win one day. If you make one comment about my age, I will delete you!

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